Drought is causing house foundations to sink and crack

STEVEN DERSE, the owner of a corporate travel business in Nashville, cannot feel his house move, but he can hear it. “It’s an eerie creaking sound,” he said, and it echoes throughout his two-story Georgian-style house.
COUNTER MEASURES The soil under the home of Psonya Wilson has required some major work and repairs. The two-story garden style house in Brandon, Miss., has required the installation of stabilization piers to shore up the foundation.
It started two years ago when a severe drought contracted the soil beneath the foundation, which caused it to crack and sink, pulling the house down with it. The noise has continued intermittently, becoming more insistent last year when flooding pushed the already compromised foundation and house back upward.
This seesawing effect was noisy and expensive. Mr. Derse has spent more than $10,000 to install subterranean piers to stabilize his foundation, and he expects he will have to install more to prevent further cracking and crumbling. “You lose your sense of security,” he said. “You love your home and then it literally turns on you.”
(article continues on website)..... http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/garden/04foundation.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
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Here are more links to similar related problems.
From KANSAS CITY, Mo.
http://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/extreme-drought-shifting-home-foundations
http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/335722/3/-Homeowners-with-drought-related-cracks-brace-for-Isaac
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And an interesting article "How to Spot Foundation Damage Caused by Drought" from Allstate
http://blog.allstate.com/how-to-spot-foundation-damage-caused-by-drought /
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On Jan 10, 4:18 am, snipped-for-privacy@home.com wrote:

Common enough. Caused by shit builders, foundations not deep enough.
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On Thu, 10 Jan 2013 00:34:08 -0800 (PST), harry

Not necessarily. Happened a lot in and around Houston last year.
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If you dig deep enough the water content of the ground varies much less. American building standards are very low anyway.
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On Thu, 10 Jan 2013 23:14:21 -0800 (PST), harry

Of course but there are economics to consider in building homes not necessarily because of shitty builders. Yes there are some shitty builders but it doesn't have to do with just foundations. The more expensive homes in Houston (my current residence) where we have expansive soils use pile foundations about 8 to 10 feet deep. When I lived in Long Island, I don't recall hearing about cracked foundations but most homes had cellars.
What qualifies you to tell me that the American Standards are very low and what are you comparing them to? Are you a structural engineer?
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I was in the construction and maintenance.. Retired. I took opportunity to look round some domestic house construction site while I was in the USA a few years back. Pretty appalling. Those houses were bound to have problems a few years down the road. I felt sorry for anyone buying them.
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On 1/11/2013 12:52 PM, harry wrote:

Were the homes being built by Mexicans? I know home builders who have gone into homes built by Mexican crews and were appalled by the fact that they couldn't find anything that was level or square. ^_^
TDD
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On Fri, 11 Jan 2013 10:52:07 -0800 (PST), harry

Ok, you mean workmanship not code then. Well on some homes' workmanship I agree. On their codes, I don't.
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wrote:

It's a common problem in many places no matter what the quality of the builder or foundation if weather conditions move out of the historical average range. In this great lakes area, shale is close to the surface and buildings (including houses), some over 100 years old, move around seasonally. My previous house had both a summer and winter state where certain doors, windows and cracks would open and close. Trees have a lot to do with it in summer as they can quickly draw a lot of water from the ground. A commercial building nearby put in a ground watering system to keep the shale in a stable condition.
Tomsic
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