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Cracked foundation five days after pour

Discussion in 'Residential Foundation Codes' started by Weatherlite, May 14, 2018.

  1. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    When I hear "reputable builder" I take it with a grain of salt. It may just mean that the person saying so did not have any problems.

    Have an engineer look at the problem. As a minimum this will give you some piece of mind and might send a message to the builder to clean up his act.

    I agree that there could be problems associated with lack of a geotechnical report, poor compaction, and truck placing load on relatively green concrete. It would not surprise me if you are seeing some shrinkage cracks that are the result of putting too much water in the concrete. This may include the vertical cracks in the grade beams.

    While all concrete ultimately cracks these early cracks may be telling you something. Have an engineer look at the issue
     
  2. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    I think the concrete truck is supposed to keep track of the water added to the mix?
     
  3. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Then it was not properly vibrated. that is the purpose of vibrating the concrete. Proper Concrete vibration will eliminate air bubbles and voids.
     
    my250r11 and Msradell like this.
  4. Weatherlite

    Weatherlite Registered User

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    I couldn't get a picture because I was at work, but yes. there is rebar in there, not just the bolts.

    It's not virgin ground. (assuming you mean something like a plot of land I just bought with no prep for the build) It's in a subdivision which had the entire area leveled, graded, compacted, etc (I don't know the technical terms), and then they threw a few feet of topsoil on. Basically, the whole area was supposedly properly prepped. This was done about 15 years ago. I can't say for sure how they did it, but from the soil I have seen around here, they probably didn't have to bring in much to compact. You dig down 2-3 feet anywhere in this area and you may as well be digging through concrete. It's a fine volcanic soil which has pretty much solidified over the years. Anyway, for my build they stripped the topsoil leaving half on scene and hauling off the other half. The half left is for grading the overall lot after the fact. They compacted the entire area after, just to be sure it had not loosened up since it was originally done. As for test borings and soil samples, I'm having my realtor check into that.
     
  5. Weatherlite

    Weatherlite Registered User

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    I forgot to state, when I quoted above, that I honestly don't know if they vibrated it or not. I was not on scene when they did the pour. I thought it looked like there were a lot of surface air "pockets" on the sides as well, but I'm not experienced. I just based my opinion on the other foundations I have seen which didn't have those pock marks.

    Sorry for my ignorance, but what is a portal hole strap?
     
  6. Weatherlite

    Weatherlite Registered User

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    Yeah, I kinda balked at saying that due to how it has been used so cavalierly in the past, but in this case it's actually true. lol There are three "big" builders in my area, as well as a bunch of smaller builders. For the smaller builders, it's hit or miss, and when you do get one, you have to pay either up front or as you go, so definitely wasn't an option for me. On the big builders, the one I opted to go with only does two houses at a time. The owner is involved with each build, so he doesn't want to spread himself too thin. The other companies are the kind that build 20-30 houses at a time with crap for quality control. The problem right now is that the owner is out of town, so I'm having to wait for him to get back to look at this. *sigh*

    In addition to whatever the builder does/who he brings in, I'm starting with an inspector to come take a look and give me his opinion. If he is iffy on it, we'll call out an engineer to make sure.
     
    cda likes this.
  7. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    Reason for comment, I didn't see and foundation strapping in your photo's. By the way excellent job of providing the info!

    Depending on your seismic zone, there are different ways to achieve compliance IRC Sec. R602 has a few figures that show the portal hole (garage door opening in this case) framing options. Our location we usually see the Simpson strong-tie hold down straps embedded into the foundation on both side of the garage door opening. Additional straps are used over the framing studs/garage-header/top plate like figure R602.10.6.3. Then the sheeting gets additional nailing at the walls adjacent to the garage door opening. Then the siding is applied. There are other products used to achieve this requirement. Apparently your builder does not strap at the foundation pour which is okay, but does he/she meet any R602 requirements later.
     
  8. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    The proper way to do it is to have a soils engineer do test borings to determine the depth of topsoil and the depth of "solid ground", then scrape off the topsoil and stockpile it on site, that has apparently been done. Then design and install the foundation on solid ground, after the home is under construction regrade the property using the stockpiled topsoil, that way the house is built on solid ground, there is no topsoil under the house, but the yard is covered with topsoil for landscaping.
     
  9. Weatherlite

    Weatherlite Registered User

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    Small update. Builder says the cracks are fine and totally normal. I asked him if they are normal, then why are there none in the new build going on right next to mine? Why are there none on any of the other homes in the neighborhood? He said sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. I suppose that's possible, but I'm not happy with his answer, so I called in a couple favors, and this morning the city engineer/inspector (who also happens to have worked concrete for a couple decades) is coming out to take a look for himself. Incidentally, he said he went out and inspected before the pour and said the ground was properly prepared.
     
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  10. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

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    Let us know what the inspector says, please.
     
  11. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    ? what was the air temperature/month the pour took place?
    Even when the receipe is followed to a tee, cracks do sometimes occur.
    The photos do not appear to show any misalignment of surfaces "yet", keep watching.
    Also the soil color doesn't appear to be very good for growing, is it?
     
  12. Weatherlite

    Weatherlite Registered User

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    Pour on the footers was May 1st. Walls was May 3rd. Temps were in the 60s. And this soil is VERY good for growing some things, but not others. Potatoes and beets love this soil. As does sagebrush. That's about it. lol We're in lower Idaho, so it's a high plains desert. Nothing but sagebrush and tumbleweeds.
     
  13. Weatherlite

    Weatherlite Registered User

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    And for the "final" update...

    The city engineer went out a couple times to check on things. The first day it was raining a little, so he wanted to go out the next day and check it out when he could see better. The next day he just did a visual. The third time (two days later) he brought equipment to actually measure and not rely on his calibrated eyeball. lol

    First, none of the cracks are due to compaction, a failure of the soil, stress on the concrete, etc. Structurally, everything is sound and all lines are even with zero movement. The crack which coincides with the side door he said is just one of those "concrete cracks" type cracks. The inner wall of the garage crack is attributed to a dry joint in the footer. He said he can see, in the footer, that particular spot is where they started the pour, so by the time they got back around it had begun to set a little. The footer cracked which ran up into the wall. As for the last one, it too is a "concrete cracks" thing, but he said I could probably expect to see another develop over the years, because it's a 65 foot long solid pour on that one wall.

    As for what is being done, the crack in the long wall is being sealed 360 because it's a direct route for moisture to get into the crawl space. The crack which is on the inner wall of the crawl space has the compacted dirt of the garage on the other side. No worry of moisture there, so no action taken. The last one, which is on the outer wall of the garage, they were just going to leave as is because there's no danger of moisture getting into the crawl space since it too has the garage on the opposite side. I brought up the possibility of water resting in the crack and freezing, causing gradual worsening of the crack over the years. They didn't want to dig up the dirt on both side of the wall because of something to do with re-compacting everything evenly would be more difficult and they couldn't ensure even compaction without a lot of extra expense. (incidentally, the city engineer felt with the type of drainage they put around the house, the grading required, etc, it wouldn't be a problem anyway) We came to a compromise. They agree to expand the concrete pad for the doorstep in all directions. So, instead of a 4 foot wide and three foot "deep" (outwards from the door) pad, I'll have an 8 foot wide, 4 foot deep pad. The thought process is the extra size will further decrease the possibility of water seeping down through the soil directly adjacent to the crack....and I get a pad for the AC unit in the process. lol And yes, I ran all this by the city engineer and he felt this was a good and viable solution.

    I'm feeling much better about the whole thing now that I've had several different people look at it (also had some friends who work in the industry take a look), and the city engineer gave it his blessing. My only concern, which hopefully won't be anything I'll have to think about for years to come, is spotting cracks in the future, because I'm opting for the "conditioned crawlspace". I don't know hoe things are done in other parts of the country, so for those who don't know, this is an extra insulation package in which they put a vapor barrier in the crawl space, reduce the insulation under the floor, and spray high density foam insulation on the concrete. They eliminate all of the exterior vents where the vast majority of moisture gets in, and have a fan and vent which pulls air from inside the house down into the crawlspace, then pushes it outside. I have no idea if this is an unusual thing in other areas, but it's rather common here and winds up being, in conjunction with the spray foam insulation in all walls and the extra R-50 in the attic, a great improvement upon the standard insulation package. Oh, so the reason for concern is all of the concrete will be hidden by the foam...though I suppose if an inspector can't see it, should I decide to sell, then it doesn't exist. lol However, I'd actually want to know so I could fix it and do things right.

    Anyway, thanks everyone for your insight and suggestions. I didn't have access to a specialty engineer, but I got the next best thing because of your suggestions. I appreciate it!!
     
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  14. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    The footing with proper steel should not have cracked that way.
     
  15. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

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    I'm glad you're happy with the result. I agree with Mark ^^, in that I'd still be suspect of that crack at the wall/footing that travels all the way through, but if you're satisfied with your engineers' report then that's really all that matters.

    Good luck with the new house - hopefully the rest of the build goes well and you're moved in on time. ;)
     
  16. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

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    Oh, and thanks for coming back / following up on what happened, instead of leaving us hanging!
     
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