Message Boards

Guidelines
  • 1) Before posting a message, please be sure you are in the appropriate category.
  • 2) No advertising is allowed on HGTVPro's Message Boards.
  • 3) Off-topic and off-color postings will be deleted at our discretion.
  • 4) Please be nice. No name calling, personal attacks or flaming.
  • 5) Posts containing certain words will trigger moderation of the post, whether words are contained in the post or in the signature line. These words mostly cover political and religious topics, which are TOTALLY off the topic covered by HGTVPro.
    boards.hgtvremodels.com    HGTVRemodels Message Boards  Hop To Forum Categories  Best Practices  Hop To Forums  Foundation    basement heaved
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
basement heaved
 Login/Join 
posted
Hi,
I really need some strong solid advice. My house is about 1.5 years old and our basement has heaved. We took possession of the house on May 12, 2006 and the basement floor started to crack in August. Also the wall on the foyer that runs along the stairs leading to the basement started to crack. We contacted the bulider and they told us to wait till the one year mark is up. Our sump pump runs fine. We were told to unplug during the winter ( We live in Winnipeg, temperatures average -27 celcius) so the chances of the pump running in the winter is very minimal. Anyways they came to look at it when our one year was up. So during the course of the time, in the fall, the cracks on that same wall grew,and the ceiling cracked. We live in a cabover bilevel. So when they finally came out, they noticed that the supporting beam in the basement (under that wall that i cracking) was not levelled. They tried to adjust the telepost and did various things to the beam to try to bring it down. When all else failed they had to remove the basement floor. Under the gravel, they found some water near the perimeter of the house and the soil to be very saturated. They installed an inner weeping tile system (we already have perimter weeping tiles). They also replaced the sump pit with a Saper pit (a perforated pit). When I tld them that I unplug the sump pump in the winter (as directed during our possession walk through) the service rep. was not impressed. However they still worked on the floor for another 4-5 days. Then a week later, they sent us a letter saying that the excessive saturation in the soil was our fault because we unplugged the sump pump in the winter so they are not going to fix the drywall and we have lost the warranty on our basement floor. Question is, if a sump pump fails or is unplugged, don't you just get a flooded basement? I don't understand why the water in the weeping tile will get pushed under the concrete slab and cause the salb to heave. If there was a lot of water, wouldn't the pit just overflow and I would have a flooded basement. Please advise as I may to take action. Please remember that the sump pump was unplugged in the winter when the ground was frizen and the cracking started prior to the onset of winter. Thanks.
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: 18 December 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Your home should be under a warranty. Rather then attempt to figure out how and what its doing you need to contact your lawyer you used at closing to see what kind of warranty you have and how to proceed. Do not wait until the one year is up. If your getting this much movement in such a short time it needs to be addressed right away.
Be very carefull when talking to the builder, Although he may say he as good intentions. Any repairs he makes goes against his bottom line.
He may attempt to get you to sign a binding arbatration letter preventing you from suing him if the issue becomes worse. Talk to your attorny first.
 
Posts: 1933 | Location: New Jersey | Registered: 31 January 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
I agree with HCC, talk to an attorney. I think the builder is just trying to get out of the repair bill. In my opinion, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. You did absolutely nothing wrong based on what you said here. I'm willing to bet that once the builder hears the word "lawyer", then he'll have a sudden change of heart. As far as unplugging the sump pit, it is irresponsible NOT to unplug it during the winter months if there is no water present in the sump pit.

By the way, you are right - if there is water in the drain tile, then you will see water in the sump pit (if it's built correctly).


General Contractor/Home Builder
 
Posts: 498 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: 15 January 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Thanks for the advice, I have called a lawyer today and am waiting for his call. Our one year has already passed before they actually came to look at the cracks. I also called National Home Warranty and they are backing up the builder about the sump pump having to run 24 hours, 365 days a year. But they don't have the knowledge about what has happened during the year, I only asked them their view on the sump pump. By the way, I forgot to mention that our house is on piles which goes 20 feet below the ground.
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: 18 December 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Do not discuss anything with the National Home Warranty people. They only have an interst like the builder in saving money. They will almost every time side with them. Stick with the lawyer and follow his or her advice. Be sure that they have construction litigation experiance. If not have them refer you to someone who does.
 
Posts: 1933 | Location: New Jersey | Registered: 31 January 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Xelix:
By the way, I forgot to mention that our house is on piles which goes 20 feet below the ground.


Well now this may change things. Usually the most common reason to build a house on piles is because of water satuating the ground causing the bearing strength of the soil to be insufficient to bear a house using a traditional foundation. I've been there and had a do it twice now. The builder could argue that you were aware of these conditions and still turned off the sump pump.

I still think that the builder is responsible here, but now it may turn into a he said/she said situation. If nothing is in writing, it's a matter of getting them to admit that they told you to turn off the pump. I have one question though, was the sump pump discharge pipe designed for winter use? (Not sitting on top of ground, but below frost line into a french drain type of system).


General Contractor/Home Builder
 
Posts: 498 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: 15 January 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Even more to the point, if it was necessary to place the house on piles, it demonstrates that the soils were incapable of supporting even the relatively light loads of a typical house. Therefore, the basement floor slab might have been required to be a structural slab spanning between grade beams, which in turn span between pile caps, and a slab-on-ground, assuming that's what you have, perhaps should not have been attempted.

Further knowledge of the soil types existing beneath the heaved floor would be required to evaluate this, and also the expertise to properly evaluate same, neither of which I possess.


Architect (NY) and Home Designer (PA)
 
Posts: 2870 | Location: Tobyhanna, PA | Registered: 24 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

    boards.hgtvremodels.com    HGTVRemodels Message Boards  Hop To Forum Categories  Best Practices  Hop To Forums  Foundation    basement heaved