Understanding House Settling Cracks

18 responses

  1. Itumeleng Senokoane
    February 1, 2013

    My house is forever cracking since I renovated and this has really become costly over the past 5 years. The cracks are on the walls and floor especially where the new and old structures are joint together. I need to mention that the area is on a clay soil which looks like the building is "moving" all the times. How can I stop this from going on?
    Search instead for My house is forever cracking since I renovated and this has really become costly over the past 5 years. The cracks are on the walls and floor especially where the new and old strucures are joint together. I need to mention that the area is on a clay soil which looks like the building is "moving" all the times. How can I stop this from going on?

  2. Josh
    March 19, 2013

    My wife and I are looking at purchasing our first home. It is a townhouse with beautiful granite counters and wood rails. We were also impressed with the tiled floors, however, there is a crack from the front door to the back along the nicely layed tile. The only other settlement evidence is in the top right hand corner of the door frame. This TH is only 6.5 years old and on the market for 73k. The big question is will the settlement problems stop there or should we let this great deal pass and look for something else.

  3. lisa
    March 31, 2013

    Tim, I have a new construction home, 3500sqft plus walkout basement. Every night I hear *very* loud popping noises, sounds like possibly in attic. Additional details - live in Michigan, soil seems sandy around home, no cracks in drywall, 1-2 nailpops, and if I had to guess I'd say my house is pretty dry even though I have a humidifier. Any suggestions on what I might do to make sure this is nothing major before my warranty runs out shortly? Thanks for your feedback I really appreciate it.

    • Tim Carter
      April 1, 2013

      I cover these questions in past columns here at the website. Use my search engine to discover your answers!

  4. Stacie
    April 15, 2013

    Me and my partner live in a rented 1st floor flat with our 2 children and have been here 2 years. The longer I stay here the worse the cracks in the ceiling are getting the run the length of the house from one room to the next and even through light fittings. The frontroom one has a huge crack through the light fitting and you can clearly see its a deep crack. The bedroom has had wallpaper put up on the ceiling which wasnt noticed till we had been here a few months and the wallpaper is starting to bow in areas. How dangerous is this and can it be easily fixed?

  5. deborah shaw
    May 21, 2013

    I have avertical crack in my 1930s semi from upstairs window to my window below, it goes right through to inside, I am sooo worried, is this something to worry about, is it serious or easily fixed. I do have a surveyor coming tomorrow but cannot sleep

  6. Terrence Coleman
    November 7, 2014

    I'm a disabled vet and I just moved into my newly constructed home in September 2014. A few days after moving in, I noticed two long cracks in the garage foundation and three days later, two more. Took photos and informed builder, was assured it was only the house settling and not to worry.
    Last week, I noticed a foot long jagged crack running along the ceiling in my living room (have recessed ceilings) and the start of cracking on all four corners. Builder says same thing, the house is settling.
    I admit not being construction saavy, but that didn't reassure me. Should I be worried and should I be looking for a Home Inspector since I haven't been in the home two months?
    What else should I be looking for?

    • Tim Carter
      November 8, 2014

      I urge you to READ all my columns about: Settlement cracks, concrete shrinkage and ALL columns in my Structural category. Your answers are there. Bottom Line: Your builder is very likely B * * * S * * * ing you.

  7. Joe
    January 15, 2015

    Hey Tim, I have an issue with an upstairs front bonus room that faces the street and the electric and cable is connected to the front right side of the house. I am tracking forward movement of the front right side of bonus room evidenced by shearing of the drywall tape and separation of the connecting wall. I drew a straight line down and across the sheared tape a month ago and have noticed separation of the line by 2 centimeters. There are no unusual cracks in the foundation on that side of the house because my first suspicion was soil washout and settling issues. Do you have any thoughts regarding this issue? My second suspicion is the electric and cable lines that are connected to a pole across the street and the pole is bending away from my house.

    • Tim Carter
      January 16, 2015

      If I understand what you're surmising, the electric and cable lines are not creating the crack in your home. It's very COMMON for utility poles to lean one way or another to counteract the weight of the lines they support, especially at points where the lines change direction such as a curve in the road.

  8. Scott
    January 19, 2015

    Tim, we remodeled our master bathroom about a year and a half ago. Out went the stick down floor and the built in tub and shower and in went ceramic tile, a stand alone tub (light weight at 145 lbs.) and a separate shower stall. All is well except in the last month below the bathroom (our kitchen) has what I would call settling cracks. Some to he drywall nails have pooped, one of the drywall seems has cracked and in a doorway there is a very small crack running at a forty-five degree angle. If the house was not almost 30 years old I would call all of this settling as all of these things other than the 45 degree angle crack have occurred in other parts of the house throughout the years. Nothing has seemingly moved in the bathroom or in the walls on the first floor.
    During remodeling we had the home looked at by a builder to verify that the floor and structure could support the remodel and we were told that the home "was very overbuilt" with 2x8 joists that were 12 - 14 inches on center and there was a triple 2x8 running down the middle of the floor all claims that I verified when the floor was opened up for plumbing work and insulation.
    To me these cracks are extremely minor and I think that they should be expected but could you let me know what you think please?

    • Tim Carter
      January 19, 2015

      I'd monitor them. See if they get bigger. 2 x 8's joists are not overbuilt in my opinion if the span of the joists is greater than 9 feet! They are the MINIMUM-SIZED floor joists typically allowed in construction. You better go to my website pages and READ all my past columns about span tables. Pay attention to the 1 / 480 standard I talk about.

  9. Brenda
    January 24, 2015

    We moved into a new build in sept it is a raised ranch built in 2014 we have recently noticed cracks in the paint along the stair wells and separation from the ceiling in a few rooms should this be happening already and is it normal

    • Tim Carter
      January 25, 2015

      It could be normal. Re-read my column and ANY others that talk about lumber shrinkage.

  10. lacey
    April 21, 2015

    hi. I've recently got a newly built house and have had several quotes on flooring for my lounge. The flooring people have said the concrete floor needs skimming first as there's cracks and it's uneven and will risk the vinyl cracking after being laid. they've told me to get onto the builders to do it but the builders have said that's how new build floors are and if I want it skimmed then i'll have to get it done myself. is it the builders responsibility to leave me with a floor that's ready for flooring to be laid or is it for me to pay for? thanks

  11. Aime
    September 3, 2015


    My husband is a disabled vet and we bought a brand new construction. We have gone through 3 sups from the builder and our punch list was never fully completed and we are still dealing with the issues 6 months in. Our biggest problem is the second floor slopes. The loft is the flattest point and the two rooms one on each side slope. An engineer came through that the builder sent and it showed a slope of .6" the standard should be .25". But the sup told us that there's no structural issues per the report. They keep on telling us that the trust needs to settle and that's the reason. No cracks that we can see but I know several other houses in our area had cracks due to a trust issue and the settling but they were not the same model house as ours. Is that really true that the trusts are the reason for this slope? Also on my first floor the floor slopes in the master and the guest. They floated the master to fix it and it's better but in the guest they raised it an inch and it still has a slope. They said we just have to live with it that's the best they could do.

  12. Linda G
    February 6, 2016

    Hello ๐Ÿ˜‰ we moved into a brand new Villa in FL about 1 year ago. Noticed a long crack about 1/8" from ground up to below roof line on the side of the building. Other new Villas also have settling problems. Villas were built with cement blocks as per new hurricane code. Should we be concerned?

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