Ask a Tradesman
Cracks on the external wall (gable)
Hi, I would highly appreciate if you give me some advice please. We moved in this terraced property about 2 years ago, had builders survey done - no major issues found as this is an old Victorian house about 120 years old. Last week I went up in the loft and decided to look at the gable wall. I was shocked to see there were vertical cracks and few bricks were cracked and gable wall where it joins the fire wall in the loft also had a gap of about 2 inches, through that I can see my next neighbour's loft. I am very stressed.
There are conifer trees of about 6ft about 7 years old in the distance of 15ft. I had a feeling it is due to that, but when I spent some time this afternoon on the ground floor in back room to find out the problem. The back room has been extended but there is no support given where wall was taken away. He knocked down the external wall and extended the back room with glass sliding doors. In essence the first floor external back wall and roof has got no supporting base wall to bear the load. I think it is fundamentally wrong. I don't think he took permission from council to knock this main external wall.
In my builder's survey it didn't mention at all that this main wall has been knocked out to extend that room so I would have been careful in buying this property. There cracks and gaps are I think due to this knocking down the ground floor external wall, not due to conifer trees, I may be wrong.
I have rung my insurance hope they will give me some advice, but I don't think it would cover the cost to repair. I am not sure where to start from. Could you please give me some advice, I've got a young family to support. I don't want to sell this property without repair or letting agent know about the problem. It would be unethical. I think my surveyor did not do a good job, can I go back to his company etc.? Thanks
If there is no structuial supporting pillars for the beam from the new extenion you have mentioned i would be very suprised as all building works should have been under control of the local planning authrority.
i have worked for an insurance contractor who specialise in subsidance repairs i would advise in this matter that you presure your insureres to at the very least have the cracks monitered for movement once you are happy that the shift has stopped you can then begin to repair the internal and external cracks.
large step cracks that follow the morter joints can be repaired by rakeing out the moter joints and injecting cementatious grout then you will need to fix 300mm EML mesh over the crack and drill and plug the mesh to the wall.
the larger cracks that run through bricks is lttle more tricky without seeing photograhs depending on the seriuosness there are options of fixing helical bars into the walls to sticth it together or in some cases lateral straps cad be used to bind the wall together i would be happy to give you more advise if you could post some pictures
Answered 19th Oct 2013