House cracks - what do I do? Archicentre?

Hi All,

I live in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. The last few years, cracks have started appearing in the walls of the house, inside and outside. The house is 30 years old.

It looks like the house is moving and causing cracking. I know the tile roof is in some decay and needs repointing and cementing - I am organising this now.

I have started to become worried, but am not sure of how to fix the cracking problem. I have considered Archicentre to do a report but they want to charge $500+.


Should I organise a report from Archicentre and act on their recommendations?

Does anybody know of any other organisation that can help me fix my problems?

Does anybody have any advice? What should I do?

Thanks in advance, much appreciated.
 
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Different weather patterns cause cracking and movement in houses.
This could also be what is causing your tiled roof to deteriorate.
Brisbane has a bad episode a few years ago and hundreds of houses were affected.

Even a month after painting and reno'd a Queenslander in Redhill in Brisbane inner city,there were excessive movement causing damage to the painting.
This was tested and put down to the drying of the ground soils causing shrinkage.

If your brickwork is cracking,I would be a little concerned,
I don't really know what you can do about it,apart from keeping the site free of excess water.

Maybe post a few photos on here of the larger cracks for us to look at and others can respond further.
 
Thanks Painter

The house is built in 2 halfs, with the hallway right down the middle. One half of the house (the 2 storey side) seems to be moving or tearing from the other (the single storey side). The 2 storey half seems to be sinking. On this half, most of the cracks are appearing. On the other side there is minimal cracking.

What I have also noticed is the concrete on the ground outside in some areas has cracked. Therefore the side gate does not close properly anymore (on the 2 storey side)

Weird!
 
It sounds like it requires underpinning on the two story side,best thing you can do is go through the yellow pages or referral and get someone who is an expert on foundations to look at it and quote to rectify.

It can be very expensive if it is left too long,as damage to the interior of the home becomes more extensive.

I would personally leave the tiled roof for now and concentrate on the foundations,if you do the roof now,when the house is underpinned (fixed) it will damage the roof again..:(
 
I'd get an engineer that specialises in this sort of thing to look at it, and give you some solutions, before calling in a private company dealing in foundations.

Often you can make simple changes to prevent the further deterioration and cracking or the building.
 
hi

I grew up in Forest Hills,
Anyway, before re-pointing etc, you could try getting a builder in to see what he/she thinks may be the problem, and get them to quote you on repairs.
This will do 2 things- 1 give you an idea of the costs involved, and 2 give you a better understanding of what is causing the issues- For Free.
Only issues with builders (And i should know i am one) is that while some are very knowledgeable, others are not. However if you get a few to look at the problem, you may be able to get an inkling of the problem based on all of their recommendations.

Based on that you can then engage the services of an engineer, or a building certifier, and find out what they would recommend you do.

As painter has mentioned, i would hold off from doing any other works until your foundations have been sorted


Good luck, and i hope this information allows you to make an informed decision
 
Thanks Painter

The house is built in 2 halfs, with the hallway right down the middle. One half of the house (the 2 storey side) seems to be moving or tearing from the other (the single storey side). The 2 storey half seems to be sinking. On this half, most of the cracks are appearing. On the other side there is minimal cracking.

What I have also noticed is the concrete on the ground outside in some areas has cracked. Therefore the side gate does not close properly anymore (on the 2 storey side)

Weird!

Have you tried watering the side that is sinking?

We had a property where half of it was sitting on a claypan, that shrunk dramatically during the dry season - making that half of the buidling sink.

The Y-man
 
Sounds like a couple of issues to be looked at and I would try and organise a person experienced in underpinning and a builder / engineer. Forget about the roof at this stage until all is again stable.

Underpinning is a specialist field and as a builder I would be calling one in if I was looking at the job from what you are discribing.

Good uck
Brian
 
Hi gecho1 and MP melb, I grew up in Forest Hill too and retain my old family home as an IP.

The east of Melbourne is full of reactive clay soils which can cause movement. I'd get a structural engineer on the case and then get a builder to implement the advice of the engineer.
 
Hi MPmelb, we've used John who is a builder with an engineering background and specialises in these kinds of problems a number of times and he has really looked after our clients. I am happy to give you his number of the other way around if you like.

Wishing you every success,
Ana
 
Uretek I think is a good concept but I have heard of problems with peoples drainage after using the product. The material they use basically is pumped under pressure into the ground, you can imagine if you have a sewer line under there that has a few cracks in it...It might fix your levelling issues, but then you have a costly dig up!
 
in my opinion, professional, one that is.
mortar cracks due to the platelets, drying out this takes a while, so the ground drops, these plates of dirt particles become 1/3 their size , so you do the sums, but none the less, the ground has mooved , ie compacted , or expanded,
the brick work has been toothed in , this is somthing i do not do on anny extensions, i provide a perpend joint (expansion joint on a vertical wall) most homes should have them but they do not. but they should at an extension, as things move alot!

dont worry about the bed and pointing as these old homes used mortar mix, it would be typical for it to fall of over 30 summers and winters, the new stuff is ment to be better.
there are compinies that pump somthing under the footings, this is also expensive , but i am told that it works.

what i would do? get somone to cut the brick vaneers with a concrete saw, and then fill it with cork, this will save alot of brick work later on.
and then water the surrounding ground now and then, and just see if it stops. cheers craig.
 
what i would do? get somone to cut the brick vaneers with a concrete saw, and then fill it with cork, this will save alot of brick work later on

This is exactly what I did (well, I had it done, the professionals did it). Had a building that was cracking, scared me so I got a building report done. They just said it needed these 'articulation joints'(?), which sounds like what Craig has described above. Wasn't expensive, and allows some movement of the brick without it cracking. Pretty scary to watch them cut your house open though. :eek:
 
johniebgood

I can't believe that Uretek were going to charge you $75K for a small job. That is just cheeky, and I paid a lot less. I live in Seacliff Park Adelaide and I had the strange experience of being recommended an Adelaide underpinning company by friends in Melbourne who had used them. Check out www.urathanesolutions.com.au / 08 8373 2223 / 0408 821 969 which is owned by a builder with thirty-five years' experience, and the guy knows his stuff. That fact made it all less scary let me tell you. We also got a five percent discount, and he does a lot of work in Melbourne.


I wouldn't get a report for $500 from Archicentre to be told in writing what you already know by looking, and that a really good builder could tell you. The trouble is, I think, that underpinning is an unknown territory for most of us and thank god we got a true-blue professional.


I know some people won't be happy unless they have every report going, but we had a good experience, and so did our friends. So that is worth knowing. Cheers!
 
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