I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

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CoastLawyer2030
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I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

A couple months ago, I posted a thread on here about getting new windows. One of my complaints about the windows was that most of the windows on the back of the house don't open. I thought this was because they were original Pellas and something was wrong with the mechanics, but now I think it might be the foundation.

Note -- I always knew the house settled somewhat to the NW end of the house. The house is 50 years old, so I assumed it had already settled, but now I'm curious if it is active or not. The signs are as follows.

1. The windows on the back of the house don't open. Before it was probably 75% of the windows but now none of them open.

2. The entry door coming in from the garage is getting impossible to open. It always feels jammed. You have to throw your leg into it to open it.

3. There are small hairline cracks in the drywall. They go from a corner of the window to the ceiling (so they are about 8-12 inches long). Two of these small cracks were there when we bought the house, but we just noticed another one. There are no cracks from ceiling to floor.

4. There is significant spacing in the floor boards. We initially thought this was due to the weather, but the gaps are getting wider and wider.

Obviously all of this is concerning. But what is weird is that there are absolutely zero cracks in the block in the basement on that side of the house. I looked at it incredibly closely with a Maglite and could not see a single crack.

I am absolutely terrified to call someone about something like this, because the costs to fix this could be astronomical. If the house is already settled then I don't really care, the house is not going anywhere. But if it's active then that's something we obviously have to deal with.

So my question is largely this -- at what point does the situation get bad enough that you should call someone?
homebuyer6426
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by homebuyer6426 »

So my question is largely this -- at what point does the situation get bad enough that you should call someone?
I would say at the point the stuck windows and doors get annoying enough to you, that rather than replacing them and fixing the symptoms, you are ready to pay tens of thousands to fix the problem at the source.

Foundation movement usually happens when the water saturation in the ground around the house is fluctuating too much. There are cheaper solutions to reduce that, if you haven't tried them already. Downspouts, french drains, extending the roof overhang, etc.

Unless the house is visibly leaning when looked at on-edge, or there are massive cracks, it's likely not an imminent threat.
gtd98765
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by gtd98765 »

We have a structural engineer coming to look at our house tomorrow for considerably less serious items than you have listed. I would definitely bite the bullet if I were you and get the problems checked out. You might learn that the problems are not serious, and then you will sleep better at night.
daheld
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by daheld »

The issues you cite on the main floor certainly sound like issues with settling. If they've gotten worse, it's likely ongoing. It is odd there are no cracks in the basement. You say there are none on that side of the house. Are there cracks elsewhere? The only way to know if it's still happening is to monitor it.

Are termites an issue where you live?

Issues with settling are almost always due to water. Make sure all rainwater is diverted far away from the house. Buried downspouts, french drains, etc.
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Tubes
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Tubes »

If you intend on living there for a long time, then hire an independent certified (PE) structural engineer for a report. It may cost you, but it could also save you.

If you call one of the jacking companies, they'll find a problem. It is their business. Now, these same companies can save you too, just go to them after the independent report, if necessary.

Don't live terrified. Confront your problem. Maybe it is just bum windows and moisture expansion. Maybe you can live with it as long as the problem is stable or minimal. Millions of people live in old homes that have these issues and they live with it. Some 100 year old houses are downright wacky. People lived with it by reframing doors, fixing plaster, etc.

If you intend on moving soon, now is the time. You basically know nothing and have no reports to disclose. Houses are being bought sight unseen.
L84SUPR
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by L84SUPR »

You can make a topographic map of your floors as a baseline and check it in a year or so to see if it is still moving.

https://youtu.be/sorOPOY_F2c

I have done these types of surveys for insurance companies. It is possible your insurance company would pay for an inspection and report even if just to prove you are not covered. At least you would get an opinion.

Make sure your roof gutters are working and direct the water well away from your house. Also, make sure you are not overwatering against the foundation.

This is not civil engineering advice. Seek the advice of a registered professional in your area.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by brianH »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:05 am I am absolutely terrified to call someone about something like this, because the costs to fix this could be astronomical. If the house is already settled then I don't really care, the house is not going anywhere. But if it's active then that's something we obviously have to deal with.
Fear isn't really a relevant variable here. Either the foundation is damaged in some way that a repair is warranted, or it's no big deal. House problems like this don't get cheaper to resolve as time progresses, so if there is an issue, it's worth addressing it ASAP.

To determine if there is an issue, call a structural engineer that does residential. They will recommend any fixes, if necessary, without a profit motive. They can help you determine the cheapest way to fix it correctly. If you don't need any stamped reports, I'd expect a consultation to cost around $500.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

homebuyer6426 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:24 am
So my question is largely this -- at what point does the situation get bad enough that you should call someone?
I would say at the point the stuck windows and doors get annoying enough to you, that rather than replacing them and fixing the symptoms, you are ready to pay tens of thousands to fix the problem at the source.

Foundation movement usually happens when the water saturation in the ground around the house is fluctuating too much. There are cheaper solutions to reduce that, if you haven't tried them already. Downspouts, french drains, extending the roof overhang, etc.

Unless the house is visibly leaning when looked at on-edge, or there are massive cracks, it's likely not an imminent threat.
The only thing we've changed on that side of the house is removing a Hemlock tree that was 12 feet taller than the house. It was allowing pests to get into our attic and it was becoming a problem, so we removed it.

I'm wondering if that was soaking up some moisture all these years, and now that it's gone, it's affected how the water settles over there.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

Tubes wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:27 amIf you intend on moving soon, now is the time. You basically know nothing and have no reports to disclose. Houses are being bought sight unseen.
brianH wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:35 am
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:05 am I am absolutely terrified to call someone about something like this, because the costs to fix this could be astronomical. If the house is already settled then I don't really care, the house is not going anywhere. But if it's active then that's something we obviously have to deal with.
Fear isn't really a relevant variable here. Either the foundation is damaged in some way that a repair is warranted, or it's no big deal. House problems like this don't get cheaper to resolve as time progresses, so if there is an issue, it's worth addressing it ASAP.

To determine if there is an issue, call a structural engineer that does residential. They will recommend any fixes, if necessary, without a profit motive. They can help you determine the cheapest way to fix it correctly. If you don't need any stamped reports, I'd expect a consultation to cost around $500.
The above two posts represent my dilemma. As of right now I have nothing to disclose because I am just an amateur schmuck that suspects something is going on, but I have no "actual knowledge" to confirm same. Everything I talked about is open and obvious to a potential buyer and thus there is nothing to disclose.

Yet I am also inclined to think now is always better than later. House problems like this do not solve themselves, and if you let them persist, they get worse.

I'm not sure if my wife is up for moving but it might be worth a discussion at this point (I have already floated it on here multiple times and would not mind moving at all).
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Tubes »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:43 am
homebuyer6426 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:24 am
So my question is largely this -- at what point does the situation get bad enough that you should call someone?
I would say at the point the stuck windows and doors get annoying enough to you, that rather than replacing them and fixing the symptoms, you are ready to pay tens of thousands to fix the problem at the source.

Foundation movement usually happens when the water saturation in the ground around the house is fluctuating too much. There are cheaper solutions to reduce that, if you haven't tried them already. Downspouts, french drains, extending the roof overhang, etc.

Unless the house is visibly leaning when looked at on-edge, or there are massive cracks, it's likely not an imminent threat.
The only thing we've changed on that side of the house is removing a Hemlock tree that was 12 feet taller than the house. It was allowing pests to get into our attic and it was becoming a problem, so we removed it.

I'm wondering if that was soaking up some moisture all these years, and now that it's gone, it's affected how the water settles over there.
Perhaps. In general trees make foundation issues worse. I would not regret your decision long term.

Make sure your grading carries water away. Someone else mentioned termites. You mention pests. Pests and termites like moisture. Have you had a termite inspection? You can do a cursory check yourself. The information is out there on how to do so.
Point
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Point »

A level or better yet, a laser level will go a long want towards answering your question about settling. Also, do you have cracks in the drywall above your windows or doors? Are your floors level, will a marble roll down the floor on it's own?
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MrBobcat
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by MrBobcat »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:46 am
Tubes wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:27 amIf you intend on moving soon, now is the time. You basically know nothing and have no reports to disclose. Houses are being bought sight unseen.
brianH wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:35 am
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:05 am I am absolutely terrified to call someone about something like this, because the costs to fix this could be astronomical. If the house is already settled then I don't really care, the house is not going anywhere. But if it's active then that's something we obviously have to deal with.
Fear isn't really a relevant variable here. Either the foundation is damaged in some way that a repair is warranted, or it's no big deal. House problems like this don't get cheaper to resolve as time progresses, so if there is an issue, it's worth addressing it ASAP.

To determine if there is an issue, call a structural engineer that does residential. They will recommend any fixes, if necessary, without a profit motive. They can help you determine the cheapest way to fix it correctly. If you don't need any stamped reports, I'd expect a consultation to cost around $500.
The above two posts represent my dilemma. As of right now I have nothing to disclose because I am just an amateur schmuck that suspects something is going on, but I have no "actual knowledge" to confirm same. Everything I talked about is open and obvious to a potential buyer and thus there is nothing to disclose.

Yet I am also inclined to think now is always better than later. House problems like this do not solve themselves, and if you let them persist, they get worse.

I'm not sure if my wife is up for moving but it might be worth a discussion at this point (I have already floated it on here multiple times and would not mind moving at all).
This is why one should never buy a home without a proper inspection.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Kagord »

OP, do you have gutters?
brianH
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by brianH »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:46 am The above two posts represent my dilemma. As of right now I have nothing to disclose because I am just an amateur schmuck that suspects something is going on, but I have no "actual knowledge" to confirm same. Everything I talked about is open and obvious to a potential buyer and thus there is nothing to disclose.
I guess it depends on how your state's disclosure is worded. If you're a lawyer, you can probably figure that out better than most.

For what it's worth, with my old house, I noticed some foundation issues before I was going to put it up for sale. I could've covered them up or feigned ignorance, but I paid for an engineer and ultimately the $5000 to get it all fixed. I sleep better at night knowing that I didn't stick the next guy with the problem, even if I complied with the 'letter of the law'.
homebuyer6426
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by homebuyer6426 »

The only thing we've changed on that side of the house is removing a Hemlock tree that was 12 feet taller than the house. It was allowing pests to get into our attic and it was becoming a problem, so we removed it.

I'm wondering if that was soaking up some moisture all these years, and now that it's gone, it's affected how the water settles over there.
I know that Hemlock trees do tend to form a water-resistant canopy more than other trees. Any tree will take some moisture from the soil and evaporate it through the leaves.

Another thing to consider is how much those roots were holding the soil structure together. If they're rotting now, the soil could be getting less strong.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I would call / email my jurisdictions chief residential building inspector. Its a long shot, but mine loves to brainstorm these issues with residents and has been very helpful when asking about water issues. It was he who let me know that all the lots in the county were mapped out as to soil type and drainage and if they even needed gutters - that survey is required by Code. Yours might be able to shed light on the soil and if others have this issue.

An issue where I live is many small rivers and creeks have been covered and filled over the years and yet the groundwater still pushes against foundations.

Then either an engineer or go and get bids for repair. Some of these companies in my state are very reputable; others push and hard sell.

As noted above, this isn't going to fix itself.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by MrBobcat »

brianH wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:55 am
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:46 am The above two posts represent my dilemma. As of right now I have nothing to disclose because I am just an amateur schmuck that suspects something is going on, but I have no "actual knowledge" to confirm same. Everything I talked about is open and obvious to a potential buyer and thus there is nothing to disclose.
I guess it depends on how your state's disclosure is worded. If you're a lawyer, you can probably figure that out better than most.

For what it's worth, with my old house, I noticed some foundation issues before I was going to put it up for sale. I could've covered them up or feigned ignorance, but I paid for an engineer and ultimately the $5000 to get it all fixed. I sleep better at night knowing that I didn't stick the next guy with the problem, even if I complied with the 'letter of the law'.
My son would have been one of those stuck had he not gotten a home inspection. The home had some undisclosed foundation issues (honestly don't know if the seller suspected or not). They ended up getting fixed to the tune of $20k before he bought the house. After the home inspection the seller could no longer claim ignorance and would have had to disclose the issue to future potential buyers.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Mr. Rumples »

The $20,000 sounds pretty reasonable. Of course there are many factors involved. My neighbor across the road a ways got a proposal in excess of $30,000. The house was built around 1960. Better to do it now and minimize the costs to repair more drywall, tile and so forth.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by fortunefavored »

Are the floors level? drop a ball on the floor, does it scoot off? A 2" drop over 25 feet run is considered "acceptable" (but not great, obviously.)
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

Point wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:51 am A level or better yet, a laser level will go a long want towards answering your question about settling. Also, do you have cracks in the drywall above your windows or doors? Are your floors level, will a marble roll down the floor on it's own?
Cracks in the drywall above the two windows on the side of the house on which I suspect there is settling. One was there when we bought the house, the other just appeared recently.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

MrBobcat wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:53 amThis is why one should never buy a home without a proper inspection.
Paid a pretty penny for one. The only thing that got flagged was the porch settling.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by MrBobcat »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:52 am
MrBobcat wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:53 amThis is why one should never buy a home without a proper inspection.
Paid a pretty penny for one. The only thing that got flagged was the porch settling.
No, no I was talking about the next person buying from you, lol.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Sandtrap »

Foundation settling symptoms: (for CMU/Block/Cement Block)
(If the wall/footing/basement/stem, is parged or stucco or other finish, then it will be harder to see).

0:
a) Doors and windows out of alignment. Door frames. cracks in drywall on the seams. Etc. If doors on the same wall, the out of alignment or shift will be on the same axis. (IE: if the lower right is rubbing on a door, it will be the same on all the doors on the same wall plane. Same for windows.
b) cabinetry (kitchen/bath/etc) will show gaps where they are fastened to the wall, etc.
c) closet shelving
d) floors
e) if really bad, the alignment issues will travel to the top wall sill plates and the roof trusses/etc.

1. Cracks along the grout lines. There may be mostly continuous horizontal fine or medium cracks (toothpick). The horizontal cracks might follow the horizontal steel reinforced and filled cells. If advanced, the grout will be crumbling.
If water intrusion or seepage/capilary, etc, then there might be bubbling and spalding damage as well. Underlying steel reinforcement, rebar or cement wire, will be corroding and expanding, pushing the grount from the grout lines.
b) There may be vertical fine or medium lines with the same appearance as above.

2. The above symptoms will either be typically at the building corners or several cells in from the corners depending on the nature of the footing base. Or, in various places if the wall run is long.

3. If water or dry rot or termites is also an issue, then the wood sill plates will be crumbling or collapsing (compressing) which can also cause what might appear to be foundation settlement in the walls and windows and doors above.

Shear wall issues that may include foundation settle, termite or water damage, or may not include, will have the same symptoms as the above.
IE: if the shear wall plane reinforcement was not done properly, (structural exterior sheathing rated for shear support at the corners or more depending on local building code. IE: If California, San Francisco, etc, then there are greater measures for shear.

How long can a building settle?
Forever.
(that a building can only settle "so much" and then stop is a consumer myth).
IE: I owned a 40 unit apartment building built in the 60's, and not properly, that settled with CMU foundation wall issues since the day I bought it and over a period of 30 years until I sold it. However, it did go to a minimal rate of settling after spending huge dollars to address the problem.

Actionable suggestions:

1. Least expensive. Have several reputable licensed local General Contractors look at things and get thier input and have then give you a quote to fix the isses. An experienced GC will quickly spot what your issues are.

2. You don't need to hire an engineer at your cost if you do #1.

PM me as you wish.
j :D

dislaimer: there are a zillion ways of looking at things based on experience, exposure, and opinion level. This is just one.
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Sandtrap »

fortunefavored wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:46 am Are the floors level? drop a ball on the floor, does it scoot off? A 2" drop over 25 feet run is considered "acceptable" (but not great, obviously.)
Curious.
Where does the "2 inch drop over 25 feet" fall/drop/slope data come from as being "acceptable"?

thanks.
j :D
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by runninginvestor »

If you can't open the windows, wouldn't that need to be disclosed on a seller's report? If your state has those. If so, unless a seller decided not to look any further, I would guess an inspection would flag that and go down the rabbit hole if it is a foundation issue anyway. That's if you decided to sell.

If you aren't going to sell anytime soon, and you get an inspection or two done, it will either use your mind, or provide you options to fix or prevent further issues.

Depending on what kind of foundation you have, pulling the tree could have messed with the soil and drainage causing bowing in the wall.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by fortunefavored »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:53 am
fortunefavored wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:46 am Are the floors level? drop a ball on the floor, does it scoot off? A 2" drop over 25 feet run is considered "acceptable" (but not great, obviously.)
Curious.
Where does the "2 inch drop over 25 feet" fall/drop/slope data come from as being "acceptable"?

thanks.
j :D
It is considered acceptable by inspectors/structural engineers. More than that would be deemed severe enough to require repair (and likely unacceptable to a home buyer in a normal market.)

"Windows not opening" would imply more than this amount if it is related to settlement, which is why I was curious.

Additionally if it is concrete perimeter, you would expect to see cracks in the foundation and larger (greater than hairline) cracks in the drywall.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by shess »

Tubes wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:27 am Don't live terrified. Confront your problem. Maybe it is just bum windows and moisture expansion. Maybe you can live with it as long as the problem is stable or minimal. Millions of people live in old homes that have these issues and they live with it. Some 100 year old houses are downright wacky. People lived with it by reframing doors, fixing plaster, etc.
We recently had a structural engineer out to check our foundation, because we've noticed a lot of drywall cracking, doors sticking, etc. We've been here 15 years, and the house is 60 or 70 years old, so we already had a series of known cracks. In the past few years we've had a half dozen new cracks show up. We figured it was best to get a handle on it now, so we could plan on how to respond rather than being forced to respond by something surprising.

The result? He said everything looks fine. Maybe there's been some settling, but nothing is off its piers, etc. So, basically just live with it. Best guess is that the CA drought caused some minor settling and the house is adjusting to that.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm still not entirely certain what to do with this info, especially knowing that overreacting could just make things worse as whoever "fixes" it rides off with our cash and we don't discover the new problems for a decade. We're in the midst of some bathroom remodelling, maybe that will segue into getting someone in to patch drywall and repaint, and adjust the doors to work right, and let things simmer for 5 years to see what happens.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by snackdog »

In some areas it is recommended to maintain the soil around the foundation near constant water content either by watering the foundation or diverting rain drainage away.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by cheese_breath »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:05 am A couple months ago, I posted a thread on here about getting new windows. One of my complaints about the windows was that most of the windows on the back of the house don't open. I thought this was because they were original Pellas and something was wrong with the mechanics, but now I think it might be the foundation.

Note -- I always knew the house settled somewhat to the NW end of the house. The house is 50 years old, so I assumed it had already settled, but now I'm curious if it is active or not. The signs are as follows.

1. The windows on the back of the house don't open. Before it was probably 75% of the windows but now none of them open.

2. The entry door coming in from the garage is getting impossible to open. It always feels jammed. You have to throw your leg into it to open it.

3. There are small hairline cracks in the drywall. They go from a corner of the window to the ceiling (so they are about 8-12 inches long). Two of these small cracks were there when we bought the house, but we just noticed another one. There are no cracks from ceiling to floor.

4. There is significant spacing in the floor boards. We initially thought this was due to the weather, but the gaps are getting wider and wider.

Obviously all of this is concerning. But what is weird is that there are absolutely zero cracks in the block in the basement on that side of the house. I looked at it incredibly closely with a Maglite and could not see a single crack.

I am absolutely terrified to call someone about something like this, because the costs to fix this could be astronomical. If the house is already settled then I don't really care, the house is not going anywhere. But if it's active then that's something we obviously have to deal with.

So my question is largely this -- at what point does the situation get bad enough that you should call someone?
Seems it's bad enough now to get a professional opinion from a foundation engineer. If (s)he says it's normal, you'll sleep better. If (s)he finds a problem, it will be cheaper to fix it now than later.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by 123 »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:05 am ...at what point does the situation get bad enough that you should call someone?
If there is any impediment to getting out of the room/house in the event of a fire or other emergency. One of the reasons for windows is the ability to provide an escape or rescue route. Having to break a window and remove shards of glass before exiting is not a reasonable alternative.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by sc173 »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:51 am cracks in drywall on the seams.
I'm not sure this is a good/accurate representation of settlement. Cracking, particularly hairline cracks that follow seams can be caused by so many issues (change in humidity, change in weight, minor structural stress points, improper taping/mudding). Nearly everyone (even foundation repair companies incentivized to sell you things), will tell you these (horizontal or vertical) are normal as long as they're hairline and on seams.

Cracks in drywall that get beyond the width of a coin, or jut diagonally across two pieces of drywall (i.e., the drywall itself is breaking and not a seam) are signs of worrying settlement.
sc173
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by sc173 »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:51 am
Point wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:51 am A level or better yet, a laser level will go a long want towards answering your question about settling. Also, do you have cracks in the drywall above your windows or doors? Are your floors level, will a marble roll down the floor on it's own?
Cracks in the drywall above the two windows on the side of the house on which I suspect there is settling. One was there when we bought the house, the other just appeared recently.
Photos of this would be helpful if possible. Is it vertical or diagonal? How wide is it? Does the width of the crack change based on ambient humidity level in your house?
quantAndHold
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by quantAndHold »

What you describe is bad enough that an inspector is going to notice anyway. Foundation issues always get more expensive over time, and you already have a bunch of windows that won’t open. I don’t see why you would wait on getting it looked at.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Sandtrap
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Sandtrap »

sc173 wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:49 am
Sandtrap wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:51 am cracks in drywall on the seams.
I'm not sure this is a good/accurate representation of settlement. Cracking, particularly hairline cracks that follow seams can be caused by so many issues (change in humidity, change in weight, minor structural stress points, improper taping/mudding). Nearly everyone (even foundation repair companies incentivized to sell you things), will tell you these (horizontal or vertical) are normal as long as they're hairline and on seams.

Cracks in drywall that get beyond the width of a coin, or jut diagonally across two pieces of drywall (i.e., the drywall itself is breaking and not a seam) are signs of worrying settlement.
Yes
You are correct.

J🌺
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CoastLawyer2030
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

sc173 wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:49 am
Sandtrap wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:51 am cracks in drywall on the seams.
I'm not sure this is a good/accurate representation of settlement. Cracking, particularly hairline cracks that follow seams can be caused by so many issues (change in humidity, change in weight, minor structural stress points, improper taping/mudding). Nearly everyone (even foundation repair companies incentivized to sell you things), will tell you these (horizontal or vertical) are normal as long as they're hairline and on seams.

Cracks in drywall that get beyond the width of a coin, or jut diagonally across two pieces of drywall (i.e., the drywall itself is breaking and not a seam) are signs of worrying settlement.
We have three cracks on one wall. One is a hairline crack that goes straight up a drywall seam. The other two are also hairline cracks and go diagonally from a window corner to the ceiling.
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Sandtrap
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Sandtrap »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:29 am
sc173 wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:49 am
Sandtrap wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:51 am cracks in drywall on the seams.
I'm not sure this is a good/accurate representation of settlement. Cracking, particularly hairline cracks that follow seams can be caused by so many issues (change in humidity, change in weight, minor structural stress points, improper taping/mudding). Nearly everyone (even foundation repair companies incentivized to sell you things), will tell you these (horizontal or vertical) are normal as long as they're hairline and on seams.

Cracks in drywall that get beyond the width of a coin, or jut diagonally across two pieces of drywall (i.e., the drywall itself is breaking and not a seam) are signs of worrying settlement.
We have three cracks on one wall. One is a hairline crack that goes straight up a drywall seam. The other two are also hairline cracks and go diagonally from a window corner to the ceiling.
Cracks in drywal are not (and may or may not be) "in and of itself" indicative of foundation issues, much like single symptoms on a patient are not necessarily definitive to a medical diagnosis.
:D
However, a reputable licensed General Contractor experienced in foundation issue work (or structural engineer, etc) , etc, will be able to look at your home comprehensively and most likely give you better suggestions than forum conjectures without physical inspection of your home and varying degrees of experience, and so forth.

The list of things a highly qualified and experienced professional might look at to get an overall picture of a problem would be extensive and far beyond anything mentioned in this thread.

Much like a medical diagnosis, there comes a certain point where the patient has to be diagnosed in person by a professional.
j :D

dis-laimer: zillions of points of views and opinonions on zillions of things.
Last edited by Sandtrap on Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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virginiabirdie
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by virginiabirdie »

I agree re: hiring a structural engineer. I'm in NYC area, and it was less than $500.
Normchad
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Normchad »

virginiabirdie wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:33 am I agree re: hiring a structural engineer. I'm in NYC area, and it was less than $500.
Yep. Do this. We are all just guessing.

It’s also possible that somebody removed a load bearing wall at some point, and your problems are actually coming from above.

Whatever is going on, a real structural engineer will point you in the right direction.
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CoastLawyer2030
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

Sandtrap wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:53 am
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:29 am
sc173 wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:49 am
Sandtrap wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:51 am cracks in drywall on the seams.
I'm not sure this is a good/accurate representation of settlement. Cracking, particularly hairline cracks that follow seams can be caused by so many issues (change in humidity, change in weight, minor structural stress points, improper taping/mudding). Nearly everyone (even foundation repair companies incentivized to sell you things), will tell you these (horizontal or vertical) are normal as long as they're hairline and on seams.

Cracks in drywall that get beyond the width of a coin, or jut diagonally across two pieces of drywall (i.e., the drywall itself is breaking and not a seam) are signs of worrying settlement.
We have three cracks on one wall. One is a hairline crack that goes straight up a drywall seam. The other two are also hairline cracks and go diagonally from a window corner to the ceiling.
Cracks in drywal are not (and may or may not be) "in and of itself" indicative of foundation issues, much like single symptoms on a patient are not necessarily definitive to a medical diagnosis.
:D
However, a reputable licensed General Contractor experienced in foundation issue work (or structural engineer, etc) , etc, will be able to look at your home comprehensively and most likely give you better suggestions than forum conjectures without physical inspection of your home and varying degrees of experience, and so forth.

The list of things a highly qualified and experienced professional might look at to get an overall picture of a problem would be extensive and far beyond anything mentioned in this thread.

Much like a medical diagnosis, there comes a certain point where the patient has to be diagnosed in person by a professional.
j :D

dis-laimer: zillions of points of views and opinonions on zillions of things.
I had a general contractor over last night. His opinion is that the cracks are from moisture.

Long story short, our water heater broke earlier this spring. When that happened I moved the dehumidifier from where it was to much closer to our drain. I never moved it back because it never really occurred to me. My GC said that now all the dehumidifier is doing is pulling moisture from the drain, not the basement.

This was okay for a couple months but it is becoming an issue now because the humidity is just crazy outside. We have had highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s for several weeks now.

He said this also explains the windows and doors -- when moisture gets around there they feel impossible to open.

I moved the dehumidifier and already the front door opens quite easily again.

Houses are a crazy thing.
homebuyer6426
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by homebuyer6426 »

I moved the dehumidifier and already the front door opens quite easily again.

Houses are a crazy thing.
Great that you found a solution. My front door gets a lot harder to close in winter but is fine in the summer. It's likely that the shape of the door frame is changing from temperature/humidity. Houses are indeed weird.
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Sandtrap
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Re: I Think Our House Foundation Might be Settling

Post by Sandtrap »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 8:00 am
Sandtrap wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:53 am
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:29 am
sc173 wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:49 am
Sandtrap wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:51 am cracks in drywall on the seams.
I'm not sure this is a good/accurate representation of settlement. Cracking, particularly hairline cracks that follow seams can be caused by so many issues (change in humidity, change in weight, minor structural stress points, improper taping/mudding). Nearly everyone (even foundation repair companies incentivized to sell you things), will tell you these (horizontal or vertical) are normal as long as they're hairline and on seams.

Cracks in drywall that get beyond the width of a coin, or jut diagonally across two pieces of drywall (i.e., the drywall itself is breaking and not a seam) are signs of worrying settlement.
We have three cracks on one wall. One is a hairline crack that goes straight up a drywall seam. The other two are also hairline cracks and go diagonally from a window corner to the ceiling.
Cracks in drywal are not (and may or may not be) "in and of itself" indicative of foundation issues, much like single symptoms on a patient are not necessarily definitive to a medical diagnosis.
:D
However, a reputable licensed General Contractor experienced in foundation issue work (or structural engineer, etc) , etc, will be able to look at your home comprehensively and most likely give you better suggestions than forum conjectures without physical inspection of your home and varying degrees of experience, and so forth.

The list of things a highly qualified and experienced professional might look at to get an overall picture of a problem would be extensive and far beyond anything mentioned in this thread.

Much like a medical diagnosis, there comes a certain point where the patient has to be diagnosed in person by a professional.
j :D

dis-laimer: zillions of points of views and opinonions on zillions of things.
I had a general contractor over last night. His opinion is that the cracks are from moisture.

Long story short, our water heater broke earlier this spring. When that happened I moved the dehumidifier from where it was to much closer to our drain. I never moved it back because it never really occurred to me. My GC said that now all the dehumidifier is doing is pulling moisture from the drain, not the basement.

This was okay for a couple months but it is becoming an issue now because the humidity is just crazy outside. We have had highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s for several weeks now.

He said this also explains the windows and doors -- when moisture gets around there they feel impossible to open.

I moved the dehumidifier and already the front door opens quite easily again.

Houses are a crazy thing.
Glad it worked out well for you.

Thanks so much for the update.

Some General Contractors are great!

aloha
j :D
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