COMMUNITY FORUM

jerseymom

05:23PM | 01/31/04
Member Since: 01/30/04
5 lifetime posts
Bvbasement
We want to buy a 3 year old townhouse, however we noticed that in two places where the Ceiling meets the Wall, there are cracks, or a separation, each about 8" long. The agent said they can be caulked, but is this a sign of a structural defect, maybe with the foundation? How much does it cost to get an engineer rather than a regular home inspector to check this? Thanks.

Glenn Good

02:24AM | 02/01/04
Member Since: 09/10/03
314 lifetime posts
A qualified home inspector should spot any structural defects. He will not tell you how to repair structural problems but will notify you of any he finds and instruct you to contact an engineer or other specialist at that time. One of the main items a home inspector looks for is structural integrity of the house. Seeing the cracks you noticed I feel sure he checked the foundation under them as well.

If the foundation has any cracks in it under the areas you noticed the ceiling/wall separations you might be concerned. If there are no cracks in the foundation the chances are they are only expansion/contraction cracks, normal settlement cracks, or formed when the wood framing shrunk as it dried out after construction. Small cracks are normal.

If the cracks are wide (1/4”) or excessively long you would have more reason to be concerned.

Caulking on the other hand may not be the best method to repair them depending on the wall construction. If it is drywall it should be taped and mudded with joint compound. Plaster should be repaired with a special crack repair plaster or spackling depending on the size of the crack. Each material has a proper way to repair it.

Glenn www.consultationdirect.com

jerseymom

05:01AM | 02/01/04
Member Since: 01/30/04
5 lifetime posts
Thank you, your info is very helpful. However, can u be more specific when u say "excessively" long?

Piffin

11:49AM | 02/01/04
Member Since: 11/06/02
1281 lifetime posts
One common problem in many new houses that can cause this type of crack is a phenomenon called truss lift. I has to do with movement of wood under varying temperature and humidity conditions. It is not a structural concern but is a cosmetic problem. It is also a symptom that can sometimes indicate careless worekmanship that may turn up in other places too.
But it could also be simply from the wood drying and shrinking and a small bead of caulk could take care of it.

I would find an EXPERIENCED home inspector. A real estate agent is particularly unqualified to advise youon this, especially one who stands to benefit from the sale.

jerseymom

01:11PM | 02/01/04
Member Since: 01/30/04
5 lifetime posts
Thank you Piffin. And also Mr. Moderator. Would the answer be the same if you knew this house was by the beach? Do houses by the beach have additional problems either with settling or foundations due to sandy ground?

jerseymom

05:39PM | 02/01/04
Member Since: 01/30/04
5 lifetime posts
Dear Mr. k2,

If I follow your advice, I guess we'll need to leave Jersey altogether and hunt for a fixer upper (always advertised as "with potential") in the Hamptons!

jerseymom

05:58AM | 02/02/04
Member Since: 01/30/04
5 lifetime posts
Yes, Jersey has better ocean views than Colorado!

Piffin

09:12AM | 02/07/04
Member Since: 11/06/02
1281 lifetime posts
"Do houses by the beach have additional problems either with settling or foundations due to sandy ground?"

Sometimes, yes.
The humidity there can cause more than average wood movement from swelling.
The higher winds create excessive loads onm walls.
And sand is less than ideal for a load bearing soil, depending on the size of house and the kind of foundation. You relly need an experienced home inspector or engineer to render an opinion on site.

Click_to_reply_button Inspiration_banner

INSPIRATION GALLERY



Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.

Reply_choose_button

captcha
type the code from the image

Anonymous

Post_new_button or Login_button
Register

Follow_banner_a
Newsletter_icon Google_plus Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss_icon
 
webapp1