Posted by JWmHarmon on December 08, 2003 at 10:00:39:
In Reply to: Re: cavity walls posted by Donald on December 05, 2003 at 08:14:35:
You state that you have a cavity wall. This implies that there is an interior wall that is separate from the exterior wall and the two are separated by an air space which may or may not have insulation in it.
The question then arises: Is it only the exterior wall that is cracking, or is the interior wall also cracking? If both are craking then Donals' suggestion to underpin and jack the foundation, then pour additional concrete would make sense. If the exterior wall is cracking, but the interior wall is not cracking, it may indicate a failure of the ties conecting the two. It could also indicate improper installation of the exterior wall. There may not be enough bearing surface for the exterior portion while the interior may have adequate bearing.
Is the exterior wall bowing in or out? Are the cracks stepping up the masonry or are you experiencing vertical or horizontal cracks? Each type of crack indicates different problems. Is the mortar deteriorating or missing between some of the masonry units? Is the building being undermined by underground erosion from a natural spring or from a broken sewer line or drain tile?
What is most important is that you have a qualified person examine the wall and determine whether it is still safe or if it is in imminent danger of collapse. Then you must take the necessary steps to assure the safety of those who come near this building.
In my home town we recently had a sizeable portion of the brick veneer of a turn-of-the-century building collapse onto the sidewalk. Fortunately no on was on the sidewalk at the time. The building was examined and found to be structurally sound except for the one deteriorated section of the veneer wall.
Building safety should always be priority number one.
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