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Worrying crack in gable end. Advice please

  • 17-05-2021 7:46pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 3,396 ✭✭✭ dnme


    Hi friends,

    I have a 80's bungalow near the town of Newmarket on Fergus, Co. Clare. Last year, a crack developed in the gable end. I spoke to a structural engineer on the phone who told me not to worry but worrying I am. I attach some photos taken in January, they show the lie of the house, the garden which has some trees. All the sites along this road are sitting on top of limestone. Its like diamond. When you try to dig your garden you hit it about 8" down.

    I'm worried because
    1. The house has been here since 1985. So why now all of a sudden develope a crack?
    2. The garden has some trees, could these be causing it?
    3. The crack is diagonal which apparently is not good.

    The crack in on the right side gable end. The photos don't really do the crack justice as they are taken on a mobile phone from underneath. I reckon the crack is about 4-5mm at its widest now.

    Questions
    1. Would you know on anyone I could speak to about this, maybe get them out?
    2. Would it be worth my while to get a drain inspection?
    3. Can I seal the crack to male it weatherproof while waiting for expert advice?

    My thanks in advance

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,899 ✭✭✭ chooseusername


    Any modifications to the roof timbers in the loft?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,396 ✭✭✭ dnme


    Any modifications to the roof timbers in the loft?

    No, I did take out an old chipboard floor and put in new 18m osb. Apart from that no mods whatsoever.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,928 ✭✭✭✭ Calahonda52




  • Registered Users Posts: 3,396 ✭✭✭ dnme



    Yeah I have a cpl of those. TBH I found it easier to mark the crack with pencil and take measurements with a calipers. I can tell that in the past few months it has lengthened and widened slightly.


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 10,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ BryanF


    dnme wrote: »
    Yeah I have a cpl of those. TBH I found it easier to mark the crack with pencil and take measurements with a calipers. I can tell that in the past few months it has lengthened and widened slightly.

    But if you want to convince anyone else, best to get some of those devices and take time stamped photos.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,396 ✭✭✭ dnme


    BryanF wrote: »
    But if you want to convince anyone else, best to get some of those devices and take time stamped photos.

    Not really trying to convince anyone of anything. I have some questions though. See op above.


  • Registered Users Posts: 824 ✭✭✭ wildwillow


    Is the crack showing inside?

    Could be caused by the tree roots especially if you have very little soil before hitting the rock.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,396 ✭✭✭ dnme


    wildwillow wrote: »
    Is the crack showing inside?

    Could be caused by the tree roots especially if you have very little soil before hitting the rock.

    No crack showing inside.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,654 ✭✭✭✭ listermint


    Water ingress on a small crack in the render can cause this . Water in. Freezes and expands etc etc. Rinse repeat.


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 10,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ BryanF


    dnme wrote: »
    Not really trying to convince anyone of anything. I have some questions though. See op above.

    You see all those questions, they need to be answered with a site visit by structural engineer.

    They’ll want to know how much it’s moving by. Your pencil isn’t very scientific. Not sure ‘Slightly’ is in a structural engineers vocabulary when defining the origin of a recent crack that’s ‘developing’


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,071 ✭✭✭ PMBC


    Is it roofed with factory trusses or is it a 'cut' roof?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,396 ✭✭✭ dnme


    PMBC wrote: »
    Is it roofed with factory trusses or is it a 'cut' roof?

    Ive no idea


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,339 ✭✭✭✭ Penn


    PMBC wrote: »
    Is it roofed with factory trusses or is it a 'cut' roof?

    Age and type of house, almost definitely a cut roof.

    OP you need to engage a professional to assess, and probably undertake crack monitoring with tell-tales (as previously posted) or crack monitoring studs for at least a year, to determine if movement is on-going, to what extent, and how the weather cycle over one year affects same (eg. measurements of the tell-tales/studs usually done in three-month intervals over the space of a year).

    Tell-tale/studs are more accurate than pencil marks on a wall and a professional will be able to judge it more clearly and do a report on their findings in case it's something you need to claim on your insurance. Or they could determine that movement is minimal and propose solutions (eg. crack stitching, or maybe fix steel mesh behind the render).

    The crack also isn't completely diagonal, but staggered, as it's likely forming in the mortar joints between blockwork (but appearing slightly off / differently in the external render as the render is applied over the blockwork and mortar so may split slightly out from the crack in the buildup of the wall itself).

    You said you spoke to a structural engineer on the phone. You need an engineer or building surveyor to actually visit the site and have a look themselves. Don't try to patch or seal the crack until it's been assessed. As I said, they may end up needing to monitor the crack for a year as it is to determine the cause/extent of the issue.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,892 ✭✭✭✭ CJhaughey


    Where does the water from the gutter go when it comes out of the down spout?


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,339 ✭✭✭✭ Penn


    Also, are there signs of any cracks forming along the front wall (likely at or near the window)?


  • Registered Users Posts: 469 ✭✭ boege


    Had this happen to a garage wall and crack was similar to yours, if not worse.

    Following advice, I hired an engineer to install 'tell tales' and monitor the crack over an extended period (6- 12 months, I think!). Possible cause in my case was the pouring of wall foundations in less than perfect conditions.

    In the end the crack had more or less stopped expanding and was deemed within the band of 'normal settling' but I have a report on file from the engineer if I ever need to sell the house.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,396 ✭✭✭ dnme


    Penn wrote: »
    Age and type of house, almost definitely a cut roof.

    OP you need to engage a professional to assess, and probably undertake crack monitoring with tell-tales (as previously posted) or crack monitoring studs for at least a year, to determine if movement is on-going, to what extent, and how the weather cycle over one year affects same (eg. measurements of the tell-tales/studs usually done in three-month intervals over the space of a year).

    Tell-tale/studs are more accurate than pencil marks on a wall and a professional will be able to judge it more clearly and do a report on their findings in case it's something you need to claim on your insurance. Or they could determine that movement is minimal and propose solutions (eg. crack stitching, or maybe fix steel mesh behind the render).

    The crack also isn't completely diagonal, but staggered, as it's likely forming in the mortar joints between blockwork (but appearing slightly off / differently in the external render as the render is applied over the blockwork and mortar so may split slightly out from the crack in the buildup of the wall itself).

    You said you spoke to a structural engineer on the phone. You need an engineer or building surveyor to actually visit the site and have a look themselves. Don't try to patch or seal the crack until it's been assessed. As I said, they may end up needing to monitor the crack for a year as it is to determine the cause/extent of the issue.

    Many thanks for that.

    Earlier this week I contacted a Structural Engineer and am now making arrangements for him to visit site.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,586 ✭✭✭ SouthWesterly




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