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Posted: 1/29/2011 2:49:37 PM EDT
I've been in my house for almost 2 years now, and this is my second winter here. My front door (it looks like it is wood with metal lamination on either side) and storm door are having issues this winter. From the pictures below (sorry for crappy phone pics) Im looking at the door inside and it opens inward on the right. The storm door is on the other side obviously, and it opens to the outside and on the left hand side if looking from inside as the pictures show. The main door has had issues where it seems to stick with extreme humidity or a lot of rain, but it's always closed and I've always been able to get it open. When the swelling goes away it would catch a little, but not too bad.

The other day the door would not open. It was pulled and pulled until finally it opened up, but it started to pull the metal off of the wood at the top corner, and left a sizable gouge in the wood door jamb. It appears as if the door is too high on the right side. Almost the opposite of if the hinge was loose. Like the entire right side of the door is being pushed up, or the frame down. So much so that sanding or planing will not fix this. It catches on top, the corner and the top of the right side. The latch still works, but you can see that it is going in at a higher spot than it used to. The storm door closes, but there is a noticeable gap at the top left corner (opposite of where the inside door is catching/too high) almost as if the storm door is too low on the left or perhaps too high on the right where the inside door is also too high. I hope that makes sense. The door is working, but it never had that gap. In the summer I put a screen in it and leave it open, but would never do that with such a gap. Looking at the latch on the storm door I can see where the rub marks are from years of use and comparing them to where the latch is catching now it is lower than it should be.

It has been really cold here for a while, but it was warmer today and nothing was fixed. This issue popped up about a week ago, so the temperature change isn't to blame. On another note, this winter (earlier in the winter) a crack formed on the inside wall coming from the top right corner of the door frame, extending horizontally and then turning up to the ceiling. The only thing that has changed from last winter to this winter in this part of the house is that over the summer I had the concrete stoop outside of the front door replaced. Anyone have any thoughts as to what is going on here? I have a lot of theories but can't tell what's what. I thought it might be the stoop being lower, maybe there isn't support for the wall and something shifted/sunk. I thought maybe the concrete heaved in the temperature change or pushed against the wall and messed up the wall/door frame, but I also had cultured stone put outside around the door frame and none of that has cracked or moved. I thought maybe it's just the same old issues with sticking due to humidity/temperature changes/moisture and the constant yanking on the door stressed that corner and caused the crack, but I don't get why the door would still be catching so bad or why the storm door is having issues on the other side. Am I going to have to rip out the door and frame and start over?

Here are some pictures of the crack and the top right corner of the inside door for reference. I couldnt get anything decent of the storm door at night with my phone.




Link Posted: 1/29/2011 4:43:11 PM EDT
When the old stoop was taken out, was there any rotted wood behind it ? Any signs of insect damage when the old one came out ? Is there any way water could have gotten to the sill plate or rim joist, between the stoop and the house ? If the new stoop is lower, then they probably had to put in a new toe kick under the door. Was it properly flashed so water could not enter ? There are a lot of things that could cause that much settlement in the frame of the door. Do you have access to the underside of the door area through a basement or crawlspace ? If so, get under there and look around you may see evidence of compression of the framing in that area.
Link Posted: 1/29/2011 7:28:51 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 19suburban96:
When the old stoop was taken out, was there any rotted wood behind it ? Any signs of insect damage when the old one came out ? Is there any way water could have gotten to the sill plate or rim joist, between the stoop and the house ? If the new stoop is lower, then they probably had to put in a new toe kick under the door. Was it properly flashed so water could not enter ? There are a lot of things that could cause that much settlement in the frame of the door. Do you have access to the underside of the door area through a basement or crawlspace ? If so, get under there and look around you may see evidence of compression of the framing in that area.


I am just not sure. Is that what you think happened, settling? I guess I can't ask what the solution would be if the exact situation isn't known. I am going to bring the contractor out this spring for a multitude of reasons, and now this.
Link Posted: 1/29/2011 8:37:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/29/2011 8:44:45 PM EDT by Arms_Reach]
19suburban96 is starting in the right area with his questions.

I'd like to know what you can see from the ground up (basement? crawl space?)

How old is your house? What is the foundation made up of?

You had the front stoop/steps (elaborate/pics?) replaced, I assume it was out of level. Was it tied into the foundation (is it now?)? Was it due to erosion?


The first thing to eliminate is weather the foundation has been compromised. If we determine that is not the problem, we move up.

ETA: The thing that leads me away from just thinking that it's just an improperly hung door is the crack in the drywall/plaster(?), and that it is becoming progressively worse.
Link Posted: 1/29/2011 9:28:53 PM EDT
I should point out there is a fine crack (looks like just paint, but could be more) that is vertical from the top of the door up to the ceiling. It is about 2/3 of the way to the left side of the door. The crack pictured appears to be horizontal from the corner of the door, and where it turns up to the ceiling seems to be where another wall meets at a 90 degree angle with the pictured wall (on the other side). To the right of the vertical part of the crack the wall is shared with an interior wall for another room. To the left of it (towards and including the door, and to the left of it until the wall ends) the wall is an exterior wall.

The foundation is block./brick. The house was built in 1941. The floor near the door and around the corner in the other room seem fine. There doesn't appear to be any heaving, sinking, warping or anything else. I went in the basement and looked up at this area. There is a metal beam that goes across the house and ends at this wall, resting on the brick. The wood beams from the floor are also resting on the brick. At near the ground level from where the wood rests on the brick and up from there are smaller bricks. Nothing seems out of place, cracked or pushed around.

The old stoop was sloped in towards the inside corner, or towards the joint of the two walls, and would collect water. In really heavy rains a small puddle would form at the bottom of the wall in the basement near there. Some of the sidewalk was cracked, and the steps going down to the street were crooked, so I had it all pulled out and replaced. The old stoop was not tied into the house. It was completely solid with concrete as well. I recall them being amazed at how big and heavy it ended up being. Im fairly certain that the new stoop wasn't tied in either. the joint at the house is sealed, and the stoop slopes out away from the house. I took a level out there and it is still sloped away from the house as it was after being poured. The trim around the door (inside) was still level and plumb.
Link Posted: 1/29/2011 9:44:28 PM EDT
It looks like settling. My parents have a couple of doors in their home with the exact same crack along the drywall. I will fix it for them when they are ready to repaint.
Link Posted: 1/29/2011 10:02:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/29/2011 10:16:38 PM EDT by Arms_Reach]
Walking out of your front door, is there an immediate step down to the concrete stoop?

If so, is the face of that step wood?

I'm wondering about the condition of the rim-joist.




Edit: Side note: You mentioned warm days and cold days...
It isn't really the temperature that causes these materials to swell and contract, it's the moisture level. Warm air holds more water, so given enough time, the wood will absorb that moisture and expand. Conversely, cold air is dryer and can cause "shrinkage". I figure that the warm day/s you had in WI, recently, weren't enough to cause the the door to move to such an extreme.
Link Posted: 1/29/2011 10:32:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/29/2011 10:59:06 PM EDT by Boomstick]
Originally Posted By Arms_Reach:
Walking out of your front door, is there an immediate step down to the concrete stoop?

If so, is the face of that step wood?

I'm wondering about the condition of the rim-joist.


I walk out the front door and step down one step to the top of the stoop. To my right is a wall. Straight ahead the stoop ends and there are bushes. To my left the stoop ends and I can step down one step off of the stoop onto a walking path. Below the door (floor level of the house) to the top of the stoop is cultured stone. When they pulled out the old stoop what was under the door was paper covering wood and the joists the floor of the house sit on. Below that was some small bricks between the joists and ultimately the block foundation. Behind the stoop on the other wall was some more of that paper, but it was much more worn. Above the paper was the old wood siding covered by vinyl siding. I have some pictures from the construction I'll post below.

Is there any test to see if something just settled or if there is more severe damage or lack of support. If it was more sever wouldn't the floor look messed up, or wouldn't it be off level on the threshold or something? Maybe it would move when I would stand or jump on it? Please forgive my ignorance on this.


Full Size

The paper that was behind the siding and some of the stoop.

Full Size


Full Size

ETA:

Here is what it looked like with the old stoop


Here is what it looks like with the new stoop. It's a wider, lower stoop with only 1 step. It's hard to see the stone on the wall and the stoop in this low light.
Link Posted: 1/30/2011 12:03:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2011 12:22:36 AM EDT by Arms_Reach]
Originally Posted By Boomstick:
Originally Posted By Arms_Reach:
Walking out of your front door, is there an immediate step down to the concrete stoop?

If so, is the face of that step wood?

I'm wondering about the condition of the rim-joist.


I walk out the front door and step down one step to the top of the stoop. To my right is a wall. Straight ahead the stoop ends and there are bushes. To my left the stoop ends and I can step down one step off of the stoop onto a walking path. Below the door (floor level of the house) to the top of the stoop is cultured stone. When they pulled out the old stoop what was under the door was paper covering wood and the joists the floor of the house sit on. Below that was some small bricks between the joists and ultimately the block foundation. Behind the stoop on the other wall was some more of that paper, but it was much more worn. Above the paper was the old wood siding covered by vinyl siding. I have some pictures from the construction I'll post below.

Is there any test to see if something just settled or if there is more severe damage or lack of support. If it was more sever wouldn't the floor look messed up, or wouldn't it be off level on the threshold or something? Maybe it would move when I would stand or jump on it? Please forgive my ignorance on this.

http://i53.tinypic.com/hx4xmo.jpg
Full Size

The paper that was behind the siding and some of the stoop.
http://i54.tinypic.com/149022d.jpg
Full Size

http://i51.tinypic.com/2zhdqpu.jpg
Full Size


Awesome, dude. Thanks for the pics.




At this point, my bet is if you take a screwdriver down to the basement and poke the edges of your joists around that inside corner where the water was pooling on the stoop you will find some damage.

My other concern is how the new rock work was tied into the existing siding and the brick-mold. Also, you mentioned "the joint at the house was sealed" referring to the stoop. The siding, in that area, should have a J-channel at the bottom that is sealed to the stoop. In a perfect world (or my job site ) the house would also be flashed behind the siding down to ground level.

ETA: One other question; What kind of floor do you have inside? Is it tile or wood or something else with a relative thickness that could trap water between it and the wall framing??

Is there any test to see if something just settled or if there is more severe damage or lack of support. If it was more sever wouldn't the floor look messed up, or wouldn't it be off level on the threshold or something? Maybe it would move when I would stand or jump on it?


There isn't really a "test", there are just symptoms. In your case there is some settling going on, as evident by the drywall crack. Around the door area, it seems like there isn't any more than 1/4" of movement, judging by the gap around the door and that accompanying crack. It could be worse in other areas, or not. Another cause for structural concern could be that you have had water in the basement. This is a common symptom. Seeing the pictures of your stoop (with reference to its height) and hearing about the pooling issue issue you had in that corner may negate that.

Water issues in the basement do not necessarily mean that you have structural issues. However, a good waterproofing company that handles foundation repair would be best suited and most qualified to diagnose the problem. 70% or more of block foundations foundations will leak during the lifetime of the structure. Obviously, I couldn't give you any definite solutions regarding the structural rigidity of you foundation from the internet, but if you can't figure out what's causing the movement in your wall by yourself, or with the help of your contractor, there are companies that specialize in foundation repair.

As far as "feeling" it in the floor or threshold, it wouldn't surprise me that you can't.

Link Posted: 1/30/2011 12:26:59 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Arms_Reach:
Originally Posted By Boomstick:
Originally Posted By Arms_Reach:
Walking out of your front door, is there an immediate step down to the concrete stoop?

If so, is the face of that step wood?

I'm wondering about the condition of the rim-joist.


I walk out the front door and step down one step to the top of the stoop. To my right is a wall. Straight ahead the stoop ends and there are bushes. To my left the stoop ends and I can step down one step off of the stoop onto a walking path. Below the door (floor level of the house) to the top of the stoop is cultured stone. When they pulled out the old stoop what was under the door was paper covering wood and the joists the floor of the house sit on. Below that was some small bricks between the joists and ultimately the block foundation. Behind the stoop on the other wall was some more of that paper, but it was much more worn. Above the paper was the old wood siding covered by vinyl siding. I have some pictures from the construction I'll post below.

Is there any test to see if something just settled or if there is more severe damage or lack of support. If it was more sever wouldn't the floor look messed up, or wouldn't it be off level on the threshold or something? Maybe it would move when I would stand or jump on it? Please forgive my ignorance on this.

http://i53.tinypic.com/hx4xmo.jpg
Full Size

The paper that was behind the siding and some of the stoop.
http://i54.tinypic.com/149022d.jpg
Full Size

http://i51.tinypic.com/2zhdqpu.jpg
Full Size


Awesome, dude. Thanks for the pics.




At this point, my bet is if you take a screwdriver down to the basement and poke the edges of your joists around that inside corner where the water was pooling you will find some damage.

My other concern is how the new rock work was tied into the existing siding and the brick-mold. Also, you mentioned "the joint at the house was sealed" referring to the stoop. The siding, in that area, should have a J-channel at the bottom that is sealed to the stoop. In a perfect world (or my job site ) the house would also be flashed behind the siding down to ground level.

Is there any test to see if something just settled or if there is more severe damage or lack of support. If it was more sever wouldn't the floor look messed up, or wouldn't it be off level on the threshold or something? Maybe it would move when I would stand or jump on it?


There isn't really a "test", there are just symptoms. In your case there is some settling going on, as evident by the drywall crack. Around the door area, it seems like there isn't any more than 1/4" of movement, judging by the gap around the door and that accompanying crack. It could be worse in other areas, or not. Another cause for structural concern could be that you have had water in the basement. This is a common symptom. Seeing the pictures of your stoop (with reference to its height) and hearing about the pooling issue issue you had in that corner may negate that.

Water issues in the basement do not necessarily mean that you have structural issues. However, a good waterproofing company that handles foundation repair would be best suited and most qualified to diagnose the problem. 70% or more of block foundations foundations will leak during the lifetime of the structure. Obviously, I couldn't give you any definite solutions regarding the structural rigidity of you foundation from the internet, but if you can't figure out what's causing the movement in your wall by yourself, or with the help of your contractor, there are companies that specialize in foundation repair.

As far as "feeling" it in the floor or threshold, it wouldn't surprise me that you can't.


Thanks. I have a feeling the contractor didn't put flashing in behind the siding. They did a poor job in a lot of areas and I deeply regret using them. It does not look like they used a j channel either. Rather they put down a caulk type seal between the siding and the stoop. It's on the list for things they need to address. I don't follow the question about the new rock work. Do you mean the cultured stone? They put a black paper over the existing wall, then a wire mesh, then stuck the stone on.

I had water pooling one time 2 summers ago. It was one of the worst rain storms in volume over a short period of time in recent history. A little water pooled there, water backed up out of the floor drain. In that case it appears the rain water draining from the walls into a Palmer valve in the floor drain was coming faster than it could drain out to the sewer. Cleaning out the line out the sewer seems to have helped that. Water also came in through an old fuse/switch box going out under ground to the garage. That was removed and patched inside, and then outside when the concrete work was done. There hasnt been pooling since. However, there are stains in the block at the base of the wall by the stoop, so either it still gets moist or it's from years of water pouring down there. Nothing should be running in that direction anymore, but yeah, who knows how much damage was done.

I took a screwdriver and poked at the joists and they seem fine. The floor boards right up against the brick seem good too. The low corner of the stoop was low enough that I think the water pooling there and then running down behind the stoop would have been below the wood. It probably ran down the block and the dirt and along the wall, possibly in the wall. There was a really bad patch job of various caulks filling the gap of the siding, the stoop and the house. When water would pool at the low corner of the stoop it would sit there for some time, so this must have at least slowed the water down and allowed some to evaporate. I dont think the owners that installed the siding did a very good job either. It is rather poorly thrown on the house, and the bottom panel is sometimes loose with misaligned pieces, etc. It looks great from afar, but when you start inspecting it, not so much.
Link Posted: 1/30/2011 3:35:19 AM EDT
I agree with everything Arms_Reach has told you. Just a few more thoughts to add. There is a lot of load on that inside corner coming down from the valley of your roof. If it was framed in the 40's , you've got a load from both roofs coming down into that corner. Any banging, prying, or demolition work could have loosened things up enough to start some settlement. Also that inside corner trim detail is poorly constructed. Any wind driven rain could have penetrated that area easily. Depending on how long you envision owning that house, I would consult with a professional contractor at the very least, and for long term peace of mind, a structural engineer should be considered too. In my opinion there are too many possibilities to pinpoint the exact cause. Now that everything is closed off it becomes more difficult to fix.
Link Posted: 1/30/2011 1:37:11 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 19suburban96:
I agree with everything Arms_Reach has told you. Just a few more thoughts to add. There is a lot of load on that inside corner coming down from the valley of your roof. If it was framed in the 40's , you've got a load from both roofs coming down into that corner. Any banging, prying, or demolition work could have loosened things up enough to start some settlement. Also that inside corner trim detail is poorly constructed. Any wind driven rain could have penetrated that area easily. Depending on how long you envision owning that house, I would consult with a professional contractor at the very least, and for long term peace of mind, a structural engineer should be considered too. In my opinion there are too many possibilities to pinpoint the exact cause. Now that everything is closed off it becomes more difficult to fix.


There was construction in the fall of 2009 into spring of 2010. They replaced the road and shook the house pretty hard. Some other cracks formed then. I suppose it is possible the weather change pushed something from then far enough to crack, but its hard to say.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 1/31/2011 11:29:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/31/2011 11:31:33 AM EDT by Arms_Reach]
Originally Posted By Boomstick:
Originally Posted By 19suburban96:
I agree with everything Arms_Reach has told you. Just a few more thoughts to add. There is a lot of load on that inside corner coming down from the valley of your roof. If it was framed in the 40's , you've got a load from both roofs coming down into that corner. Any banging, prying, or demolition work could have loosened things up enough to start some settlement. Also that inside corner trim detail is poorly constructed. Any wind driven rain could have penetrated that area easily. Depending on how long you envision owning that house, I would consult with a professional contractor at the very least, and for long term peace of mind, a structural engineer should be considered too. In my opinion there are too many possibilities to pinpoint the exact cause. Now that everything is closed off it becomes more difficult to fix.


There was construction in the fall of 2009 into spring of 2010. They replaced the road and shook the house pretty hard. Some other cracks formed then. I suppose it is possible the weather change pushed something from then far enough to crack, but its hard to say.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


Well..
I have been on jobs where there was dynamite used for excavation near by and a number of surrounding houses had damage to their foundations. There was a class action suit filed by the homeowners' and that company was held responsible for the repairs.

You would have to see how many locals have the same issues and have them get assessments. Afterward you could seek legal representation.

I would doubt that surface excavation, unless it is as close as the driveway, could cause foundation problems. Proving it would be even more problematic.

Has your contractor come by yet?
Link Posted: 1/31/2011 1:05:51 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Arms_Reach:
Originally Posted By Boomstick:
Originally Posted By 19suburban96:
I agree with everything Arms_Reach has told you. Just a few more thoughts to add. There is a lot of load on that inside corner coming down from the valley of your roof. If it was framed in the 40's , you've got a load from both roofs coming down into that corner. Any banging, prying, or demolition work could have loosened things up enough to start some settlement. Also that inside corner trim detail is poorly constructed. Any wind driven rain could have penetrated that area easily. Depending on how long you envision owning that house, I would consult with a professional contractor at the very least, and for long term peace of mind, a structural engineer should be considered too. In my opinion there are too many possibilities to pinpoint the exact cause. Now that everything is closed off it becomes more difficult to fix.


There was construction in the fall of 2009 into spring of 2010. They replaced the road and shook the house pretty hard. Some other cracks formed then. I suppose it is possible the weather change pushed something from then far enough to crack, but its hard to say.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


Well..
I have been on jobs where there was dynamite used for excavation near by and a number of surrounding houses had damage to their foundations. There was a class action suit filed by the homeowners' and that company was held responsible for the repairs.

You would have to see how many locals have the same issues and have them get assessments. Afterward you could seek legal representation.

I would doubt that surface excavation, unless it is as close as the driveway, could cause foundation problems. Proving it would be even more problematic.

Has your contractor come by yet?


It was closer than the driveway, but not as close as the walkway and stoop. They tor out the entire road and replaced it, as well as parts of the sidewalk. This involved them beating the old roadway apart by slamming into it and shaking the house. It was pretty intense, and prolonged because it took a while and they had to go up and down the street. They did the entire length of the street but only 1 side, then came back and did the other side months later and took just as long. After it was all "done" they came back after winter and smashed stuff up again to redo some stuff. Even after the concrete was smashed up there was pounding. It shook bad enough that I was concerned about joints of water & gas pipes, windows, etc. I didn't think of anything not visible, or anything that might be messed up but take time to become visible, or evident with a season change, etc. They also dug up parts of my lawn and put in a new gas line while they were at it. I've filed numerous complaints with the city to see if they had any other issues with the construction company and they simply dont respond. When I finally got someone they said they'd pass the information off to the contractor's insurance company. No word on neighbors other than hearsay that several people have some issues. I think I'll formally/directly ask around.

My contractor still has not responded to me.
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