Fairbanks house settlement (C) Daniel Friedman Sinking Buildins & Floor FAQS
Questions & Answers on Causes of Building Settlement

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Sinking or settling building questions & answers:

This article presents questions & answers about sinking buildings, significant building settlement, cracking, or movement, including sinking building causes, diagnosis, and repair information.

This artricle series explains causes of building settlement or sinking (distinct from sinkholes), and gives building and site inspection advice useful in identifying areas where there is an increased risk of building settlement.

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FAQs about Causes Of & Cures For Soil Subsidence & Building Movement Not Due to Sinkholes

Sinking house cracks (C) Daniel FriedmanQuestion: settling of modular home related to horizontal drilling by gas company?

(Dec 2, 2015) Joanne said:

Four and a half years ago I purchased a modular home and a piece of land that required excavation for a basement and tree clearing.

There has been normal settlement cracks in some areas of the house. However, the main beams in the middle of the house have recently appeared along the floor of the living room and master bedroom. For the past 8 months there has been HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling) 90 feet from the house.

I am not sure how I can prove this to the Gas Company that performed the drilling or what needs to be fixed and the associated risks if it is not fixed. Can you please help me? Thank you kindly!

If you are able to email me a response at, that would be greatly appreciated!



You will need an on site foundation and geotechnical engineer.

Horizontal drilling, IF it were passing below your home's foundation and IF it were not located deep below the home, might have an impact on the structure, but I'm doubtful since the diameter of displaced soil by horizontal drilling ought to be rather small. Certainly if cracking and movement continue and more if those events appear to correlate in time with the drilling process then one would be more concerned

(Dec 3, 2015) Joanne Nelson said:

Thank you very much! Fortunately, I had a foundation inspection by the gas company before they started drilling in April and there were 3 hairline cracks at that time. As of today, I have noted and photographed 13 as further evidence.

I am grateful for your assistance! Enjoy your holidays:)

(mod) said:
Use the page bottom CONTACT link if you want to send me photos for comment. It's good you got a "before" assessment - a critical step.

Now we (your engineer will) need to assess

- the impact on the structure
- safety of the structure including risk of collapse or electrical or gas system hazards caused by movement - these can be URGENT
- proper repair needed to stabilize the structure - perhaps using mud jacking or helical piers

Keep me posted

(Dec 4, 2015) Joanne said:

Thank you Dan. I just sent an email with pictures to

Question: normal cracking in a recently-built home ceiling?

(Dec 9, 2015) Travis said:
Hi, I was wondering if you guys could tell me if it is normal for a recent build(2mo old) to have noticeable cracking in the garage and upstairs ceiling? I can give more details if needed. Thank you Travis



Some interior cracking in drywall is normal in new construction; the extent depends on variables such as type of framing and lumber moisture content when the building was framed (and other things). If you see cracks into which you can stick a pencil something is seriously wrong.

An expert can look at the size, location, pattern of cracks and other building and site features to assess the situation; But I'd start by asking the builder to take a look.

If you want to send me photos use the page bottom CONTACT link

Question: Buying a home that has had a floor collapse on one side

(Mar 19, 2016) Mimi said:

I try to buy a house rent to own but one side of the house floor collapse down to the foundation I am looking for some advise before I put myself in that deal
.please help me out.



See the EXPERTS DIRECTORY at page top and obtain a thorough building inspection so that you have an idea of all of the costly and/or dangerous topics that need to be addressed.

Question: 50-100 year old test pits to look for iron ore: impact on construction site

(Apr 6, 2016) Mark said:

I own a vacant residential lot in PA with a unique history. Apparently, 50-100 years ago they dug a test pit looking for iron ore and then abandoned the pit when no ore was found. The pit was then used by the Township to dump some construction debris before they filled it in with uncompacted fill. A house was built on the fill in 1968 and was demolished in 2012 due to subsidence issues.

I'd love to do SOMETHING with the property. The geo-engineering report says that there is "no presumptive load bearing capacity" for this fill pretty much down to the bedrock at 45-65 ft.

Are there any types of foundation systems off the top of your head that would enable one to build a house on a property such as this. I'm only looking for ideas and educated guesses here before I speak with an expert.



You need a plan from an engineer who has made an on-site inspection, reviewed the reports, understands the plot plan, location, local zoning rules etc. Options range from a 65 ft. driven pier system to a floating slab of sufficient size to carry loads to beams spanning the test pit.

Also see Multipoint Foundation Repair for Settling Foundations discussed at FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS

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