My Window Pane is Stressing Out!
(04-29-2023, 08:08 PM)Snipe Hunter Wrote: I've seen this in older houses. Most of the houses i inspect were built in the early 1900s. The foundation and walls don't have to move much to put pressure on the windows to make a pane crack. That's a lot of pressure and if the wall has a twist in it it adds a whole new dynamic.

I see a lot of stuck windows and can usually chock it up to 100 years of sloppy painting. But sometimes I can clearly see that paint isn't bridging between the frame/sill and the pane. I started carrying a small carpenters square and low and behold window frames can be 1/2" out of square and there's a noticeable difference in the gap around the sash. 100 years of settlement can do this. Some houses move a lot more in a much shorter time. It just depends on the condition of the soil under the foundation and the construction of the foundation. Foundations should be set on undisturbed soil but only the builder knows. Some soils, especially soil with a high water table just don't make good bases for foundations.

Usually houses/foundations pretty much stop settling in about 10 years but sometimes not. I'd do some research with a nice long level and square and check all around the house. Check the door and window frames and walls for plumb. Sometimes only one corner is moving and that can usually be seen by foundation cracks in that one corner. Sometimes there's cracks in various places. Sometimes walls bow. Especially in old balloon framed houses. That can be fixed. So can sinking foundations by slab and pier jacking.

If you're convinced the house has stopped moving, you can take out the windows, square the rough openings and reinstall the windows.

When I saw the picture and the corner cracked, my first thought is that your wall is moving. Every time I see it, it's in a corner pane.

I think pier jacking only works on a poured wall, which may not be the case for the OP.  But it sure can be a great option to get things back on plane when it can be used.  The front porch on my brick veneered house was settling badly.  Somehow the builder thought it was OK to use a foundation only 36" deep for it, even though we live in an area where the frost line says you need to go at least 42" deep.  How much did he save by cheating?  Anyway, we are fortunate to have a certified pier jacking company in Buffalo.  It's a pretty lengthy, and expensive, process, but they jacked my porch back up in perfect alignment.  The piers are something around 18' deep.  I doubt it's ever going to move again.  It wasn't cheap at around $7000, but a much better option than trying to replace the porch.  

(04-30-2023, 01:26 PM)David Stone Wrote: If my wall is moving, do I need to do something?  Get a foundation person?

So... everything moves and is always moving. But to what extent? I you have cracks in your foundation you can check movement. There are gauges made for monitoring cracks that you can stick on with a little built in ruler. Mark the ruler and check it periodically or you can draw a vertical line on both sides of the crack and measure between them. Log their movement.

Judging by the windows, it's a fairly old house. 40s? Older? It may have finally just moved enough and caused enough pressure to crack the pane. Those old metal windows were pretty well made with tight tolerances. It probably doesn't take a lot of movement to create enough pressure to break.
Neil Summers Home Inspections

" What would Fred do?"



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