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krombie19 08-27-2011 10:23 PM

Foundation issues or settling?
I have a 10 year old home. We have lived here for 18 months and been doing a lot of renovation. We got the house at a very discounted price because it had sat empty for 6 months. When we first looked at the house I noticed some of the baseboards and crown moulding wasn't fitting flush with the walls and above some of the walkways in the house there were cracks heading away at about 45 degrees. When we first moved in we caulked the baseboards and crown moulding. We also sanded, filled, and painted over the cracks in the drywall.

Well to say the least the issues are back. The gaps in the baseboards and crown moldings have reappeared. The cracks above the walkthroughs are also back. The cracks are actually longer than when we first moved in. I am unsure how to judge if this is an issue for a structural engineer or just your average settling.

The house is on a crawl space, except fopr the garage. The slab on the garage floor has some decent sized cracks that run to all four walls and down through the driveway.

I have heard settling, foundation issues, and possible lack of supports in the crawl to prevent torsion.

Any input would be helpful......thanks.

havalife 08-27-2011 11:44 PM

How does the foundation look? Take a close look at the foundation of the house and see if you can see cracks.

CyFree 08-29-2011 10:23 AM

If the crawl space is vented, chances are that the moisture is causing your floors to sag.

Something quite common in that type of foundation. You might need to call a crawl space repair or foundation repair company to fix it.

First by completely sealing and conditioning the crawl space to keep moisture out and protect the wood, then probably installing some crawl space jacks to lift the sagging floors. It is not a very expensive fix if you don't wait too long to do it.

The thing with foundations is that they don't get any better, the longer you take to fix, the more expensive is the solution. The pay off in this case is that besides having a dry and structurally secure crawl space, you might be pleasantly surprised by lower energy bills. Vented crawl spaces are huge energy hogs.

analogmusicman 08-31-2011 09:42 PM

you know,when they built my house 30 yrs. ago, there had to have been some major settling going on because all around the house there are places where obviously,"mud jacking" had been done. know what? I don't think this house has moved even a tiny bit since they did that. that might be your answer although it's not cheap.


CyFree 09-01-2011 09:13 AM

Mud Jacking is a great solution for some types of slab foundation problems, and for sinking basement floors.
Not the best solution for the type of problem you are experiencing with the crawl space.
It might be an option for the garage floor problem, but only a foundation repair professional can tell.

That would be my suggestion. Call a few of them in your area (many good ones will inspect and estimate for free) and see what your options are.

WillK 09-02-2011 08:31 AM

If you want to get technical you might want to consider reading this:

My house which was built in 1917 and has since had various repairs done at various times is built on a crawlspace, and over the course of owning it for a year I've observed conditions of non-straightness here and there that have varied in degree as humidity has increased and decreased.

I would suspect that you might be experiencing expansion and contraction of the frame from humidity changes.

CyFree 09-02-2011 09:12 AM

Wilk, that is most likely the case.

Moisture is the biggest problem in vented crawl spaces. The vents that were meant to let air flow into the crawl space, are actually the reason why crawl spaces have so much moisture.

Builders previously thought that the only source of moisture in the crawl would be the ground. So as long as they lined the floor with a vapor barrier and open vents to let air in, the crawl space would be fine.

Only they forgot that the air that is coming through the vents in warmer days, also has moisture in it. And because the crawl space is always colder than the air outside, the relative humidity in the air increases. (about 2.2% RH increase per every degree the air is cooled). So during the warmer seasons the RH in the vented crawl is very often way above 60% and often over 100%. That causes condensation all over the crawl space.

The moisture content in the wood structures increase considerably, causing the wood to swell, and floors to sag which seem to be the problem here. That is why I suggest crawl space encapsulation and then the use of crawl space jacks to lift the floor back to its original position.

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