Crack on outside wall


G

Gloxx1961

Hi hope someone can tell me if I am doing the right thing. Last
year my brother noticed a crack on my side wall it was only 3ft in
length it just looked like the mortar was crumbling he told me to keep
an eye on it. I looked at it again earlier this year (Feb) and I was
shocked to find the crack its now over 10ft high and has gone through
two small half bricks into the upstairs part of the wall, the initial
crack hasn't gone through the damp proof course just gone upwards
mostly following the mortar except fot the two half bricks. I have
informed insurance company in Febuary but only got a final reply that
this crack was due to earthquake movement that happend in 2001/2002 and
that I wasn't insured with them at the time and to take it up with
insuer that I was. In the mean time the mortar has started to fall out
and I am worried that I will be piggy in the middle the bad weather has
started and I know the crack will get worse by the time winter has
ended. What I have done and probably will have to re-do-it is I have
got Duck tape waterproof and some bin bags and went up some ladders and
sealed the crack under bags so keep the water and frost out hopefully,
I just want to know am I doing the right thing or will I make it worse
please help
Thank You
 
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M

MikeH

Gloxx1961 wrote:
[snip]
..... I have informed insurance company in Febuary but only got a final
reply that
this crack was due to earthquake movement that happend in 2001/2002 and
that I wasn't insured with them at the time and to take it up with
insuer that I was
....[snip]

How the hell do they know that? Can they prove it?

If you have a crack that's growing you should get a structural engineer
to give you an opinion as to the cause.

Mike
 
N

noelogara

Gloxx1961 said:
Hi hope someone can tell me if I am doing the right thing. Last
year my brother noticed a crack on my side wall it was only 3ft in
length it just looked like the mortar was crumbling he told me to keep
an eye on it. I looked at it again earlier this year (Feb) and I was
shocked to find the crack its now over 10ft high and has gone through
two small half bricks into the upstairs part of the wall, the initial
crack hasn't gone through the damp proof course just gone upwards
mostly following the mortar except fot the two half bricks. I have
informed insurance company in Febuary but only got a final reply that
this crack was due to earthquake movement that happend in 2001/2002 and
that I wasn't insured with them at the time and to take it up with
insuer that I was. In the mean time the mortar has started to fall out
and I am worried that I will be piggy in the middle the bad weather has
started and I know the crack will get worse by the time winter has
ended. What I have done and probably will have to re-do-it is I have
got Duck tape waterproof and some bin bags and went up some ladders and
sealed the crack under bags so keep the water and frost out hopefully,
I just want to know am I doing the right thing or will I make it worse
please help
Thank You
Many walls crack for many different reasons. I would use a silicone
dispenser and fill it with silicone or tar to keep the rain out and
just hope it doesnt get worse. It may not get worse.
It would be interesting to see a picture of the full wall and the full
house to evaluate the structure. Do you have a fireplace behind the
crack by any chance? One big fire could cause it or a chimney fire.
If your walls are all plumb all round you shouldnt worry too much.
 
D

dom

You need to get an experienced person to determine the most likely
cause of the crack. From that you will know whether it is an insurance
issue, or due to some other parties actions - or if it's down to you.

Are we talking about a crack you can fit your hand in? Or just a coin
on edge? Is your house a new build? Is it on flat ground? Are there
neighbouring properties having similar problems? Are there trees too
close to your house? Could there be a leaking drain underground?

There's a lot of possible causes, many of which aren't likely to be
covered by insurance.
 
T

The3rd Earl Of Derby

Gloxx1961 said:
Hi hope someone can tell me if I am doing the right thing. Last
year my brother noticed a crack on my side wall it was only 3ft in
length it just looked like the mortar was crumbling he told me to keep
an eye on it. I looked at it again earlier this year (Feb) and I was
shocked to find the crack its now over 10ft high and has gone through
two small half bricks into the upstairs part of the wall, the initial
crack hasn't gone through the damp proof course just gone upwards
mostly following the mortar except fot the two half bricks. I have
informed insurance company in Febuary but only got a final reply that
this crack was due to earthquake movement that happend in 2001/2002
and that I wasn't insured with them at the time and to take it up with
insuer that I was. In the mean time the mortar has started to fall
out and I am worried that I will be piggy in the middle the bad
weather has started and I know the crack will get worse by the time
winter has ended. What I have done and probably will have to
re-do-it is I have got Duck tape waterproof and some bin bags and
went up some ladders and sealed the crack under bags so keep the
water and frost out hopefully, I just want to know am I doing the
right thing or will I make it worse please help
Thank You
This should also be apparent inside also, is there one inside? if so you
need a surveyor.

Cracks will run further and further untill it cant go anywhere else ie a
crack in a pane of glass will continue to course through the pane till it
reaches the other side of the frame,the only way to stop that crack is to
drill a hole in the pane of glass at the immediate end of the crack.
 
P

Phil Anthropist

Gloxx1961 said:
Hi hope someone can tell me if I am doing the right thing. Last
year my brother noticed a crack on my side wall it was only 3ft in
length it just looked like the mortar was crumbling he told me to keep
an eye on it. I looked at it again earlier this year (Feb) and I was
shocked to find the crack its now over 10ft high and has gone through
two small half bricks into the upstairs part of the wall, the initial
crack hasn't gone through the damp proof course just gone upwards
mostly following the mortar except fot the two half bricks. I have
informed insurance company in Febuary but only got a final reply that
this crack was due to earthquake movement that happend in 2001/2002 and
that I wasn't insured with them at the time and to take it up with
insuer that I was. In the mean time the mortar has started to fall out
and I am worried that I will be piggy in the middle the bad weather has
started and I know the crack will get worse by the time winter has
ended. What I have done and probably will have to re-do-it is I have
got Duck tape waterproof and some bin bags and went up some ladders and
sealed the crack under bags so keep the water and frost out hopefully,
I just want to know am I doing the right thing or will I make it worse
please help
Thank You
Duck tape and bin bags will not make anything worse. Regarding taking this
up with the insurer that you were with in 2001/2002, that sounds like
rubbish to me. The crack appeared this year. Ask your insurance company to
indicate where in your policy it says that you are not covered for a crack
appearing in a wall during your current policy. How can you submit a claim
to a previous insurer on a policy that is no longer in force? You need to
put in a complaint to your insurance company and if you don't get anywhere
go to http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/ Also, uk.legal is a worth a
try.

You need professional advice for what sounds like heave or subsidence. Your
insurance company should arrange this, otherwise you will have to pay a
surveyor or structural engineer yourself:
http://www.localsurveyorsdirect.co.uk/
 
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G

Gloxx1961

MikeH said:
Gloxx1961 wrote:
[snip]
.... I have informed insurance company in Febuary but only got a final
reply that
this crack was due to earthquake movement that happend in 2001/2002 and
that I wasn't insured with them at the time and to take it up with
insuer that I was
...[snip]

How the hell do they know that? Can they prove it?

If you have a crack that's growing you should get a structural engineer
to give you an opinion as to the cause.

Mike
Thanks for your comments that is the problem I am going to have!!
Insurance company sent out loss adjuster who then inturn sent out a
structural engineer but he doesn't really know why it happened and has
only mention it May have been caused by this earthquake. He completely
ruled out subsidance which I was really worried about.
 
G

Gloxx1961

Many walls crack for many different reasons. I would use a silicone
dispenser and fill it with silicone or tar to keep the rain out and
just hope it doesnt get worse. It may not get worse.
It would be interesting to see a picture of the full wall and the full
house to evaluate the structure. Do you have a fireplace behind the
crack by any chance? One big fire could cause it or a chimney fire.
If your walls are all plumb all round you shouldnt worry too much.
Thank you for your comments. I do not have chimney brest or fire on
this wall infact there is nothing inside that could have caused this.
 
G

Gloxx1961

You need to get an experienced person to determine the most likely
cause of the crack. From that you will know whether it is an insurance
issue, or due to some other parties actions - or if it's down to you.

Are we talking about a crack you can fit your hand in? Or just a coin
on edge? Is your house a new build? Is it on flat ground? Are there
neighbouring properties having similar problems? Are there trees too
close to your house? Could there be a leaking drain underground?

There's a lot of possible causes, many of which aren't likely to be
covered by insurance.
Thank you for your comments

well insurance company did send out Loss Adjusters and they inturn
sent out structural engineer who actually said it May have been caused
by this earthquake he's not sure why I should have a vertical crack in
wall, house built in the late 40's earlly 50s
no trees not asked neighbours but we are on clay soil. the crack in
some part where the mortar has fallen out you can get two fingers in
the crack. I mean I know what needs to be done but I have to wait for
insurances to see who might pay for it.
 
G

Gloxx1961

The3rd said:
This should also be apparent inside also, is there one inside? if so you
need a surveyor.

Cracks will run further and further untill it cant go anywhere else ie a
crack in a pane of glass will continue to course through the pane till it
reaches the other side of the frame,the only way to stop that crack is to
drill a hole in the pane of glass at the immediate end of the crack.

Thank you for your comments

I do not have any cracks inside where the crack is on the outside.
I know what needs to be done but just having to wait to see if insurers
will pay out my insurer seems to have passed it on to the previous
insurer I have been intouch with them but they just might say its over
five years your not insured with us tough!!!
 
G

Gloxx1961

Phil said:
Duck tape and bin bags will not make anything worse. Regarding taking this
up with the insurer that you were with in 2001/2002, that sounds like
rubbish to me. The crack appeared this year. Ask your insurance company to
indicate where in your policy it says that you are not covered for a crack
appearing in a wall during your current policy. How can you submit a claim
to a previous insurer on a policy that is no longer in force? You need to
put in a complaint to your insurance company and if you don't get anywhere
go to http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/ Also, uk.legal is a worth a
try.

You need professional advice for what sounds like heave or subsidence. Your
insurance company should arrange this, otherwise you will have to pay a
surveyor or structural engineer yourself:
http://www.localsurveyorsdirect.co.uk/
Thank you for your comments

I am glad you mentioned about the bin bags and duck tape and
yes like you I am thinking on those same lines, why do we pay insurance
otherwise!!! and thanks for the legal stuff. The structual engineer
who came out through the Loss Adjusters has ruled out subsidence which
is what I was worried about.
 
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D

dom

It sounds unusual for a house of that age to suddenly develop cracks.
New enough to have substantial foundations, old enough to have done any
settling.

Most importantly, has the movment stopped? Are you/the engineer
accurately monitoring the width of the crack from month to month? Did
the engineer suggest the likelihood of further movement?

You may need to pay for the services of a local engineer with
particular expertise in this sort of thing, rather than the insurance
company's.
 
T

The3rd Earl Of Derby

Gloxx1961 said:
Thanks for your comments that is the problem I am going to have!!
Insurance company sent out loss adjuster who then inturn sent out a
structural engineer but he doesn't really know why it happened and has
only mention it May have been caused by this earthquake. He
completely ruled out subsidance which I was really worried about.
:) Earthquake? GB doesn't get earthquakes, its too cold a climate.

You mean minor earth tremors.
 
P

Phil Anthropist

Gloxx1961 said:
Thank you for your comments

I am glad you mentioned about the bin bags and duck tape and
yes like you I am thinking on those same lines, why do we pay insurance
otherwise!!! and thanks for the legal stuff. The structual engineer
who came out through the Loss Adjusters has ruled out subsidence which
is what I was worried about.
I would be suspicious about a report from an insurance-paid structural
engineer as they are not independent. As for loss adjustors, their job is to
minimise pay-outs and to always decide in favour of the company and not the
customer. If they can they will take you to the cleaners.
 
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P

Phil Anthropist

The3rd Earl Of Derby said:
That was not an earthquake,an earthquake is a full blown destructive
occurence whereby it Bings down buildings,cause the earth to open up,tidal
floods.

Like I said earth tremor,nothing more.
Complete rubbish.
 
T

The3rd Earl Of Derby

Phil said:
Complete rubbish.
Its not rubbish,small or huge felt tremors usally precede an earth quake ie
a warning sign if you like.
We didn't have an earthquake so therefor it was a tremor.
 
G

gort

Thanks for your comments that is the problem I am going to have!!
Insurance company sent out loss adjuster who then inturn sent out a
structural engineer but he doesn't really know why it happened and has
only mention it May have been caused by this earthquake. He completely
ruled out subsidance which I was really worried about.
I think you need an independant LOSS ASSESOR as well. Adjusters work for
the insurance company to keep their payouts to a minimum. Loss Assesors
work for you, for a fee I think, and try to get you as much as possible.
Ask Citizens advice if they keep a list.

HTH

Dave
 
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N

noelogara

Gloxx1961 said:
I do not have any cracks inside where the crack is on the outside.
I know what needs to be done but just having to wait to see if insurers
will pay out my insurer seems to have passed it on to the previous
insurer I have been intouch with them but they just might say its over
five years your not insured with us tough!!!
I cant see what the insurance company can do about a crack in a wall
anyway. If the crack widens to the extent that the house needs a new
wall that is a different matter and there would be serious costs in
that. But a crack in a wall is very common and not to be alarmed about
unless it is progressive and threatening to fall apart.
Again as I said you should look at the alignment of the walls and see
if there is any movement there or any other crack in the joining walls
that you didnt notice before.
It may just be bad building work in that wall that caused the crack. It
doesnt appear on the inside wall so thats good news.
That crack may have been in the wall for many years but the outside
mortar may have recently come away to reveal it.
No need to pay an engineer to tell you something so obvious when you
have all the free advice you need here.
get us a few pics of it and we can advise for free. for now you should
fill it anyway as I already advised and monitor it for any development.

Remember that there are cracks in most houses and sometimes even new
houses.
 

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