Foundation Stabilization and Repair/Possible Foundation Issue

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Ed,

First of all, thank you for taking my question. My question is regarding my finished basement, as I went down there last night and saw what I feel like is a large horizontal crack that I just noticed that was not there two days ago. So here it is:

I just moved into this house 10 months ago and the inspector did not find anything wrong with the basement or foundation. That being said, the basement area is 90% finished, so most of the actual foundation walls are not exposed. Last night when I walked into the basement, I saw the crown molding around the window is cracked at a seem, and there is an approximately four inch horizontal crack in the drywall next to the window. My question is, how can I tell if this is a foundation issue, or just settling in the drywall? The house is built in 1995 in Kansas City. It is a two story house with approximately 2700 square feet. The original owner finished the basement himself approximately twenty years ago. We have not had an unusual amount of rain that could potentially cause the ground to be particularly heavier.

Would there be any explanation why the drywall would crack like this other than a foundation issue?

I have attached a photograph to help further show my problem. The other note about the basement is that it is about half underground. It is too deep to be a walkout basement, however the ground level is about chest high when standing in the basement.

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts or opinions.

Answer
Hello Brent
There are really only two possibilities of the actual cause of the noticeable cracking.
One possibility is inward bowing of the foundation directly behind the affected area and this should also be noticeable on the outside of the foundation even if it is minimal.
The second possibility is frame warpage or torsion that could be caused from a number of different things such as: Condensation or moisture behind the drywall,,,,Improper stud blocking or fastening during installation,,,,perhaps, some sort of load pressure from overhead flooring, (if there are no expansion joints).....It is very difficult for me to make a guess without thoroughly inspecting the situation myself.
My advise is this: keep an eye on the crack for a few more weeks and note any changes. If there is no additional movement or changes, then you may just be able to patch up the crack and that could be just fine, However, if there is more noticeable movement or further cracking, then you should contact a local reputable inspector and get some remedial advice.
I wish you the best!
Respectfully          Ed Eckley

Foundation Stabilization and Repair

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Ed Eckley

Expertise

I will be happy to answer any questions regarding foundation problems of any type. Questions pertaining to construction methods, Problematic soils, Settling & Movement, Frame torsion & racking, Preventative measures, Repair methods of all types.

Experience

Over 18 years in the industry. A.S.M.E. Certified,(American Society of Mechanical Engineering). Hydraulics Design Expert. 18 years of hands on soil manipulation. Over 500 homes repaired, and over 20 commercial buildings repaired. Extensive soil knowledge. Familiar with most types of repair methods and the expected results of each.

Publications
Ezine.com Article Title: Foundation Problems Do's & Don'ts custombuildingsupport.com: Foundation Repair Methods

Education/Credentials
High School Graduate 1976 Trade School Graduate 1976 College Graduate 1978

Awards and Honors
Certificates of achievment: Excel Industries Letters of appreciation: City of Golden Awards & Plaques: Jacobsen Turf Division

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Available on request

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