Cracks in Basement Walls
LESLIE: Jim in Ohio, you’ve got the Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JIM: Well thanks for taking my call. I have a house I purchased about 11 years ago and when I purchased it, there is a small crack in the basement wall at the top cinder blocks and along my back wall and my side wall. And it really hasn’t moved for a number of years and then, recently, I noticed that on my one side wall, the very top blocks, the gap is starting to get bigger and they’re actually starting to lean out. And what worries me the most is there is a metal beam that one of them is under and it’s leaning on that. So I’m just kind of wondering what type of fix or who do I get to look at it; a basement person or what.
TOM: Yeah. Well, not a basement contractor. You have two options. I would suggest either a professional home inspector or a structural engineer. Because if you’ve got a visible crack or a serious crack like that, you really need to make sure it’s evaluated by a professional because when it comes time to sell your house, Jim, you want to be able to say that you had a report done and this was the diagnosis.
And in the worse-case scenario, if it turns out that you need a repair, at that point you would only be working with a structural engineer who would specify what has to happen step-by-step. Then you’d have the contractor make the repair; you’d have the engineer come back and recertify that it was done correctly and that becomes sort of a pedigree so that if you go to put the house on the market and anybody sees that you’ve got a crack in the basement, you can say, “Hey, I saw that. I was concerned. I hired a structural engineer. He or she designed a repair. I had a contractor do it and then the engineer certified that it was done correctly.” And if I saw that as a professional home inspector for a potential buyer, I would be completely satisfied.
JIM: OK, great. I appreciate it.
TOM: Alright? So that’s the way to handle it.
JIM: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jim. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.