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Settlement Cracks?

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dcny6923

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Hi,

Lately I have been noticing some cracks in our walls and I wasn't sure if these were normal due to settlement of the house (build in Dec 2011) or if it part of a potentially larger problem? The things I've noticed are:

  • Fireplace mount now has a gap from the wall
  • A crack developing from the top right corner of door frame on 2nd floor

Both these things were not like this when we bought the house. Is this a sign of something more problematic? If not what's a good way to fix it. I've attached some photos, and thanks in advance or the advice.

Pictures:http://imgur.com/a/A9TRt

DC1a.jpg

dc1b.jpg
 
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nealtw

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Welcome to the site.
You didn't say if you have been in the house since new. Settling usually occurs in the first year or two but the crack in the wall is something that wants to be watched.
The fireplace mantle sometime just has a 2x4 nailed to the wall and everything is attached to that and can be some distance away from what you are seeing and unless it was planned for that mantle there may not be wood in the wall to attach the sides to. But again, keep watching for changes, I think it is to early to worry unless things change really fast.
 

dcny6923

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Welcome to the site.
You didn't say if you have been in the house since new. Settling usually occurs in the first year or two but the crack in the wall is something that wants to be watched.
The fireplace mantle sometime just has a 2x4 nailed to the wall and everything is attached to that and can be some distance away from what you are seeing and unless it was planned for that mantle there may not be wood in the wall to attach the sides to. But again, keep watching for changes, I think it is to early to worry unless things change really fast.
Thank you for responding. I haven't been in the house since it was constructed in Dec 2011. We moved in during Aug 2015. During this time these two things were not there. Is that considered a "fast change"?
 

nealtw

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Thank you for responding. I haven't been in the house since it was constructed in Dec 2011. We moved in during Aug 2015. During this time these two things were not there. Is that considered a "fast change"?
It might have been fixed before, or hidden for your benefit.
 

dcny6923

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Thanks Neiltw,

I will continue to monitor these and a couple of others I've noticed in the house. Generally, what is a good indicator for these types of cracks that warrant further investigation?
 

nealtw

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Thanks Neiltw,

I will continue to monitor these and a couple of others I've noticed in the house. Generally, what is a good indicator for these types of cracks that warrant further investigation?
It's always a good idea to have a look at the foundation for cracks, roof sagging and doors that the fit of the door changes as well as watching cracks.
If you think a crack is growing but not sure. Put two pin pricks in the wall one on each side of the crack 1 " apart, then you can measure that once and a while and you have no guess work about any growth.
 

dcny6923

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Thank you Nealtw, I really appreciate your advice and time.

I did have the foundation crack (picture attached) looked at by an engineer who said the walls were "plump" and the crack was due to normal settling. This was about 7 months ago.

So I went looking around the house a bit more and I noticed that the 2nd floor room above this outside foundation cracks shows that the top right corner is splitting from the wall (pictured below).

Is this also considered normal, or am I just getting too paranoid now?

20160510_191020.jpg

20160510_190828.jpg
 

nealtw

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"plump" That is one I never heard. I think he may have meant Plumb which would mean they are not leaning.
The tall wall with the door into the room with the vaulted ceiling is pretty flexible just because of the height of the wall.
I would not loose sleep over this.
 

dcny6923

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Thank you Neal,

Yes, you are correct it is plumb, I looked at the report.

I've been keeping an eye on these things. The door which has a diagonal-ish crack forming from the top left corner is now sticking. It is sticking at the top left corner.

It wasn't sticking several weeks ago. One thing I can thank of is that it has been really humid in my area (NJ) for the past few days. It sticks less in the mornings and sticks more during the afternoon. So I assume that there is some contraction/expansion due to humidity. Though last summer when we had a humid spell, this door did not stick nor did it have that crack forming. Would there be a explanation for this?
 

nealtw

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There are all kinds of things that can go wrong, from the real simple to great problems. If you can't find a problem with the foundation, it could be settling of one sort or another. You would likely have to open the framing and add shims, but if it is not bad enough to have a good idea of what is happening.

At this point I would rent a laser level and check the room, if you have hard wood floor you could measure down and record any spots that are not level and find how much it is out. And when you think it has gotten worse check the level again, then we start looking at what windows and roof loads are effecting the area to be able to make a good guess as to what to look into.
Some times it can be something as simple as the foundation was not completely level and the plywood on the outside holds everything up for a time and then you get late settling or a heavy point load from the roof crushing some lumber below..
 

dcny6923

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Thanks Chrisn and Neaeltw,

I've been monitoring this everyday. When it is not very humid, the door does not stick, but the space between the door and the frame is paper thin so I am guessing that once humidity picks up so will the sticking.

Now that notion of "great problems" sounds scary, I went into the attic but couldn't see anything out of place. Perhaps I am just not knowledgeable enough to spot a potential issue. Then I went to the basement, and I do notice a small crack is forming. See the attached picture. The left side of the crack is where the door was sticking but on the 2nd floor. I cant see anything on the 1st floor.

Could this crack be the possible cause? I've noticed it get wider since we bought the house, it started as something barely visible.

As always thanks in advance for the feedback.

20160603_172741.jpg
 

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