Settling house, cracking slab

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by AlwaysTraining, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. AlwaysTraining

    AlwaysTraining New Member

    105
    0
    0
    One side/corner of my house seems to have the earth under the slab eroding away. The gap is almost 2" in one place now, I can reach in and grab gravel stones which I assume that the slab was poured over. I need to stick a yardstick in there and see how deep it goes, but haven't done that yet. It could be that that these stones were added as fill by the previous owner who tried to patch the gap. The slab around and above this area has a few cracks in it too. A drafty cold air can be felt inside the house opposite from this area.

    The house has been slowly settling, proof can be seen where the gas pipe enters the house, and the fact that the settling caused the gas pipe to rupture 3 years ago. When I had that repaired I had them allow for some additional settling by caulking the heck out of the opening rather then cutting the siding exactly around the opening. Now you can see that the spot at the repair has settled a bit...hopefully not stressing that pipe too much.

    My current ideas are:

    0. re-re-re-ensure that water is draining away from the house
    1. chip out all remnants of previous quickcrete/expanding foam repair job and re-apply
    2. contact professional for an estimate and advice

    Any other ideas or experiences?
     
  2. JMan

    JMan New Member

    4,352
    0
    0

    This is one thing you don't want to do is do it half Butt (Axx) .They have special tools design for this job . Yes you can rent them at your local Patrick rentals or Some heavy equipment place . But knowing how to use them isn't something you can learn over night.This isn't a cheap job, But I do have a few questions for you.

    How old is this house?
    Did you buy it new?
    How much is your deductible on home insurance?
     

  3. AlwaysTraining

    AlwaysTraining New Member

    105
    0
    0
    Built 1982
    Bought it from 3rd or 4th owner
    Deductible is $1000
     
  4. whitmo

    whitmo New Member

    367
    0
    0
    I'd contact a professional "pressure grouting" company. Your house is too big of an investment to try some repairs yourself.
    It could severly affect your house value and resale.
     
  5. seereus

    seereus Active Member

    4,224
    0
    36
    From what info you have posted, it almost sounds as if your slab has no footings.

    Most slab built homes are done on a monolithic pour, wherein the footings and slab are poured at one time.

    Another alternative to this method are standard 16" w X 8" deep footings, 8 or 12" block are then normally layed to bring the foundation up to the necessary elevation with the last block being a form block and or a wood form.

    If you can actually reach under your slab, something is not sounding right about the construction of your home.

    Would be nice to see some pictures of the damaged area.

    P.S. Leave the Quickcrete alone if your filling cracks.
    Chip out all the old product/ foam and utilize hydraulic cement to fill those voids. Hydraulic cement actually expands as it hardens and is several time stronger than normal concrete.
     
  6. JMan

    JMan New Member

    4,352
    0
    0

    Correct .... reason me asking about year it was Could be new enough for warranty but it's not .... And you might want to get some estimates as most will come out and give you for free and decide if it's worth paying your deductible which I am sure it would. But also depends how many claims you have entered in the past also if it would or wouldn't be a good idea.
     
  7. JMan

    JMan New Member

    4,352
    0
    0

    Indeed :righton: :righton: :righton:
     
  8. AlwaysTraining

    AlwaysTraining New Member

    105
    0
    0
    Yeah something sounds off. I will take some pictures tomorrow and post them. I will try to dig down a bit next to the house at the spot where I can grab gravel and see if there is more concrete (a footing?) down there.

    The repair job that was on there when I bought the house looked ok, and the inspector then and 2 since didn't even comment about it...however some say those inspectors are basically useless.
     
  9. drtybykr

    drtybykr New Member

    2,823
    1
    0
    This.
     
  10. seajay

    seajay NRA Certified Instructor

    4,996
    0
    36
    Maybe more bad news but here goes...

    Here in Georgia back in the 80's and early 90's it was a common practice to burry the debris and pack cover it to fill large voids in some of the lots to make them buildable. The debris was made of of downed trees, scrap building materials, mixer wash out and broken brick. The mixer wash out and broken brick are not the big portion of the problem. The wood and paper products are. Over the years the wood and paper turns (rots) into gray matter (dirt) and is no longer as solid as it was when it was thrown into the hole and covered with fill dirt. This causes a sink hole under the house.

    The way you describe the problem it sounds as if the sink hole has caused the footing to break apart because of pressure from different directions. This is not a DIY job. One of the first things you need to do is to get an old topigraphical map of the location at the time it was sold to the developer. This will help you avoid getting taken to the cleaners by the grouting company. It will also tell you how big the void actually is. At some point it becomes an excercise in futility to try and jack the foundation because the fill is just too massive.

    Debris fill had been illegal in Texas for over 20 years but still in practice here in Georgia when I moved here in 93. Some of the fills I have seen here you could put 4 or 5 houses in. It was much cheaper to dump the garbage on site rather than pay the dump fees. It also required them to buy less fill dirt since the garbage from building other houses could be used along with any trees and shrubs they had to cut down to clear the lots.

    It usually only takes 6 or 7 years for these to start showing up. It can take longer (10 to 15) but I never heard of it taking almost 30. I am thinking the previous homeowner(s) knew about this problem before you bought the house. If you can prove they knew and didn't disclose it then you can hold their feet to the fire for the cost of the repair (if it can be repaired).

    A sonar reading of the lot might tell you if this is for a fact a debri filled lot or not and to the extent of the debris. Some of the mud jack companies might offer this service internally.
     
  11. seereus

    seereus Active Member

    4,224
    0
    36
    I know of one subdivision in Dekalb that has several homes built on such sites. The fill consisted of stumps and logs.
     
  12. AlwaysTraining

    AlwaysTraining New Member

    105
    0
    0
  13. seajay

    seajay NRA Certified Instructor

    4,996
    0
    36
    You could try Trotter or one simply called Mud Jack. It best to get several opinions from as many foundation repair companies as possible.

    Also from the photos it looks as though there may have been a homeowner or handyman type of repair attempted several times before. If this is from a previous owner check to see if the foundation problems were disclosed in your closing statement. It looks like someone just tried to conceal it. This may have been a deliberate deception to hide a problem by the seller.

    This is not going to be a cheap easy fix.
     
  14. BSCLibertarian

    BSCLibertarian I'm kind of a big deal

    5,243
    1
    38
    That's exactly what I thought. :?
     
  15. 1clearshot

    1clearshot Member

    839
    0
    16
    That explains problem at my house!!! Although, worst part of it is in middle of backyard and I've been filling it with dirt....

    :evil: :evil: :evil:
     
  16. seereus

    seereus Active Member

    4,224
    0
    36
    Based on the pics you have posted, pressure grouting is not going to solve your problem.
     
  17. zookeper

    zookeper Active Member

    2,745
    2
    38
    this is a very common thing. it took 10 years for the ground under my greenhouse to start sinking, i've had to fill and make repairs every year for several now and it isn't over yet. unbelievable that people can sleep well knowing they have put others through this $#&*
     
  18. seajay

    seajay NRA Certified Instructor

    4,996
    0
    36
    That will all depend on the sonar report. If there is a massive ammount of debris still to rot then probably not. It may need pilons driven to bedrock to jack the foundation back up. I suspect since it is still sinking then this could be the case. That is why it is so important to call every foundation repair company you can find and get as many pro opinions as possible to determine the best way to go about it.
     
  19. AlwaysTraining

    AlwaysTraining New Member

    105
    0
    0
    Looking on the bright side the settling is a slow process so I will have time to call in every one I can find to look at it get estimates and opinions. I am starting with some structural engineers who I used to work with that do concrete design for industrial/commercial. Also gonna start calling other companies, and insurance.

    Yes defiantly someone tried to repair/cover something up with the quickcrete/foam job.

    I will double check but I am pretty sure there isn't anything listed on the disclosure about foundation problems. It could even be that the previous, previous owner did the repair job. I saw it when I bought the house, but 5 or so years ago it didn't look so bad, I pointed it out to the inspector and real estate agent, and don't remember them raising any issue.

    Even if it can be shown that it was a pre-existing condition, I am not sure what that would mean? I have to check with my insurance to see if and how much they pay for this. Then what? go after the previous owners for the rest of the money? Or would the insurance company try to get their money from the previous owner? Somehow would the blame go back to the builder?

    I keep to myself in the neighborhood, but 2 of the neighbors I know I will be asking if they have similar problems.
     
  20. seajay

    seajay NRA Certified Instructor

    4,996
    0
    36
    I would start with the neighbor next to your house on the side where the problem is. You may also just look over and see if they have the problem as well.

    I'm not sure how it would all shake out with insurance /previous owner or whoever. I believe your recourse would end at the owner that sold it to you. their recourse would then pick up with who ever sold it to them but there may be limits since they sold the house with known problems and did nothing but try to hide it. I know a friend of my daughter had this happen to them and they ended up forcing the builder to buy the house back. A little different case since they were the original buyer and had never sold it. This also took place after 96 when the code changed and builders were prohibited from using debris fill but the builder did it anyway.

    If the insurance company tells you it's your problem then a good attorney may be in your future.