02:51AM | 02/07/04
Member Since: 01/17/04
4 lifetime posts
Honestly, should a newly constructed house with a 12 course block foundation sitting on top of 4 - 6" footers settle or not? We had our basement done in October, 2003 and noticed a hairline crack a couple months ago which has turned into a leaking mess (it is craked on both the inside and outside of the wall). Framing is complete but so far, that's it. What could have caused the crack? Spoke with a mason who gave me some information that sounded pretty good (possibly not to OUR benefit) and also told me that a house on footers should never settle... but then I see several other posts on here where this is considered normal. Should a house be settling and, if so, is it normal for cracking in the walls to occur (especially to the extent where they are leaking water into the house). Thanks for any responses!


05:28AM | 02/09/04
Member Since: 01/14/03
265 lifetime posts
While hairline cracking in a poured concrete foundation may be considered somewhat 'normal' due to the curing process, cracking due to 'settling' should not be considered 'normal'. Settling of the foundation should not be considered normal.

A properly constructed foundation should include proper preparation of the earth beneath the footings, and if that earth is properly prepared (removal of all organic and unsuitable soils and replacement with free draining mineral soils...aka; gravel) and compacted properly, there should be no settling. Settling of a foundation is a sad excuse for what might not have been done completely and properly in the beginning.

[This message has been edited by treebeard (edited February 09, 2004).]


07:56AM | 02/09/04
Member Since: 01/17/04
4 lifetime posts
Thanks for your response! Luckily, our basement guy felt the same way and, after looking at it yesterday, agreed that he will fix the problem when the weather warms up by digging out and replacing the block. Just wondering... our footers are set on gravel... could the block cracking have been caused by the really cold temps we have experienced?


08:59AM | 02/09/04
Member Since: 01/14/03
265 lifetime posts
If your footings have been exposed during this period of cold temperatures..., perhaps. But it would be more likely that you would see heaving 'up' as any water in the gravel frozen and expanded (as water does when it freezes). That, in turn, would likely happen if the gravel was placed in a hole that had no drainage.

The requirement for free draining and well compacted gravel under foundations , footings, and other poured concrete structures provides a secure footing only if the water has a place to drain to. Picture it this way...a foundation hole is dug in a relatively clayey soil, and that clayey soil holds water. Even if the footing trench is lined with the appropriate gravel and compacted to the extent it can be, the water in the trench still has no place to drain to away from the foundation. If exposed to temperatures below freezing, it will most certainly move as it freezes. And anything built upon it will move, also. If constructed in warm temperatures and backfilled correctly, even then, if everything else is constructed correctly, the structure may move if the wet clayey soils below the foundation and footings have not been removed to natural free draining gravel. The structure will 'settle' or sink under the weight. In circumstances like this where the clays or silts or glacial tills are so deep that removing them is not feasible, the footings can be designed so as to spread the load of the structure over a wider footprint...basically the footings are much wider than normal. Instead of 2-3' you might have 5-6', or somewhere in between.



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