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BritishMom
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎10-19-2011
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Stay completely away from slab-on-grade foundation home?

Hello Everyone,

 

I have been reading the posts (especially by elt1) that slab foundation is bad in Bay area. I am looking at a home that is on slab foundation, has one-inch cracks in the garage & driveway, and a foot-long hairline crack in the bathroom tiles. The crack in the bathroom is in the middle of tiles (not along the grout). The inspection report called out the bathroom crack and said needs to be watched out for possible concrete cracks underneath. It also mentioned that the soil is of expansive type.

 

Given the inventory situation, I would love to buy that home but have a lot of respect for people posting in this forum. Could someone put a worst case scenario dollar amount for me please? I want to know if I could be spending $100,000 or $30,000 in the worst case scenario (e.g. new sewer pipes, new plumbing, new foundation possibly). This is a 60 year old home and 1200 sq ft. in size.

 

Thanks so much,

BritishMom.

Silver Regular Contributor
Fishmarty
Posts: 681
Registered: ‎08-25-2012
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Re: Stay completely away from slab-on-grade foundation home?

Two of SFH I brought are with slab foundation. I don't know if they are slab on grade or slab with perimeter piers. Nothing wrong with both.

 

If you have 1" gap, I'd rather stay away and look for next house rather than keep drilling on 'how much repair...'.

 

 

Silver Trusted Contributor
SamShuehRealtor
Posts: 931
Registered: ‎10-27-2008
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Re: Stay completely away from slab-on-grade foundation home?

[ Edited ]

If it is 1" wide, I expect beams, pillar also are out of square etc. Look for drywall, ceiling cracks. If recently painted the sellers are hiding structure bucking etc evidence.   In Willow Glen section of San Jose, most of the homes are like that. in Belmont toward the Bay many homes have foundation issues.

 

My only bad experience with a 10 year home is the copper plumbing tubing wall in the slab was pierced by a rock when the foundation buckled (No evidence of a crack). Within another year in another section ditto.... Owner rerouted the entire plumbing externally and was dumped by the insurance company. He pitched in a few $K(1993 year) on top of it.  That  costed ~$10K repair second time. First repair costed less, but one ended up replaced shower pan and other things. The plumber had to drill holes in several places to determine the source of water leakage.  I expect to hear a sewage piping replacement by jack hammers across the new wooden floor one day.

 

If it is a 60 year old home where neighborhood drive ways got cracks, that is a wake up call. The proper way to repair is to lift the home up and stake pillars until they hit bed rock with liqufication type soil. What the builders are doing with high rise (~100 ft) is sometimes haphazard.  With a crawl space at least one can crawl look and able to shim or add another pedestral. With slab there is not much one can do.  I have two offer contracts on older homes with foundations issued. The sellers will not even acknowledge there is a foundation issue and want way higher than homes without a problem.

Regular Contributor
Arcadia
Posts: 58
Registered: ‎05-31-2012
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Re: Stay completely away from slab-on-grade foundation home?

If you are seriously considering buying it I'd invest in a structural enginneer's services for short consultation. Most people here have not seen the situation and wouldn't be qualified to answer even if we did see it.
Platinum Trusted Contributor
elt1
Posts: 5,030
Registered: ‎01-04-2010
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Re: Stay completely away from slab-on-grade foundation home?

Is the house level? That is the main concern...A hairline crack in the bath room is not a concern...where is the property, what is the soil underneath, is there cut and fill.   Send me a private message if you want an engineers report...

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BritishMom
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎10-19-2011
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Re: Stay completely away from slab-on-grade foundation home?

Just to be sure, the 1" crack is in the garage NOT in the house. Does n't the garage have a separate foundation compared to the main house?

 

I certainly don't mind spending $600 for the inspection. But given the negativity on this forum towards slab foundation homes, I am not sure if it's even worth it.

 

Thanks for all the replies.

Platinum Trusted Contributor
elt1
Posts: 5,030
Registered: ‎01-04-2010

Re: Stay completely away from slab-on-grade foundation home?

The garage is separate ..the large crack indicates expansive soil...Drainage is an issue...

Silver Regular Contributor
sfsfr
Posts: 693
Registered: ‎04-15-2012
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Re: Stay completely away from slab-on-grade foundation home?

You should also determine what shape the plumbing is in. A 60 year old house may have steel pipes that need to be replaced. That could be very costly in a house on a slab foundation.
Silver Regular Contributor
sfsfr
Posts: 693
Registered: ‎04-15-2012
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Re: Stay completely away from slab-on-grade foundation home?

By the way, is this house an Eichler? I didn't think slab foundations were very common 60 years ago.
Super Contributor
PoorOwner
Posts: 215
Registered: ‎10-08-2012
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Re: Stay completely away from slab-on-grade foundation home?

My local plumber had been rerouting the water pipes up to the ceiling and abandoning the pipes in the ground,  no need to jack hammer or destroy the flooring.   

 

like emergency funds saved for a roof, one should also have funds saved for foundation related plumbing issue (if you are on a slab)

 

By the way the homes I have looked at built 1990-2000s, almost all have slab foundation..?

much more common..

 

Also, when tiles are installed on concrete directly almost always crack as a hairline crack appears in a foundation it is transfered to the tile and grout.   The proper underlayment has tiny hairs on the bottom isolate the tile bed from the concrete or plywood underneath.