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while searching for a house to purchase, I found that there are some cracks under the window. Even though they have been fixed by the original owner. However, I am not sure how serious they are. Do these cracks indicate any foundation problem? The house is a condo locating at the second floor of this unit. Thanks.

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These type of cracks that run diagonally from the corners of a window are almost always caused by settling. They are very common and most of the time do not mean a continuing problem unless the cracks are open causing a measurable change in the spacing of the bricks or block. You have to look lower to determine if there is more evidence of settling at the foundation level or at the lentil of another window or door located below the window with the visible crack. Also check the interior for shifting of the window trim, plaster or drywall. Check the level and plum of the window to see if there is any movement. In these pics, I do not see a large movement, but it is too bad the repair was not done with the same color mortar.

  • Some time ago, we lived in an apartment in corner flat where a big crack in the master bedroom used to visible from outside and the owner covered it (I think with white cement :) ) from the inside and we didn't know about the crack until it started raining. There were no windows on that side of that flat or other flats in the entire apartment (it's 20 year old). – Netizen Jul 30 '16 at 11:20
  • I saw such cracks in most houses (both apartments and independent villas and many of them are new) in the Hyderabad city (not particular in one area, but different places within the city) while searching for rent. People say that's because of poor watering during construction and some say it is because of nail hammering. How do I know if they are not harmful and living in such flats/houses is safe if they are plastered and painted? Does it also depend on the nature of land?. – Netizen Jul 30 '16 at 11:20
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    In this case, there are some unanswered questions. Is the brick a veneer? what is the backing material? The main clue here is the location of the crack forming from the corner of an opening. Minor settling happens a lot and doesn't mean a serious structural problem most of the time. – shirlock homes Jul 30 '16 at 11:27
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    All of them are "burnt clay bricks" with cement plastering. It is the common type they use here and I am sure they are not concrete bricks. One of the cracks I saw is scary from the bottom to top and the one I mentioned above is crossed (starting 2 feet from the floor and ended at the top of the ceiling). – Netizen Jul 30 '16 at 12:18
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    If the crack is visible inside and outside, then most certainly settling. Probably movement of the lintel over the window below. How old is the building? Do you folks typically have inspections done before purchasing by a qualified inspector? – shirlock homes Jul 30 '16 at 12:27

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