Is my house at danger?

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Hi, All,
Last Feb., I bought a 2-story house with crawl space. The house is about 12 years old. Recently I have discovered signs of foundation problem (settling?) that worry me a lot. 1. The floors at the family room and master bedroom(2nd floor) begin tilting. I did not notice this when we moved in. 2. Cracking sounds from the wall with chimney. At night, especially during earling morning hours, I can hear cracking sounds from the wall. Recently, the temperature drops some, but not below zero yet. The lowest temperature is around 36 to 40 degree. 3. some cracks at the corner of walls inside the house. Most of the cracks at the corner of walls are hairy, but 1 or 2 are bigger than that. 4. A crack (1/5 inch wide, several feet long) at my back yard.
We just moved in this house for several months. The inspection report said everything was fine. Should I call a construction engineer to have an inspection? What's your idea?
Thanks!
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Every house settles. It is a matter of degree.

That is a fairly high degree and you may want it checked out. Can you measure the tilt? Will it roll a marble?

Some is normal as the house expands and contracts with the heat, cooking, sun load, heaer burner warming hte chimney. Not having first hand knowledge I can't say what you see it normal.

If the floors are tilting, yes. Some cracking of the drywall is normal, but most should have taken place years ago. If this is new, it is a concern.
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Thanks for the reply. It is very hard for me to measure the tilt, since it is covered by carpet. Acturally, they are subfloor. But I can feel the uneven of it.
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    Your feet are not particularly 'finely calibrated', so if you notice it when walking around, it's a signifigant enough change in such a short period to have it looked at closely.
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A long, say, 4' inexpensive level laid across the carpet, a right angle, and a protractor would be sufficient to quantify how significant the issue is.
The level can be reused for installing shelves. :-)
-- Todd H. http://www.toddh.net /
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Maybe. Just today I used my 4' level to draw a line down some drywall I was going to cut. Just for the heck of it I checked with a plumb bob. The damn level is off by about 2 degrees! Used it for years, I wonder how much damage I have done...
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    You want to know the degree of damage ?
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>

Haha! I'm sure that's what my problem is with getting a straight cut. Well - even if it's not I'm gonna use it as an excuse
-- wallybbo
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Are you in an area that is gettintg a high degree of rainfall this year?

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No, I live at RTP, NC. As a matter of fact, it is kind of dry this year.
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uhoh...you live close to the Jonesboro Fault - a triassic-age dip-slip fault that is probably getting ready to bust loose any day now...what with the weird rain patterns this year...you know...long periods of drought followed by a day of intense rain. These triassic clays really swell and shrink from this type of climate change. What you need to do is get some teak or mahogany shims (only tropical wood will do) and jam then under the east and south corners of the house. Then go smoke some weed and ferget about it. Or call George W Bush - he's a genius...just trust him!
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    I would say yes, if you plan to be in the house for any number of years. Look at the expense spread out, annualized, and it's a lot less than finding out 10 years ago that there's something that could have been dealt with easily ealier, but not any more.
    Look especially at drainage, ventilation of crawl space, areas of moisture entry ( that long crack , etc ).
    IMO, if the settingly is enough that you can notice 'tilting that wasn't there before', that's pretty signifigant.
    Especially now, when you may still have recourse gainst the seller if there's a problem. 10 years from now you won't.

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That sort of settling evidence is worrisome and should be evaluated.

Cracking sounds as the attic heats up are not unusual in my experience. But then again, I could be a leming just ignoring them.

Corner hairline cracks happen fairly routinely.

?

I might cal your inspector back and ask him these questions. He might be willing to come back and have a nother look cheaper than anyone else because he's somewhat invested in it with his name on the inspection report. A 2nd opinion at that point might give additional assurance. And assurance is worth the money spent--it's no fun to live in a place you think might fall down.
-- Todd H. http://www.toddh.net /
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On 26 Oct 2005 10:41:40 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@toddh.net (Todd H.) wrote:

    Ummm... wouldn't that be an ostrich ??? :-)

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Did YOU pay a "qualified" inspector for an inspection?
A qualified inspector should have picked up all these faults.
Did you buy the house "as is"?
Even so, the previous owner should have alerted you to any existing known problems.
--
Abjure Obfuscation!
"Kim" < snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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True, but it seems as though the problems are recent. If that is the case, the previous owner had no knowledge of them.
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On 26 Oct 2005 08:21:24 -0700, someone wrote:

YES!
Because it will make you feel better.
Personally I think you are on the verge of hysterical and panic stricken. But its your house not mine, so go hire an engineer.
I wouldn't, but I'm not as scared as you.
Reply to NG only - this e.mail address goes to a kill file.
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How about the construction engineer DOES find that my house has foundation problems? Then, I have to disclose it to the new buyer when I sell it (maybe several years down the way). Is there anyway that I can figure out if my previous owner knew that problem?
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Nope. Unless you're clairvoyant. Or they posted about it on usenet and you can tie their posting address to them.
And, as a practical matter, it's worth knowing that no future buyer can prove or disprove the results of a construction engineer's findings or your knowledge or lack thereof.
Best Regards, -- Todd H. http://www.toddh.net /
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"And, as a practical matter, it's worth knowing that no future buyer can prove or disprove the results of a construction engineer's findings or your knowledge or lack thereof. "
How about if the new owner happens to later call the same engineer and the engineer says, "Oh, I remember looking at this house last year and giving the owner a report!" Doh! Or how about if the new owner sues the seller and the seller has to give a deposition? Now would you advise the seller to lie under oath, and risk perjury charges, to try to maintain the coverup?
Granted, it's not highly likely that a future owner can prove what you knew about a problem, but it certainly isn't a sure thing.
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