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Question DetailsAsked on 8/9/2014

We are considering buying a house. Everything looks good except two problems .

1) There are some water marks on the interior wall near the windows and close to the upper level floor?

2) There are plaster out side foundation wall which is swelling, cracking and peeling ? The concrete under it appear to be OK

The house is 1979 built split (above ground basement)

For problem 1, I think we will need to remove the window, flash and install it . Is that correct?

For 2, Is it something serious and should I have a foundation engineer check it ?

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2 Answers


For problem number one you might have to but I wonder if it is just that the window might have been left open during a rain storm or two. The way you describe it it sounds like it is just at the bottom of the window and you quite often see this especially if it is a casement window.

You did not say what sort of siding is on this home and if it is vinyl or aluminum siding and is a flashing problem it is not a difficult repair even if it is the flashing even if it is wood it is not that bad. Most often just a portion of the siding needs to come off and not the whole window unless rot is found.

For problem number two I would have at least a mason, home inspector or engineer look at it. You say the concrete beneath it looks good but generally plaster is put on block walls and not over poured concrete walls. If the wall is block there could be damaged to them causing the spalling off of the plaster. You also said it is an above ground basement and if this is where the spalling is happening I would look for a source of water getting behind the plaster. Is it near the window with the problem? If moisture gets behind it and freezes it will pop off the plaster at times.


Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


Good response by Don as usual.

The primary things I would be looking for is evidence that surface water backed up against the house in heavy rains, and how hard that would be to remedy - usually no tough unless the house is down in a low spot. If that has been happening, probably a water stain line around the outside of the house in that area too, and maybe mud on the basement windowsills too.

Plaster/stucco breaking up would not usually be indicative of a foundation issue, especially if the foundation wall below it looks intact and not breaking up. The plaster cracking and disintegrating almost always means it has been exposed to water for extended periods or a lot of times - so look for possible leaks in the wall above it, water ponding around the foundation in the past, or maybe hit consistently by a sprinkler. A small area should not cost a lot to repair, and like the window waterproofing you could add to your inspection contingency list of things to be repaired by the owner BEFORE closing.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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