Hmm Just Saw This- Am I asking For Trouble?

image of cracks found on the sidewall of a BISF house

Hey, So I popped around to the BISF house I have an offer accepted on, to show a friend who’s really keen to get stuck into the garden for me.

Anyway on showing him around I noticed something I didn’t the first- the cracks on the adjoining edge to the outhouse. Now I’m assuming this is mostly down to age some slight movement on the property over time, but on reviewing the only picture I took I noticed there was a crack on the render on the corner of the house where it joins the outhouse

Now I will point out I’ve ordered a buildings/structural survey which is taking place on Monday but given this survey is likely to be non intrusive, I wonder if there actualy anything like potential entry of water around the frame…

So what do you think?
Should this concern me or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

Thanks

Responses

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  1. Hello Grangey
    From what I van see in the image that you posted, I would not be over concerned. The rendered wall to the right is render on a single brick wall and as such does not expand and contract. The render on the actual house is render on steel lathe which does allow for a degree of expansion by design. The cracks are pretty typical of many BISF houses where the solid joins the flexible and cracks often appear at this point due to the movement that occurs from the main body of the house.
    It does look as though this has been exasperated by rainwater which has caused corrosion to the base of the steel above. The water will fall into these cracks and freeze in winter causing increased cracking.
    You should check for a blocked gutter above or even poorly fitted or blocked drainpipes.

    I hope this helps 🙂

    Marc

  2. Hi Marc

    Thanks for your feedback that’s abit more comforting to know, as I’m sure you can imagine as a first time buyer I’m being quite cautious and as you hear all the risks of rust forming on the steel frame I want to make sure that isn’t an issue here.

    You’re right the steel cladding is in a bad state all around, it was clearly treated with paint which wasn’t tested and at least 80% of the pait is cracked and peeling. There are also signs of rust on this on each corner both upper and lower and I believe the bottom lips (which you can just make out in the picture). I hope to get this remedied but I’m not sure how easily or expensive it may be.

    Going back to the cracks- it’s water penetration that I’m worried about perticularly to the steel frame- as soon as I get in I will check for blockages etc but is there anything I can do to this area to prevent any further cracking during the cold period? I do eventually intend on having it rerendered but as I have the entire house to renovate this is pretty far down the to do list as you can imagine.

    I appreciate any further feedback you can give 🙂

    Many thanks
    Grangey

  3. Hi Grangey 🙂
    It will be almost impossible to tell if water has entered the actual building and damaged the corner stanchion unless you have a visual inspection carried out by endoscope or by an invasive inspection. The endoscope causes less damage as a small camera is inserted through a small drilled hole. The other option is invasive where part of the inner or out wall is removed. I would suggest inner if it comes to that level of inspection. You can buy your own endoscope for around £60- £80.00 but it can still be tricky to find the stanchion.

    I must say though that I have had the exact same issue of two of my BISF properties and neither suffered any stanchion corrosion but obviously every case is different.

    As for a temporary repair you could apply a new layer of cement render into the corner where the crack is. You would need to remove the flaking bits first and wire brush off any loose material. I would add a little plasticiser to the mix to aid flexibility and when dry, paint over with exterior masonry paint. You should also ensure that the bond at the top of the wall by the coping stone at the point it joins the house is also filled and watertight.
    During construction though, the house was erected and rendered first and the out house wall erected second, so you may well find that the crack has no bearing on the stanchion. Water will seep into the crack yes but that does not mean it has entered the house as there is still a full layer of wall render to get through.

    Here’s an early construction gif I have put together to show you the construction phases of the out-house.

  4. Hi Marc

    Wow what an interesting gif! I thought the outhouse was constructed purely of breeze block and then rendered over, I had no idea it could have a wood frame?! My outbuilding is rendered the entire way around so it seems unlikely there is wood underneath but I guess I won’t find out until I’m in the place!

    Thank you for your reassurance it has certainly helped put my mind at ease with the cracks. Il be going on Monday so will take a load of pictures while I’m there and will do doubt have a load more questions to ask as a result! 🙂

    Thanks again for all your detailed input!

    Grangey