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My mother moved into a ranch house in August. House was built in 2002 and sat vacant for probably 8 months before she moved it. In August the roof was replaced, in October shrubs torn out all around and soil added to slightly slope from house with grass planted.

Starting about 2 months ago my mother says she's hearing loud noises from the basement and thinks there are more small cracks in the wall than before. I don't think this possible but want other opinions.

The inspection mentioned a few small cracks, nothing to worry about. There might be 15 cracks, all hairline, some vertical, some more diagonal. I don't see why this would suddenly start nor that anything should be done, whether the cracks are new or not.

On the first floor there's one place where the drywall tape at the ceiling/wall has separated for about 4 feet since she moved it.

Would these cracks make any noises? We've discussed if it's the ductwork contracting, etc. without resolution. I was there about 6 hours today for the first time in months and we didn't hear anything.

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Cracks in walls mean movement due to external forces. Noises are usually from settlement of the structure (from lumber drying out and shrinking).

The narrow vertical cracks in the block wall are probably caused by foundation settlement or sol movement. Unless water is leaking through them they shouldn't be a serious problem. It would be wise to monitor them to ensure they don't increase in size.

This is probably the noise your mom hears in the still of the night. Creaks and groans are common with a house trying to get situated.

Fill the cracks with a urethane caulking. If cracks are active you will see new gaps along the caulk.

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  • +1 for identifying the cause of the cracks: movement. However, you say: “Creaks and groans are common with a house trying to get situated.” The house was built about 18 years ago. It’s settled out within the first couple years, unless there has been new construction nearby recently.
    – Lee Sam
    Dec 30, 2020 at 0:15
  • yes and unless there is further movement from the ground which could cause building movement.
    – ojait
    Dec 30, 2020 at 0:34

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