After last month’s column on various lengthy and legal aspects I would like to concentrate on some D.I.Y. (do it yourself) know how, this can be interesting and we encourage our readers to participate with their own experiences which we will publish.
But before we continue I have had an email from an Electrical contractor in Kalgoorlie who extended his home and his question goes on to say:- Our house is brick veneer and a tiled roof. Six to seven years ago we extended our lounge by 3 meters and we now have a problem where by the join between the old and new is opening up. The join has opened wider at the top than at the bottom and on the outside the bricks are opening up where the join is as well.
Also we noticed around the doors the bricks are moving out from the frames both sides. Around the two sliding doors we can see gaps around them also.
Our soil has allot of clay in it. The cornice in the lounge room seems to be coming away from the walls and ceilings too.Can you please tell us the best way to fix everything up properly and what you think caused it.
Well back in May 21, 2014, we wrote an article on foundation consolidation with a diagrammatic representation of similar events as you have described, if you wish a copy then ask the Kalgoorlie Miner or phone or fax our office for a copy of the article.
Recently we have been to Kalgoorlie to inspect similar problems and found that the soil is indeed the culprit.
It is imperative to desire uniform moisture content as the differential in dry and wet soil is causing the movement, especially if some areas are paved and others are not. (This assumes that the footings of the home have been designed with clay soil in mind). By providing a 1500 wide apron around the perimeter of the home future movement can be minimised as the moisture content is balanced better that way. Soak wells be diverted away from the home and the perimeter area be kept as dry as practicable all year round.
As far as repair work is concerned plaster board patching will only be temporary as the weak points have already been identified. It is our suggestion that a longer term solution would be to use a wide timber cover board to cover over the vertical crack, provided that it runs reasonably vertical. In fact where old and new join we always recommend to “butt join” rather than “keying” the materials together, as differential movement is inevitable. Flexible fillers can be used but are always obvious and never give a really neat finish in the hands of novices. The cornices should not be coming loose, perhaps your builder should be contacted to repair them. The cornices need to be repositioned and regrouted with additional grout. Perhaps the cracks if they are not too sever could be patched with some flexible filler by a professional painter.
If you have any further questions please call our office.