We are looking at a house in the West Valley of AZ...it has horizontal hairline cracks running all over the walls and ceiling, and in the foyer, the

Asked by d517, 85388 Tue Apr 13, 2010

grout is cracked on the tiled floor. What would cause this? Shoddy drywall job, or something bigger? House is huge, over 4500 sq ft, one level.

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Loren Hoboy’s answer
Loren Hoboy, Agent, Phoenix, AZ
Sat Sep 18, 2010
Besides being an agent , I am a mechanical engineer. It is impossible to accurately speculate as to the cause and risk these cracks portend based on the information available. I recommend you hire a structural engineer to provide an assessment. A regular "home inspector" is not qualified to make this determination. As has been stated, the cause can be as simple as normal settling, compacted soil under the slab (which may or may not be a problem in the future) or expansive soils that have not been property drained or addressed in the design. I also had a few cracks show up in my house due to some swaying during the last earth quake, but they are not a structural concern given the house design, so they just need to be patched.

If you need the name of a structural engineer, please call me.
0 votes
Gary Capozzo…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, SCOTTSDALE, AZ
Mon Sep 9, 2013
On the lending side if the appraiser notes the cracks then more than likely a structural engineer would need t complete a report.Gary Cappy Capozzoli
Senior Loan Officer
Nova Home Loans
8888 E Raintree Dr. Suite 20
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
NMLS 207725
BK 0902429
0 votes
d517, Home Owner, 85388
Wed Apr 28, 2010
This house is located In Russell Ranch..great deal, but those cracks seem too serious.
0 votes
Bren Johnson, , Litchfield Park, AZ
Tue Apr 27, 2010
I would think it is expansive soil. I recently sold one in litchfield park. You need to have the soil tested before you buy. It could be a very serious problem and very expensive to fix. I also saw another home in dreaming summit that has sunk about a foot. It could also be poor packing of soil that can happen if they brought dirt in and did not pack it. Feel free to call me if you have any further questions.

Thank You
Brwyn Johnson
480 257 9130
0 votes
Donald Keys, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Tue Apr 13, 2010
I agree with Sandra "It would take a qualified Inspector and possibly a Structural Engineer to determine the cause of all the cracks." Also you would want to take a look at the Arizona Association of REALTORS Buyer's Advisory. It has several web links including fissures (see page 4 of document).


You REALTOR should have provided you with a copy of the document above to help you in your due diligence.

I hope this helps.

FREE List with pictures updated daily!
Web Reference:  http://www.TheKeysTeam.com
0 votes
Sandra Paulow, Agent, Pinetop, AZ
Tue Apr 13, 2010
It would take a qualified Inspector and possibly a Structural Engineer to determine the cause of all the cracks. If it is a newer home it isn't unusual to see some settlement cracks as homes settle quite a bit in the first couple of years, but this sounds more serious. You might consult the County Records and with the Registrar of Contractors to see if there is a record of proper permits and inspections as well as the reputation of the Contractor who built the home. All I can say is use extreme caution on this one.
0 votes
Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Tue Apr 13, 2010
More than likely the house has shifted. That means it has moved from its original position. It could be from an earthquake, the ground settling, or rot on the bottom or a foundation failing.
0 votes
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