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Cooperman

I need a structural engineer

12 posts in this topic

I have a counter top and backsplash that separate every winter. As the weather warms this gap in the photo will close. Obviously something in the building is heaving. What is confusing is, you would think that the countertop and backsplash would move with each other. The wall below this approx. 10 feet of concrete block, it is the most exposed portion of the foundation. This year I bought some straw bails and spread them along the ground below this area. It didn't work as you can see. How can the wall move up-ward and the countertop and cabinets not? As you move down the countertop the gap decreases, as the elevation increases.

image.jpg

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Do you have a basement or just a slab? Not one of them there brainy Ingneers but your floor or walls are moving in the cold. You may have a wet spot in the walls or foundation which is freezing.

Edited by leech~~

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I have a full basement. 

Its like the concrete wall and the wall (outside wall) on top of it is moving and the floor joists are not, but that can't happen?

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Sounds like the wood floors below the cabinets could be expanding and contracting with the seasons (changes in humidity). This is fairly common, especially with hardwood flooring. 

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Can you use a level to determine if it is the wall and not the floor that is moving ? Is it possible that it may not be the wall and that it is the floor that is changing ?                                   >

Edited by Cheers
add question

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I'm on the same page as those saying humidity.  

The base cabinets should be anchored to the wall.  If they were the seam wouldn't open up.

 

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pull up a Relative Humidity chart and check it out.  Depending on the temp outside dictates what the RH% should be in your house.  I like to keep our house at 30-35%, we have hardwood floors and they like that range.  It's easier to maintain with a furnace humidifier and an air exchanger but you can do it in other ways.  

You get a simple indoor temp gauge that also has RH% also.  You need to put it in a neutral place in your house, if you know what I mean. Not in the kitchen, where they would be more water/steam.  

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I'll get a tiny gap between my counter top and the wall sometimes during an extended cold spell, on the outside wall area. Only happened twice, just enough to open gap between caulk bead and wall. Goes right back tight in the Spring. I'd call that perfectly normal. Been here 25 years, the house is a custom built 45 yr old house with solid oak floors and cabinets. Wood expands and contracts during the winter. Sheetrock will move. Low humidity inside, forced air heat, will really dry things out. What you're getting is frost heave, I think. For the first time in all the years I've been here, I experienced frost heave so bad the Winter of 2013, my garage side steel door jammed shut, and a window above it on the second floor had a 3" corner hairline crack from one edge. My driveway slab in front of the apron lifted 1 3/4". Back to normal in Spring. A wetter Fall will put more moisture in the ground, and give you more of a frost heave when it's really a cold winter.  I can't tell how big yours is, but if it's more than 1/16" of an inch, something is shifting from it, whether it's cabinets that weren't installed right, or an outside wall shrinking and moving, due to a cracked stud or whatever from the heaving. Be interested in knowing if this happens every year, and what time of year. I'd start there. Good luck.

Edited by RebelSS
Tom7227 likes this

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I am guessing that the back splash is connected (adhesive) to the wall and the cabinet/countertop is not connected to the wall or have failed.  Inside the cabinets, look to see if they are screwed to the wall studs.  If not, I suggest connecting the cabinet to the wall this summer with some heavy-duty screws.  

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Thanks guys, 

l'll look into some of the suggestion and see if I can figure this out. It wouldn't bother me so much if it was regular countertop and backsplash, but it's granite with grout, that breaks and falls out. I don't what to have to regrout every spring. And it does happen every winter.

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I've owned two houses that did the same thing.  If it were me, I'd peel the grout out, wait until the crack is half as wide as it is now (wait until spring), and then fill it with polyurethane caulking. Tremco or NP1 (Sonneborn) are two good products that come in various colors.  Doubtful grout will ever work for that application.  Screwing the cabinet to the wall sounds like a good idea too.

Also, this winter hasn't been extremely cold.  If you used straw to insulate the ground around your foundation, it is doubtful that the frost has made it down to your footings.  

Edited by CCGinMN
Cooperman and RebelSS like this

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