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    • Homebuyer_londonNW
    • By Homebuyer_londonNW 15th May 18, 12:48 PM
    • 10Posts
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    Homebuyer_londonNW
    Cracks all over internal and external walls. Structural issues or settling down cracks?
    • #1
    • 15th May 18, 12:48 PM
    Cracks all over internal and external walls. Structural issues or settling down cracks? 15th May 18 at 12:48 PM
    ]Hi All,

    We are in a process of a buying a house. We found out on our 2nd visit along with the builder that all rooms with (no exception) has horizontal, vertical and arch cracks on the walls and external wall. The external wall is half brick and half rendered and both surface has cracks. The brick work has two minor stair step cracks . There is a huge old tree as well within the 6 feet from house. We have been informed by vendor that these are settling down cracks as the house for built in 2006. The builder thinks itís structural movement which can be rectified by underpinning foundation but he said itís most likely the cracks will be back in few years. We obviously should go for a structural survey but usually such reports are on the fence with survey taking no responsibilities and lots of ambiguities. So wanted a personal opinion or experience anyone has had with their homes. Sorry for the long post but we are torn between withdrawing or going ahead. Thanks. I have pictures of the cracks but not sure how to Attach.
Page 2
    • I_Kantski
    • By I_Kantski 16th May 18, 8:52 AM
    • 8 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    I_Kantski
    Run for your life. That's way too many cracks for you to ever have peace of mind while living there.
    • dlmcr
    • By dlmcr 16th May 18, 12:03 PM
    • 146 Posts
    • 184 Thanks
    dlmcr
    Lots of "run for your life" type responses, not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that.. Bear in mind a lot of houses have cracks in them, whether they are serious depends on the type position and number and it is up to you whether you get a structrural engineer in to do a report.
    The mottled bark on that tree suggests it is either a plane tree or a eucalyptus tree. If it is a plane then this is a type of tree that is linked to cause ground movement nearby. If it is a eucalyptus then probably not.
    The only photo that gives me concern is the one with the small step cracks on the brick, photo 4, where is that in relation to the tree? The others appear to be in the render or internal plaster walls only, see, they don't continue to run down through the brickwork? Straight vertical and horizonal cracks in rendering only.
    Walk around the house, are there several courses of bricks that you can see all the way around the house near ground level? Is there any cracking in any of those? There's your answer. If subsidence there will be cracking at this place, if there is movement (this is not the same thing as subsidence) there will not necessarily be any cracking at this point of the house but that would mean there is an issue with movement in the house not caused by the ground moving. Do other tests: do doors close, do windows stick when closed? This looks to me like a house which poorly applied plaster and rendering rather than subsidence.
    • Homebuyer_londonNW
    • By Homebuyer_londonNW 16th May 18, 1:38 PM
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    Homebuyer_londonNW
    Tree type
    Hi Dmlr

    Thanks a lot for your detailed response. Added few more pics of the tree in the drop box link. Please let me what kind of tree do you think it is from the pics. Sorry not very clear.

    Photo 4 stair step crack is on the wall adjacent to the wall near the tree. I am not sure how thorough we were but there are cracks in bricks at two places.

    All the windows and doors were closed properly. The front door which the owner opened for us also closed smoothly and bathroom doors as well. I didnít see any issues with any of the door or window pains but again I wasnít looking and they were also closed properly. 3-4 doors we tried were closing properly.

    The owner has readily shared the information from the New build association but I donít understand them at all.

    Quoting them

    ĎThe piles are indicated at depths of between 7-8.2 metres.í

    Ď It should be noted that the information we hold was submitted to NHBC for the purpose of checking the design for compliance with the building regulations applicable at the time, and as such may not constitute as-built details. It remains the house builders responsibility to construct the properties in accordance with the regulations in force at that time.

    I am able to advise that the foundation solution adopted for the property was a pile and ground beam foundation solution.Ď

    Not sure if theyíre relevant to the cracking. Vendor hasnít shared any drawing of the house.
    • sgun
    • By sgun 16th May 18, 1:58 PM
    • 334 Posts
    • 260 Thanks
    sgun
    If you get some good pictures of the bark and leaves we can tell you what type of tree it is - too blurry at present.

    I have just spent four painful days filling, sanding, refilling, using flexible crack filler, re-sanding, painting and re-painting to hide some cracks in my living room. These came about from a combination of a poor plastering job (10 years ago), clay soil and alternate very wet with very dry periods which has meant the house moves. I have no illusions that the cracks will stay hidden forever but hopefully for the duration that my house is on the market. At least you have seen the cracks so you know what you are letting yourself in for!

    Personally though I would give that particular house a miss. If it is plaster and rendering issues then it must have been a fairly shoddy job to begin with and it would make me wonder what else has been done badly.
    • hunnie
    • By hunnie 16th May 18, 4:36 PM
    • 174 Posts
    • 145 Thanks
    hunnie
    I'm no expert either but those cracks look quite minor to me.
    When I sold my house the buyers saw external cracks that followed the line of cement between bricks in a stepped way as shown on your photos. They sent a structural engineer, who said to me that his visit was a waste of time as all the houses had them.
    I did however have a tree cut down that I though was getting a bit too large as the roots can cause damage.
    Looking round my current house, there are several cracks in the ceilings upstairs, all hairline. I am sure they aren't a big problem though. Just haven't redecorated up there for a good number of years.
    • Homebuyer_londonNW
    • By Homebuyer_londonNW 16th May 18, 7:19 PM
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    Homebuyer_londonNW
    Being detective- added trees pic- need help identifying and the damage it can cause
    Hi Sgun,

    Added pics of the trees and leaves. Also the distance between the tree and the house.

    Thanks
    • sgun
    • By sgun 16th May 18, 9:14 PM
    • 334 Posts
    • 260 Thanks
    sgun
    OK, my initial thought prior to the new pics was ash and I'm sticking with that as I can see opposite compound leaves. The tree behind looks like london plane from Google Streetview and you also have a tall, established leylandii. Personally I wouldn't go near it due to the moisture uptake and the spreading roots of the ash and plane. Not so much the roots of the leylandii but the huge uptake of moisture from the soil. (You could take the hedge out easily though). You can prune tree roots but if you don't know what you are doing you would need to get a professional in.

    You are on a corner with the A1425. I'm assuming you get fairly heavy traffic with some lorries along there. I'm not surprised that the house has as many cracks as it does, or that your vendors are at pains to show the house is properly constructed.

    It looks like a nice enough area though and if you can live with cracks then go for it. I have lived with cracks for 16 years and have only got round to filling as I am selling. Maybe your vendors know full well that the house is shaken about by traffic every morning and evening and don't see the point in hiding the cracks!
    • martindow
    • By martindow 17th May 18, 11:04 AM
    • 7,546 Posts
    • 4,281 Thanks
    martindow
    Have you checked whether there is a tree preservation order? This is quite possible as builders prefer to cut down anything they can to make work easier. If there is a TPO you would have to negotiate with the local authority to do work on the tree.
    Edit: looking at your photos it is not clear whether the tree is in this house's garden or a neighbour's.
    • Homebuyer_londonNW
    • By Homebuyer_londonNW 17th May 18, 11:48 AM
    • 10 Posts
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    Homebuyer_londonNW
    The Ash tree is in the garden 8-10 feet away from the house wall.

    The plane tree is in neighbours garden.

    Yes the Ash tree has TPO on it.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 17th May 18, 12:40 PM
    • 4,363 Posts
    • 6,241 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    A house next to a serious main road with lots of cracks and a big tree that close to it would have to be a lot cheaper than anything nearby. If it isn't don't buy it.
    • sgun
    • By sgun 17th May 18, 10:42 PM
    • 334 Posts
    • 260 Thanks
    sgun
    The tree is way too close to the house. It could potentially still be growing, even if it is fully
    established it will give you problems. You can get a TPO overturned but it isn't easy and it depends on the council. If the vendors haven't sorted the tree and the cracks it is unlikely you will be able to. I can live with a few cracks but I would not go near this one especially with the main road (think what those vibrations do to the roots).
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