Something weird is going on with my 17-years old townhouse.
I have several small cracks in the walls and ceiling (especially where
wall meets wall, ceiling or around door jambs. Along with that I hear
crackle sound (relatively frequent) comming from the attic.
In addition to thefloor crackles, but I think it's related to the
heating ducts underneath of it.
It's my first winter in this house so I'm wondering whether it's
something seasonal or i really should be worry.
In case it's serious, should I hire a contractor to make an inspection
of house structure? What kid of contractor should it be? Builder?
Thanks a lot,
It could be any number of things, but "It's my first winter in this
house" makes me think it is mostly the result of reduced humidity in your
home. A second part of the problem may be the construction quality and the
cracks the result of someone quickly patching them before you moved in.
Of course there are more sinister possibilities.
If you live in a cold area and your home has a sloped roof the sounds you
hear from your attic and the resulting cracks may be from some thing called
truss uplift. What truss uplift actually is, is wooden structural members
reacting to changes in temperature and humidity in the attic. During the
colder months the bottom chords of your roof trusses, which are buried under
ceiling insulation, stay warm and dry. The top chords are exposed to the
colder, more moist attic air. Because of the different temperature and
moisture levels, the top chords expand and the bottom chords contract, which
causes the bottoms of the trusses to bow, or lift off the wall. So from the
living space you might see a separation along the top part of a wall or
along window and door headers. However because you mentioned floor problems
you could also have a foundation problem as another respondent mentioned, or
a whole host of other problems ranging from the trivial to some that would
require more immediate attention.
Having never seen your particular home I would recommend that you hire the
services of a qualified home inspector to determine the exact cause. You
should be able to find one at the American Society of Home Inspectors web
site which is:
Best of luck
On 6 Dec 2003 05:53:22 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
If "townhouse" in your area means the same thing it does here, then
presumably your home is one of many built as a complex... whether each is
freestanding, or they're built as duplexes, or as vertical "slices" of a
In that case, seems to me that the first thing to do is ask your nearest
neighbors if they have similar problems occurring, and what THEY know about
the history of the problems.
If it does come down to hiring an inspector, in most areas there are
licensed home inspectors. Some general contractors might do a fine job of
a home inspection, but a lot of them wouldn't; it's not their main thing.
Please, Don't Breed or Buy While Shelter Pets Die.
Thanks for your replies.
In case this problem is related to some foundation movement or any
other kind of structural changes, is that possible that only my unit
could have it while my neighbours don't?
I live in the townhose building of 4 units (mine is the end unit). We
all have the same concrete foundation (I would guess).
On the other hand, if this problem is not related to foundation
movement and in fact it is just a seasonal routine ("truss uplift" -
as John has mentioned), why do you think I didn't see much wall cracks
left from previous winters when I moved in? I think it's a little bit
difficult to cover them up making them invisible. Is that possible
that this kind of problem gets worse with the years?
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