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  • FIRST POST
    • Whatdidwebuy!
    • By Whatdidwebuy! 4th Mar 18, 12:29 PM
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    Whatdidwebuy!
    Advice on possible structural damage.
    • #1
    • 4th Mar 18, 12:29 PM
    Advice on possible structural damage. 4th Mar 18 at 12:29 PM
    3 years ago as first time buyers we purchased our 3 bed end terrace (with loft conversion, side kitchen extension and conservatory that extends almost the length of the house). an ex student house so a bit neglected and the previous owner has no building regs for the extension so we got indemnity insurance.

    Several problems have cropped up.
    1) kitchen extension is actual single skin and we have a mould issue now. We have learnt this can make it hard to sell in but can not afford to redo it.

    2) small cracks in plaster have increased dramatically, and some of these cracks go from the ceiling to the wall horizontally and although are currently hairline we are getting a new one every week. This is suggesting structural damage so we think we may have to pay for a full stuructural survey. The conservatory leaked for the first time this year and Iím suspicious itís linked. The old owner also planted conifers a foot from the house so Iím worried about the roots

    I am so worried that in our ignorance we have purchased a house that is not structurally sound and that we will never be able to sell it on, and we cannot afford to fix the issues.

    Has anyone any experience or suggestions on what to do (apart from rock in a corner and cry )
Page 1
    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 4th Mar 18, 12:54 PM
    • 847 Posts
    • 872 Thanks
    Margot123
    • #2
    • 4th Mar 18, 12:54 PM
    • #2
    • 4th Mar 18, 12:54 PM
    1) kitchen extension is actual single skin and we have a mould issue now. We have learnt this can make it hard to sell in but can not afford to redo it.

    Most mould comes from condensation created by cooking/showering etc. We live in a 200 year old house and suffer from this every winter. I'd recommend a good spray of Mr Muscle mould killer; it works for us and keeps it away for ages.

    2) small cracks in plaster have increased dramatically, and some of these cracks go from the ceiling to the wall horizontally and although are currently hairline we are getting a new one every week. This is suggesting structural damage so we think we may have to pay for a full stuructural survey. The conservatory leaked for the first time this year and I!!!8217;m suspicious it!!!8217;s linked. The old owner also planted conifers a foot from the house so I!!!8217;m worried about the roots
    Are you sure it isn't just fairly recently plastering that's settling? It tends to have hairline cracks. With regards to the conifers: the roots are shallow unless they are very large trees (over 20ft high or so). They don't normally cause problems to structures.
    • ashe
    • By ashe 4th Mar 18, 12:58 PM
    • 530 Posts
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    ashe
    • #3
    • 4th Mar 18, 12:58 PM
    • #3
    • 4th Mar 18, 12:58 PM
    google filling plaster cracks, with a bit of plaster and some fibreglass tape/sandpaper then paint over, might solve a lot of those issues.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 4th Mar 18, 1:23 PM
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    Smodlet
    • #4
    • 4th Mar 18, 1:23 PM
    • #4
    • 4th Mar 18, 1:23 PM
    Let's hope it is just plaster cracks (have you re-plastered recently?) and not the extension separating from the main building. I don't wish to frighten you, OP, but I have seen this in a house I viewed; naturally, I walked away.

    Do you have any idea whether the extension has any proper footings or is just resting on the ground? Strongly recommend you dig out all paperwork to do with your house purchase and go through it with a fine tooth comb and, first thing tomorrow, book a structural survey.

    This is the trouble with asking on a forum; none of us has seen the offending extension so no-one can know if it is a pot of filler or a major refurb job which is required but, if the cracks are getting worse, that would worry me.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • parking_question_chap
    • By parking_question_chap 4th Mar 18, 1:30 PM
    • 1,637 Posts
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    parking_question_chap
    • #5
    • 4th Mar 18, 1:30 PM
    • #5
    • 4th Mar 18, 1:30 PM
    None of us can answer with total certainty, though if you post some photos we might get a better idea.

    Mould is not uncommon and can sometimes just be due to poor ventilation.

    Cracks could just be paint cracking if it was painted after poor preperation of the surface, could be plaster cracks again after poor workmanship. Doesnt have to indicate anything worse. However, I suggest you get a surveyor around if you are really worried.

    You would be surprised how many cracks you will see in properties, its probably that your are just noticing them because its your own house and you are naturally worried about worst case scenario.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 4th Mar 18, 1:53 PM
    • 25,201 Posts
    • 68,807 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #6
    • 4th Mar 18, 1:53 PM
    • #6
    • 4th Mar 18, 1:53 PM
    3 years ago as first time buyers we purchased our 3 bed end terrace (with loft conversion, side kitchen extension and conservatory that extends almost the length of the house). an ex student house so a bit neglected and the previous owner has no building regs for the extension so we got indemnity insurance.

    Several problems have cropped up.
    1) kitchen extension is actual single skin and we have a mould issue now. We have learnt this can make it hard to sell in but can not afford to redo it.
    This will be to do with the fact it is single skin, When you say you don't have the money to redo it, do you mean that you're expecting to rebuild it? Ventilation plays a part, but your main issue is the cold walls without insulation causing condensation. The easiest way to address that is to put insulated, foil backed plasterboard onto the walls and re-plaster. In one room it wouldn't be that expensive, certainly not as much as starting again. Lots of kitchen extensions in older houses are single skin as they are converted outbuildings, so there's no real reason why the house should be difficult to sell.

    2) small cracks in plaster have increased dramatically, and some of these cracks go from the ceiling to the wall horizontally and although are currently hairline we are getting a new one every week. This is suggesting structural damage so we think we may have to pay for a full stuructural survey. The conservatory leaked for the first time this year and I!!!8217;m suspicious it!!!8217;s linked. The old owner also planted conifers a foot from the house so I!!!8217;m worried about the roots
    You haven't said where these are in the house. The problems are in the extension only? How old is the extension? Can you either post some photos or explain a bit more, because I have no idea what you mean by "ceiling to the wall horizontally"? A horizontal crack doesn't sound very structural, it sounds a bit like plaster shrinkage, Please furnish us with some more details. Hairline cracks are not particularly concerning. The weather is has been extreme, the ground will be contracting somewhat and houses do move, so some new little cracks appearing here and there might be expected.

    How old is the conservatory? Face it, conservatories are not habitable rooms, they are cheaply built for a reason. They will not have adequate foundations, they don't have to meet any kind of regulations and they are not inspected. If this was a student house I can imagine that it was done cheaply. Don't assume that the conservatory problem is related to the house, it's far more likely to be the conservatory itself.


    I am so worried that in our ignorance we have purchased a house that is not structurally sound and that we will never be able to sell it on, and we cannot afford to fix the issues.

    I think you're over reacting. We're talking about hairline cracks, condensation and a leaky conservatory. It just sounds like home ownership to me! All houses have value but you've not really given me any reason to think that the house isn't worth what it should be.

    Has anyone any experience or suggestions on what to do (apart from rock in a corner and cry )
    Originally posted by Whatdidwebuy!
    I have lots of experience and the first thing I'd say is to stop panicking. You can ask a structural engineer to come out and have a look over the house before you commission a full report. But if you can show us some photos, we might just be able to help you feel a little better. Try and post any pictures of cracks in context of the whole room, rather than just the cracks themselves. There's no sense of scale and nothing that helps diagnosis.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Thrugelmir
    • By Thrugelmir 4th Mar 18, 1:57 PM
    • 58,961 Posts
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    Thrugelmir
    • #7
    • 4th Mar 18, 1:57 PM
    • #7
    • 4th Mar 18, 1:57 PM
    The old owner also planted conifers a foot from the house so Iím worried about the roots
    Originally posted by Whatdidwebuy!
    You've had 3 years since moving in to address this.
    Financial disasters happen when the last person who can remember what went wrong last time has left the building.
    • Whatdidwebuy!
    • By Whatdidwebuy! 5th Mar 18, 5:24 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Whatdidwebuy!
    • #8
    • 5th Mar 18, 5:24 PM
    • #8
    • 5th Mar 18, 5:24 PM
    Therugelmir - we didnt worry in the last three years as there were only a couple of cracks and as others have said conifer roots don!!!8217;t necessarily cause foundation issues. We are slowly working our way through the twenty odd conifers planted that range from 10-20ft high!

    Thanks for the replies. I am probably panicking a little. I have a structural survey booked next week.

    I think maybe the kitchen extension is a separate issue to the cracks, it!!!8217;s on the opposite side of the house to the cracks on the party wall. We will probably look into insulating it from the inside, but would have to redo the kitchen at the same time.
    The large conservatory looks to have shifted a little to my untrained eye.

    The cracks, some are old and some are new. They are on the ground and first floor in the rooms (living room and master bedroom) that are on the shared wall but more so at the back of the house. I!!!8217;ll try and figure out how to attach a picture.
    One wall in the living room was replastered and when cracks appeared we assumed it was the plaster drying too quickly, but then new cracks appeared in the old plaster.
    . Dozergirl what I meant was a crack goes up the new plaster in the wall and recently that crack has extended across the ceiling.

    Thanks everyone for your replies, it!!!8217;s hard to panic. I don!!!8217;t really know where to start and this has been helpful (the kitchen extension issues seem more manageable).
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 7th Mar 18, 9:22 AM
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    Smodlet
    • #9
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:22 AM
    • #9
    • 7th Mar 18, 9:22 AM
    Yikes, those cracks do sound bad. Best of luck.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
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