house settling

House Settling: Why and What to Do About It

house settling

Do the sounds of creaky floorboards and unidentified thumps in the night make you think your house is haunted? Chances are what you are hearing are the sounds of your house settling. Over time, homes settle on their foundations. A little house settling, or sinking is fine, but if you see a lot of extreme movement or cracks in the concrete, your home may be experiencing too much settling and require foundation repair work.

Causes for House Settling

  • Packed soil surrounds your foundation. If that soil is not tightly compacted during construction, future weather and temperature changes cause that soil to settle. This settling can make your home sink further into the ground, and cause foundation problems.
  • Clay based soils, common in the Greater Fort Worth area, will experience more movement with temperature and water changes than sandier soil. When clay soil expands, your foundation can be lifted. Then, when it contracts back down, it causes your home to settle. If this up and down happens unevenly, your foundation may experience cracks and other damage.
  • Too much or too little water causes many foundation problems due to home settling. Standing water that saturates the area around your foundation will cause expansion. Too little moisture will cause contraction.

Simply Settling or Foundation Crisis?

If your home is sinking into its surroundings a little, there is likely no need to be alarmed. However, too much sinking is a sign of foundation problems and repairs should be done before the problem gets even worse. If you see large cracks—especially horizontal cracks—in the concrete of your foundation, chimney or external brick, you may home may have settled too much. It is normal to see small, hairline cracks, especially in the first years after construction.

Other signs include window and door trims pulling away from the wall, doors that get stuck in the frame or have gaps, and windows that don’t open smoothly. Also, look for uneven walls and floors, or cabinets, molding and baseboards pulling away from the walls. If you feel any moisture in the floors, there could be a plumbing leak under the slab.

All of these can be signs of major foundation issues that need to be addressed by an expert foundation repair company like Atlas Foundation Company.

Prevention for House Settling

In other blogs, we have discussed the best ways to prevent expensive foundation repairs. Briefly, by managing moisture and water drainage around your foundation, grading the soil around your home, and inspecting your house for signs of foundation distress every few months, you can prevent major foundation concerns and catch any before they become catastrophic. Our home is the biggest investment we make, and it is important to take care of it.

Don’t “settle” for foundation problems and assume that what you are observing in your home is normal settling. If you are unsure if your house is just settling a bit or if there is significant damage to your foundation, call Atlas Foundation Company in Fort Worth for an honest and expert opinion. For over 60 years, Atlas Foundation Company has been providing affordable and reliable foundation work to satisfied customers in the Greater Fort Worth area. Contact us at 817-478-1181 to schedule a no-cost estimate.

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