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Old 01-25-2009, 07:15 AM   #1
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


We have lived in our home for six months now and thought we had gotten used to the creaks, groans, and moans. I grew up in a log home that made all sorts of noises that were especially evident at night when all else was quiet so I'm even more used to that sort of thing. The house is a 40 something year old ranch sitting on a full basement with a block foundation. The foundation looks to be pretty solid and our home inspector found no fault with it. There are some superficial cracks in the parge coat but nothing on the inside. There are some settling cracks in the paint emanating from some of the door frames and one noticeable one where the bearing wall opens up to the kitchen. However, I've taken a level to everything and the ceiling and walls are near perfectly level and the walls are about as close to plumb as can be expected. There's no outwardly obvious sagging anywhere. The ridgeline of the roof is also completely straight.

However, recently my fiancee said she had heard a "thud" one night that actually woke her (I didn't hear it) so I had gone out to the garage and into the basement to see if anything fell, etc...and could find nothing so I dismissed it. Last night while watching TV we both heard a "thud" that seemed to come from the floor joists and she described it as exactly what she had heard a few nights before. It happened once more about a half hour later. Does it sound like anything to worry about or do we really need to get an engineer to evaluate the situation?

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Old 01-25-2009, 07:27 AM   #2
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


i hope it's not termites and the thud you hear is the settling of rotted joists! i'd look at those first if accessible.

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Old 01-25-2009, 07:45 AM   #3
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


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i hope it's not termites and the thud you hear is the settling of rotted joists! i'd look at those first if accessible.
Definitely not that. Joists are all open underneath and all look healthy. The entire home got a clean bill of health for wood destroying insects separate of the home inspection (homeowners sent their own guy)-any other ideas?
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:13 AM   #4
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


are you certain it wasn't heating ducts expanding/contracting? they can sound like that.

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Old 01-25-2009, 08:43 AM   #5
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


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are you certain it wasn't heating ducts expanding/contracting? they can sound like that.
Nahh...not that either-I know that one pretty well too
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:57 AM   #6
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


hmmmmm.....friendly ghosts playing?

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Old 01-25-2009, 09:36 AM   #7
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


What sort of heating do you have?
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Old 01-25-2009, 10:40 AM   #8
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


I have forced air and I'm pretty used to the noise the ductwork makes when the blower initially pressurizes the system, but I'm wondering if in these cold temperatures (my basement is drafty) the ducts are cooling more rapidly after the heating cycle is finished causing a more pronounced sound?
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:17 AM   #9
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


if it were, you'd think it'd be a continuous noise running in cycles.
we had a similar problem here a while back, but it was just one big noise.
i checked new const. above, and old below, and still found nothing to explain it.
foundation can settle a fraction of an inch and make noise, though it leaves a bit of evidence most times.

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Old 01-25-2009, 11:19 AM   #10
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


Have you had any snow falls that are unusualy heavy? If so, this may put an unusual load on the structure!
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:26 AM   #11
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


good point wildie. he should be looking above as well as below. might be a faulty truss. sound travels well through a structure.

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Old 01-25-2009, 11:31 AM   #12
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Have you had any snow falls that are unusualy heavy? If so, this may put an unusual load on the structure!
Nothing that a roof built in my region (Northeast) shouldn't be able to handle. I would say at most there was 8" tops of heavy wet snow.
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:12 PM   #13
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


Can you associate the noise as being coincidental with the snow load?
I have a aluminum canopy, that bow's down with a alarming degree. At the moment, I brace it with a 2X4 to keep it from caving in! The weight of snow is surprising!
I live in an area that is similar to yours and we have have to build roof's to carry 50 lbs/s.f. so an area of 100 s/f must support 2.5 tons. Now this requirement, has a safety factor built in, and its more likely that the roof load will only be 1/2 that. However, the weight could be more than 2000 lbs, for every 10'X10' area!
As Dangermouse has pointed out, its possible that a cracked framing member is being buckled, or slipping!
It would be a good idea to inspect all your rafters/truss's etc. for any damage!
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:28 PM   #14
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


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Nothing that a roof built in my region (Northeast) shouldn't be able to handle. I would say at most there was 8" tops of heavy wet snow.
Well you're assuming that whoever built your home followed code.

And, 8" of heavy wet snow is a bunch of weight. Check your attic for rafter cross bracing and look for anything structural that may be bowed/loose. Especially around the chimney.

Other than that I'm out of guesses.
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:36 PM   #15
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Settling noises and cracks-when is it a problem?


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Well you're assuming that whoever built your home followed code.

And, 8" of heavy wet snow is a bunch of weight. Check your attic for rafter cross bracing and look for anything structural that may be bowed/loose. Especially around the chimney.

Other than that I'm out of guesses.
It's a standard rafter/ridge design with 2x8 rafters 16" OC. Everything looks kosher up there but perhaps I should give it the once over again to make sure that nothing looks out of place.

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