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Old 08-22-2007, 02:56 PM   #1
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


I am about to put in a new ceramic floor and knew that my huouse settled in 1 spot about 1 inch, and is noticable when you walk on it. I was going to just do the normal floor leveler or mud it up to make it "level". However, I got to thinking and became more concerend that there may be an issue.

I called a few contractor's and none really wanted to look at it but said call me when you need something done.

SOO, I went online and found a NJ certified home inspector that has a very diverse backround in construction and engineering (20+ year's) from swinging a hammer to commercial project management. He has a whole load of cridential's

I have a few question's:

Is this the right person for me to have come assess the situation?

On our phone conversation, he indicated to me that 1" was a lot for a 20 year old house, what are your thought's here?

If it is not setteling, what else can it be?

It is a block foundation, crawl space.

Any info you may have that can help is appreciated.

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Old 08-22-2007, 03:01 PM   #2
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


I would think 1 inch making the floor noticable unlevel is indeed a lot.... well if it is not costing rediculariously a lot... bring in an expect may be a wise choice here... even at the end you don't need to do nothing... you can have peace of mind if it is coming from an expect...

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Old 08-23-2007, 12:48 AM   #3
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


The time frame of this issue is what? A week? A month? Is it near a support column? Is there a large crack in the floor? Is one side higher then the other? Is the slab pulling away from the walls at any point?
Post a picture, it will help.
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:45 AM   #4
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


I will post some pic's tonight.

There are no crack's or anything, it is just a 1" dip in the floor. It has been this way since I moved in 6 year's ago, but seems to have gotten a bit worse (may just be me). It carries through all the way to the upstair's as my door's up there are not square any longer.

The house is a standard colonial with a 1 car garage. It is where the square foundation for the house meet's the foundation behind the garage. Behind the garage is a hall about 6' wide. From the corner (where the two foundations meet) to the back of the house, there is like a 3' to 4' area that has the dip. Hard to explain so I will post pic's tonight.

Thanks for sticking with this!
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:56 AM   #5
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


the worst is if it continue to sink a bit over time.... even it does not harm any structure or anything... it definitely affect your property value... as a slopped house is difficult to sell or has to sell a real low price... probably you are not yet at that stage... but just avoid that happening... I definitely would hire a professional to take a look...
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Old 08-23-2007, 12:12 PM   #6
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


If it were my house, I would drill a 1/4" hole at the low spot and get a rod and insert it into the hole to see if there was a hollow under the floor.
The out of square door frame is some what bothersome. If the support posts were set on disturbed soil, the weight of the house could be pushing the post down into the soil and carrying the house structure with it. Does the main beam show deflection? Best way to see it would be to pull a line taut from one end of the beam to the other. Set a nail or screw 1" from the bottom on each side and tie the string to it. If the beam is also dropping, that could be the problem.
What year was the house built?
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Old 08-23-2007, 12:34 PM   #7
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


House was built in 1987. There is no hollow floor under it, there is a crawl space. The block foundations is what I beleive is settling.
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Old 08-23-2007, 03:35 PM   #8
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


Look at the condition of your fornadtion walls.

If you have any cracks in the walls, you have differential setting that caused the footings to crack. Without cracks, you do not have a foundation failure, but there are 2 other possibilities:

1. The home was built that way and/or the wood shrinkage has caused the "out of level" condition to exist.

2. There is an over-all or "global" soil movement on your lot.

Do not rely solely on the opinions of someone on the internet that has not seen your home. If you are really concerned, contact a LOCAL civil/structural engineer that has a knowledge of local construction practices and the local soils.

A home inspector is the last person to as for an opinion on a specific problem like you perceive, even if he claims to be "certified". Many organizations offer/sell certifications while others just require a check or have the person take a test until he finally passes it. A real certified home inspector cannot do work on a home he inspects - he can only offer referrals (3 preferred).

A home inspector is really a generalist (because of his low fees) and is not a know-it-all. If there are specific problem areas, that he is not specilized in (electrical, plumbling, structural, roofing, termites, etc.) he is obligated to note that so you can call a specialist. Obviously, when you purchase a home you do not want to pay and schedule a fleet of specialits for each area, so you use a generalist (certified home inspector) because of cost. This can narrow down any problem areas if they exist.

A real certified home inspector is required to not work on homes he inspects, must pass an approved class, perform a number of inspections that are reviewed by others, take ongoing education and pass a comprehensive (not internet) exam. Usually states have the same requirements and tests, but some states are very negilgent.

A civil/structural engineer is a professional that works just for you and no one else. You could also have him design a correction, but usually he is not allowed to be a contractor. - He just works for you.
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Old 08-23-2007, 04:15 PM   #9
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


thank you for the great info!

I did look to get a contractor in here, but none were really responsive. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place.

This person that is coming to look at my house is (according to him and his cridential's) an engineer and former builder. I was hoping with that backround, he would be able to at least get me moving in the right direction.

Beleive me, I looked into getting certified as a home inspector, and realize that just that certification looking into this issue would not be in my best interest!

From his site:

Over 20 years of experience in engineering and construction (commercial and residential) support my inspections and inform my reporting.

Undergraduate and Graduate education in engineering.

It is a minimal investment for me and if I still do not feel comfortable, I will look elsewhere. If nothing else, this will be the 1st of two opinions.

I will check back when he is done and let you know the outcome. I will also take pictures while under the house and post.

Thank you for your time.
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:25 AM   #10
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


Ok, got some pic's for this also.

In this pic, the "issue" begin's about 1' from the corner where the door is slightly opened facing the refrig. The problem area extend's from that corner, to the other side of the door (about 5' total and then to the exterior wall behind the fridge (in total a 5' x 8' area).

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/...56447465DGdhkh

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/...56447465RicmgI

Here is the "gap" that I have. This is a 6' streight edge.

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/...56447465vnAsSz

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/...56447465jFlnkk
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:45 AM   #11
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


How is the floor supported under this area?
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:56 AM   #12
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


2x10 (I beleive) floor joist's running from foundation to foundation (8').

Could they just be crowned the wrong way? I have that issue with 1 in my Attic causing my ceiling to sag (really poorly bult house!!)

The wall that the door is on is actually ontop of the foundation below. The corner of that wall (to the left of the door) is where the foundation end's and connect's into the larger square of the house.
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:43 AM   #13
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


If you put a level on the foundation under the door, is it level?
It looks like the ceramic floor has cracks in it. Did the cracks occur while you owned the house?
Can you post photos of the foundation under this area?
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:45 AM   #14
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


I am actually going to go under this weekend and do some snooping around. The cracked tile is a tile that I could NEVER get to set right when I did the floor. It has been that way for some time, replaced a few time's but always crack's!
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:59 AM   #15
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House Settling Issue (Hopefully)


Just got out and one problem led to another (posted in plimbing forum)!!

Oh well, I think I found my "settling" issue.

The wall that seems to be setteling is the wall that runs parralell to the square metal ducting. As you can see from the far shot, it looks as if even the dust cap (crawl floor) is not level!

Here are some pics:

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/...56447465qsLtVE

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/...56447465TuPyfr

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/...56447465PrSUZT

THis pic was on the floor of the crawl running parrell to the floor that is sunk in the kitchen.

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/...56447465yewTei

Hard to get a good shot of the plate and no way to get a level on there due to the HVAC ducting.

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/...56447465mqApwu

The wall in question (parrell to the metal square ducting:

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/...56447465tgHtnM

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/...56447465tgHtnM

The crack in that wall runs the length of the wall. It is in the joint between the 3rd and 4th course up from the floor. I assume that is my issue, now how do I fix?

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