Building Homes or Extensions/Floor Cracks

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Question
I recently bought a home, on a slab, built in 1997 (Phoenix, AZ) area.  The soil is expansive.  When pulling up some of the carpet in the living room, I noticed several large cracks (more than 1/2".  I only pulled up a small portion of the carpet. The cracks do not create any upwards protrusion, but they are large horizontal cracks.  I'll be getting new carpet and the installer said they commonly fill the cracks.  Do you think I should be having the whole floor redone by a concrete contractor instead?  The homeowners assoc. said everyone there found cracks when they had their new carpet put in too and they just covered it over. I'm not sure what to do about the cracks. (A structural engineer came to the house to inspect it and found the few other cracks in the wall to be okay, but I did not know about these cracks at the time.)Thanks

Answer
Your best bet is to have the cracks filled with a good quality concrete patch or a special epoxy that is used to seal cracks in foundation walls. Make sure who ever does the job uses a concrete primer before repairing the cracks. The soil does create problems for builders and home owners in most of Arizona. When you say you are thinking of having a concrete contractor redo the whole floor, I assume you mean removing the cracked concrete and replacing it with a new slab. Unless the expansive soil is dug out to the depth of where you reach more solid soil, filled back in with clay or stone, the new slab will eventually crack also. Has the Homeowners Association looked into the fact that the original builder did not pour all the slabs properly? Are the slabs the proper thickness? Did the builder use enough stone under the concrete to support it's weight? If the builder is still in business, he may be liable for the concrete repairs at his expense.

Building Homes or Extensions

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Russell Spataro

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