Window Wall Crack
Window Wall Crack
I get a call back today from the owner that a crack has opened up at the prow/apex of the wall towards the bottom of the wall and has gradually gotten wider since about March this year. See photo below:
At the bottom the crack is about 7/16" wide. Looking into the crack I don't see that the wall wrap or felt has broken or stretched to any degree. Checking along the sill plate I don't visually see any displacement of the wall itself or cracking of the stemwall or any other settlement issues. Also inside there is absolutely no cracking of the drywall, see photos below:
Unfortunately, I did not take pictures of the framing before the wall wrap went up so I don't know if the contractors installed the straps that connected the walls at the apex, or even how they may have nailed the studs along this seam. I probed with a small screwdriver where the MSTA30 strap should be that connects the lowest headers and did not find a strap. Of course this doesn't mean its not there, just that I couldn't find it with the means that I used. The residence was framed mid November last year about 6-7 months ago during the rainy season, the wood was completely saturated as were the PSL columns which probably should have been better covered. The building official had looked at the crack and he figured it was due to the wood swelling and then shrinkage, with the amount of rain we get here there is definitely some validity to that argument.
At this point I would like to talk with the framers and general contractor to determine if they installed all of the straps per the plan. I'm doubtful if they will remember exactly what straps went where and sizes etc...
Ultimately I need to write a letter with a course of action for the fix, which may involve tearing up the window trim to check for the straps and possibly install more if required. At the moment I'm very disappointed since I spent considerable time and effort designing this wall so that something like this would not happen.
A confused student is a good student.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, PE