What does it mean when a house settles? This is when different parts of a house (the foundation, the wood, and even the soil underneath) shift due to environmental changes, such as wood or concrete losing small amounts of moisture over time, or the weight of the house compressing the soil it sits on.
Why Do Houses Settle?
When we talk about owning or purchasing a home, one of the most important aspects to consider is why houses settle. Settlement occurs when a home is shifting or sinking due to soil instability or the forces of gravity. Whether a house is newly built or has been standing for decades, it doesn’t matter; homes can settle over time and cause serious structural damage. Knowing the reasons why houses settle can help homeowners better identify and address the issue before extensive injuries occur.
Settling primarily occurs due to soil movement underneath or around the house. The most common cause is gravity, which over time can slowly pull the house down into the ground. Settling also occurs when soil becomes compacted or eroded due to poor construction or drainage issues. This can make the earth beneath the house unstable and the added weight of the house can cause it to move or sink. In areas where the soil is mostly clay-like, there can be a settling problem when the ground becomes saturated with moisture. This is because the clay will expand when wet and the house will have to adjust to this sudden change in volume or pressure.
Another cause of settlement is the age of the home. Over time, a home will experience a natural ‘settling in’ period where it