I'm considering buying a house which is about 5 years old. For the most part everything seems to be in good condition.

The two exceptions seem to be the poured concrete garage floor, which has a few massive cracks, and a storage room below the garage with smaller cracks on the walls. The house is on a slope so the garage is supported at the ground level on the one side and then extends across and over the storage room on the other side.

The cracks in the garage floor are about 1cm in width at their widest parts: Garage Floor Crack

The storage room wall cracks are much smaller, maybe 3mm: Storage Room Wall Crack

The owners claim that an engineer inspected the cracks soon after the house was built (as they were already present), and found that they were caused by the settling of the house. I have asked for the formal report, but would like your opinion as well.

Do these cracks look benign? The garage floor cracks are especially worrisome.

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    That's not something any of us can say with any certainty. The critical piece is in the footings and soil. Even if you had provided photos of those, they're not enough. If you don't trust the first engineer's report, hire a second one. Any assurance you get from some folks online looking through a pinhole is nothing but false confidence. – isherwood Feb 15 '17 at 17:15
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it needs on-site trained eyeballs to answer. – ThreePhaseEel Feb 15 '17 at 23:01
  • Requesting this question to be migrated to the appropriate forum. – MisterGeeky Jan 26 '19 at 8:18

DO NOT ignore this issue. The rule of thumb is that if you can get your finger in a crack, it's a problem. You're saying 1cm wide, which is in the problem zone, IMO.

The cracks might stem from a bad concrete pour. In which case the cracks may have been there since just a few days or weeks after the pour. That certainly possible, and an engineer can tell you if it is.

It's also possible that something is seriously amiss. If so, and you buy the house, then you will be looking for someone to sue when the problem reveals itself more fully. Make sure you have an engineer's report in your pocket when that happens.

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  • Thanks, I'll definitely wait for the report. If the report comes back as "everything is okay, just shifting/settling," does that sound reasonable, or should I then look for a second opinion? – Zecrates Feb 15 '17 at 18:24
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    Personally, I would hire my own person to check it out. – Jeff Cates Feb 15 '17 at 18:32

I had a building with a similar issue. We hired an engineer who placed devices on the building to monitor any movement and it was determined that the building had stopped settling and we were then able to made repairs. Sorry I don't recall how long they monitored the building for but it was somewhere around 1 - 3 months and it was not very expensive.

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