Typically within a year of being built all homes will finish settling. During that time a house will experience a complete annual weather cycle, exposing the components of the structure—and the soil on which it sits—to environmental changes in temperature and precipitation. So how do you know if some of the changes you may see around your home are a part of normal settling, or the result of something abnormal? Look out for these three signs that indicate your house may not be settling as it should.


Cracks in the Foundation

If you spot a few hairline cracks in your foundation don’t panic. These cracks are normal while your house is settling and aren’t necessarily representative of a larger problem. That said, repairs shouldn’t be deferred, but given prompt attention since the cracks could develop into structural cracks.

When it comes to structural cracks, over time they can cause significant damage to your house by allowing water to penetrate.  So be sure to handle them as soon as possible to avoid a potentially costly fix.

Leaking or Burst Water Pipes

A foundation that shifts from improper settling can cause some of the infrastructure of your home, like your pipes, to move with it and possibly leak or burst. So take some time to check your pipes periodically to make sure they’re in good working order. If you find pipes that are leaking because they don’t appear to be properly aligned, it could be the result of improper settling. You may need to reach out to a professional to confirm the origin of the problem and have it rectified as soon as possible.

Windows or Doors That Stick or Become Difficult to Open and Close

If you’ve got interior doors that have become sticky or hard to open and close it usually points to a structural issue. Also, if your doors don’t lock as easily as they should it may be that the locking mechanism is no longer aligned as a result of improper settling. As a quick fix you could try sanding the door to create a better fit with its lock, or even replacing the door, but those options won’t address the root structural issue caused by improper settling.

Reach Out to Professionals

After your home settles it may need a few cosmetic fixes or minor repairs that you can perform yourself. But if your home requires repairs to the foundation or another structural element, it’s best to call in a professional to avoid exacerbating an issue that could ultimately devalue your residence.

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