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We live in a small (1,500 square foot), one-floor, old (most of it 65 years old, some of it 30) house just south of San Francisco. We've lived here about 25 years and the last few years we have heard a lot of popping noises in the ceiling and walls.

It's been getting worse and worse. Some we hear in the early morning. Some we hear when we walk on the floor near structural walls. We can see some unevenness in a wooden floor and a few hairline cracks in the wall and ceiling too.

My initial thought is that we are having problems with a sinking foundation. Maybe too much water near the foundation in the rainy season. But I don't really know.

What kind of inspector or contractor should I contact to evaluate this? How best could I find someone?

UPDATE: I might add that we sometimes get noises also from a hot water pipe under the house. And that we have a crawl space that is hard to access. I have not been under there for 18 months, but last time I was there I didn't see anything unusual.

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    Foundation repair specialists are the contractors that fix this type problem. As always ask around for local trusted company. Check bbb for rating and to see if they have unresolved complaints
    – Kris
    Mar 25, 2019 at 12:28
  • Should be given as an answer. Mar 25, 2019 at 12:34
  • It could also be termites, if no large cracks are visible in the foundation structural damage from termites or rotted supports can cause similar issues.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 25, 2019 at 13:29
  • Ed Beal, termites or dry rot may be an issue in our area and in this house in particular. What kind of inspector would be best to isolate the issue? A foundation repair specialist?
    – Daanii
    Mar 25, 2019 at 16:19
  • One thing that may have changed recently is that drawing down of aquifers in CA has resulted in some foundations becoming unstable. When/if water comes back, it's going to create additional movement. Inspect the foundation closely.
    – JimmyJames
    Mar 25, 2019 at 20:57

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We called in a foundation specialist, who charged us $500 for an inspection. He said there are no big issues with the foundation, and that the noises we hear are common in older houses like ours. He did recommend about $50,000 in foundation work, but we decided against that (for now, at least).

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