I am finding circumstantial evidence that leads me to believe that my house is settling from the foundation moving or shifting. I've found brand new grout done by a professional cracking after a couple weeks, siding outside breaking, doors rubbing then not and cracks on the concrete base of the house. I worry about getting a pro over because even if there is nothing wrong, I worry they will 'find' something. Is there any way to tell, like repeated measurements over time?

The area my home is in is notorious for foundation issues, i.e. every neighbor has a story about having to get work done, I would just like to convince myself first.

  • No cracks in the foundation? Then I would be concerned with pests like termites /carpenter ants or rot usually caused from a leak in a wall. – Ed Beal Sep 5 '18 at 18:48
  • I'm not suggesting that you should use this company but this could be related to the drought and lowered aquifer levels: bayareaunderpinning.com/articles/… – JimmyJames Sep 5 '18 at 21:45

Cracks are caused by 1) changing climate conditions, 2) soil movement

1) Where you live, I doubt the climate changes much from season to season. You do not have a freeze/thaw issue.

2) Soil movement can be caused by adjacent property movement, expansive soils or tidal/moisture fluctuations.

Look around your property and see if a neighbor has been moving dirt or if the city just installed a new sewer/water line in your area. (Even a new fence can cause problems if an auger was used and hit a tree root, pipe, etc.)

Florida is known for having soil problems and often the ground will swallow whole houses. I doubt you live in a soil area that has “decaying” soil like Florida. However, if the developer cut down trees before building your house, the stumps could have rotted and left large holes in the ground that allows sluffing and ground movement.

If you live in a high water table area, tidal action or seasonal rains can cause ground movement.

However, the most likely cause is expansive soils. That is to say, when your dirt gets wet and when it dries out, it expands or contracts. The amount of movement is directly related to the amount of moisture in the ground.

If you’re concerned, you can keep a journal noting season, rainfall, and what changes, (i.e.: doors rub, cracks open up, etc. )

if problems are only in the southwest corner of your house, that would be good to know when it comes time to fix it.

  • The problems in Florida are not caused by 'decaying soil'. They are due to sinkholes that are increasingly common due to drawing down aquifers. The OP's profile says Cupertino CA. I understand that the aquifers in CA have been drawn down to very low levels in recent years due to drought. – JimmyJames Sep 5 '18 at 21:43
  • @JimmyJames What do you think causes sinkholes? – Lee Sam Sep 5 '18 at 22:00
  • "drawing down aquifers" is one cause. 'Decaying soil' is not. if your house was build on humus, you should sue the builder. – JimmyJames Sep 6 '18 at 14:37
  • The land mass we call Florida is like a block of swiss cheese. It's full of complext cave systems that are filled with water. As the aquifer has been pulled from faster than it is replenished, the ground above holes in the bedrock is no longer supported and starts to sink. That's what causes a sinkhole. – JimmyJames Sep 6 '18 at 14:50
  • Another example of a man-made sinkhole is the Bayou Corne sinkhole. About 30 seconds in you can see it swallowing a stand of mature trees. The cause was pulling too much salt out of an underground salt dome which caused the ground above to fall into the empty space left behind. – JimmyJames Sep 6 '18 at 15:15

It can be checked to see if it is settling. Sensors are placed on the house and measured after a period of time (several months) to see if there has been any movement.

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