We recently moved to the US Northeast and bought a 6 year old, two level plus basement house. I've been finishing the basement and have noticed several floor joists are splitting. I come from a country where this would not look good, but where there are also very few basements and no really cold, dry winters.
I'm inclined to write off some of the joist splits due to the climate, but a few are significantly split, offset, and/or split almost the length of the joist (see images). The image with the big offset shows one that has noticeably worsened during the winter months, and I'm reasonably sure the bangs we've heard have been the joists (not just normal thermal expansion/contraction).

My questions are: When do these become a problem that needs attention? Is this normal for the area, or did the builder cheap out on his timber? If this is not normal and a problem, what approach would you take to fixing it; would you start by calling the builder and giving him an opportunity to get it right? (after 6 years...) Would appreciate any help you can offer. Never had to deal with this type of issue. Thanks.

Offset Joist Image Split image

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    Take a piece of string, or a chalk line and stretch it the length of the joist. How much is the center sagging? Compared to neighboring intact joists? Do you notice any sponginess or flex in the floor above these joists? – CoAstroGeek Feb 12 at 19:07
  • No wonder they have split, look at the depth of them! Must be a country specific situation as in the UK you'd never really see a floor joist over 225mm or maybe 250mm very occasionally. Anything deeper than this would be a composite joist made up several different ways depending upon the manufacturer. This kind of splitting reminds me of oak beams in old cottages, as the green oak dried out over the centuries. – handyman Feb 12 at 22:21

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