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Vertical crack on outside of house

Discussion in 'Building' started by skm1981, 26 Jul 2020.

  1. skm1981

    skm1981

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    • You can paste photos into your post.
    We bought our house about 15 years ago now. It is pebble dashed and when we bought it, we did note some cracks down the outside wall of the house. Our survey came back saying that the house had suffered some previous movement, but there was no evidence to suggest this was ongoing.

    The previous owner had for some reason cemented over these cracks, which just makes them stand out more, but it does mean that I know they were already there when we moved in. Although there is one right at the very top corner that isn't cemented, and I can't remember if it was there before or not.

    Anyway, we're now looking to sell our house, and I asked our building insurance company if they could send someone round to take a look, but they said if they do this, they will have to submit it as a claim, and regardless of whether you actually make a claim or not, this will very likely impact our premium we pay as we'd have to declare it.

    Just wondering if anyone knows about this type of thing and thinks they do look particularly worrying? We do have some plaster cracking in this area on the inside wall, but it doesn't follow the exact same path, if that makes sense, but the walls in our house are terrible anyway, if you take wallpaper off, you will most likely take half the wall with you (not just my house, all of these types of houses in my area are the same).

    I don't know if I should pay a surveyor to come and take a look myself and avoid using the insurance company unless I have to, or if I should wait to see if anyone makes an offer and to see what gets raised on their survey.

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    Internal cracks:
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    Last edited: 26 Jul 2020
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  3. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    That looks like a contraction crack, and may need a movement joint, or crack stitching.

    The fact that it has been filled previously and widened since requires investigation by a structural engineer, not surveyor.

    Once the cause is diagnosed, and remedy determined, then you can choose whether to involve your insurance if the cause is covered by your policy
     
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  4. footprints

    footprints

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    Certainly worth getting an engineers report, before proceeding so you know the facts and possible cost before a buyer bends you over a barrel.
    I suspect the inside is just blown plaster separating from the brick or scratch coat.
    Is it standard brick construction?
    Might be worth chipping a bit out to confirm if the crack extends into the wall material.
     
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  5. skm1981

    skm1981

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    • if you "copy and paste" or "drag and drop" photos into your posts, they will not be delayed by manual checking.
    Thanks for the replies. I've emailed a couple of structural engineers to see how much it will cost to come out and take a look. I think it is just standard brick.

    We do have another similar crack by the kitchen and I'm able to remove a bit of the pebble dashing/cement and this is what it looks like. The house did have the insulation put into the walls before we moved in, so I'm wondering if potentially the holes they drilled in might have caused this? I literally have no clue about this kind of thing though.

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  6. footprints

    footprints

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    Yes looks like brick and cracked through, I think most of he problems from cavity insulation result in damp not cracking.
     
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  7. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Nothing to do with cavity insulation holes.
    The whole elevation has contracted, and the crack in the middle around the openings is the result.

    Someone needs to determine why, and then deal with the cause if necessary and then the resulting crack. Likewise for other cracks.
     
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  9. skm1981

    skm1981

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    Thanks. Sorry, probably a stupid question, but I literally know nothing about this, do you think this is a result of subsidence then, or something separate? The house used to be my grandad's, we bought off him before he died 15 years ago, and my mum grew up here, and she is adamant that the cracks (as they've been there for a long, long while) are just in the pebble dashing and said she remembers other houses having the same problem with chunks of it falling off. She has no building experience whatsoever, so I am certainly not taking her word for it.

    We have a semi detached house. All the houses down my road are semi-detached with a shared driveway in between each. Would our neighbours not be suffering from the same problem if it is subsidence? All these houses are 1930s and were all built to the same design by the same people. I've looked at my neighbour's side of the house, but can't see any cracking at all in their house, although their pebble dashing could be newer than ours. Ours was done in around 1970 I believe.
     
  10. footprints

    footprints

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    You might have a stream running under your house, broken drain, mine shaft even a wartime shelter. Because your neighbour has no cracks does not mean your foundations are sound.
    As I said chip off a bit more render and expose more brick, the little bit we can see looks like it goes through.
     
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  11. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    No, that cracking is not indicative of foundation movement.

    That type of crack is typically caused by contraction of the whole wall, ie shrinkage. It's got wet, dried and basically shrunk a little. It's cracked there between the windows as that's the weakest point of the wall.

    This may have been a single past event, or part of a continual seasonal cycle. The neighbour's walls are facing a different way.
     
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  12. skm1981

    skm1981

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    Thank you, that makes me feel a bit better! Our house is south facing so the back of the house does get a lot of sun, and we have had a couple (not many being the UK) of very hot summers, or of course the excessive rain we can face as well.
     
  13. skm1981

    skm1981

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    Also just took a walk down a couple of roads alongside ours, looks like a relatively common problem. There seem to be quite a few houses with very similar cracks.
     
  14. tony1851

    tony1851

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    Surely if it was foundation settlement, the crack would not be the same width all the way up, as settlement causes rotation? I'd second the thermal-movement suggestion on the basis that the crack looks fairly even in width.
     
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