I have a 2 story garage with the rear being cinder/concrete block walls.

I just noticed this crack. Havnt lived here that long so not sure how long its been there

Is this something to be concerned about?

enter image description here

  • 4
    Notice its one crack that spans multiple blocks. I'd bet that column is not filled with concrete. – Criggie Aug 10 '20 at 3:48
  • I apologize for ignorance on this, structure is not my specialty. Can u elaborate? Severity? – Sjpson Aug 10 '20 at 11:56
  • Can you see if they are continuous to the inside? – StayOnTarget Aug 10 '20 at 12:08
  • It does not look like it, but I don't know for sure – Sjpson Aug 10 '20 at 12:24

Yes, you should be concerned. Cracking like this is caused by movement (the structure has moved, such as settled) and this type of cracking is unusual. This needs to be reviewed in person by a structural engineer who can look at the particulars of your situation. This is not something that you can get a good answer for here on this or other sites.

FWIW, I'm a structural engineer. I'd be interested in what they have to say about it

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    As a structural engineer, what do you make of the apparent fact that the crack neither extends downwards or upwards through additional courses of block? – J D Aug 10 '20 at 14:33
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    That is an interesting observation. I wonder if a vehicle in the garage drove into the wall and caused the cracks? – Steve Wellens Aug 10 '20 at 14:41
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    This is a comment not really an answer. – DMoore Aug 10 '20 at 15:06
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    @Ack I understand it's a localized stress manifesting in the CMUs, but I was wondering as an engineer, if there were common causes. For instance, let's say the footing was poured w/o rebar and the whole foundation was cracked, and that ran up vertically, then it's an obvious cause. I thought it might be common if rebar between courses was omitted, or the joists were anchored in the walls, let's say the cell was filled w/o vertical rebar. My thought might be compression from the roofing transfering down the corner given a lack of reinforcement. – J D Aug 10 '20 at 18:16
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    @JD not common to the point that I myself will be interested in the answer. I have educated guesses based on my knowledge and experience but I would need to be onsite to tweak out the particulars. More directly to your questions: this crack is likely more related to a horizontal force than a vertical one. If it's related to the foundation, then I would expect the issue to be located more at the far corner which cases the wood wall to rotate and want to pull away. It's possible that the CMU is reinforced and the anchor only placed in the face, though unlikely to cause multicourse cracking – Ack Aug 10 '20 at 20:59

Being a corner and a mid block crack I would say yes there is an issue here. It could be the attached building footing sinking but mid block cracks are really bad I have only seen them in walls that were not properly filled, or some that were not filled at all. But a mid block fracture over this many layers or courses needs a engineering review and proactive repair before major structural failure.

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    @Sjpson droughts won't cause cracking directly, but dry weather could cause ground shrinkage/sinkage. If part of your building moves and the other part doesn't, something's going to give. – Criggie Aug 10 '20 at 3:46
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    As far as I am aware it is original to the property, so 70s would be original build. Have not built onto it at all – Sjpson Aug 10 '20 at 11:54
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    This could very well not be a foundation/settlement issue. The force that is causing the cracking is perpendicular to the block and right where the roof is attached. Wood moves a lot more than CMU (cinder block) and my guess is that the issue is lack of accounting for differential movement at the connection. Get a local structural engineer to look at it please – Ack Aug 10 '20 at 17:39
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    Yes it could be stress from that structure but my guess the block is not filled or reenforced so any settling from water table changes could be the root issue. – Ed Beal Aug 10 '20 at 19:40
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    40 years of construction experience block just don’t start breaking unless improper footings or a wall that is not reenforced and I was following up on a comment the op made I would expect an engineer to weigh all the facts and variables. – Ed Beal Aug 10 '20 at 21:20

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