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Thread: Minor Soil Movement
03-23-2010, 08:56 PM #1
Minor Soil Movement
Client called saying she had cracks in between her hardwood floors. Client explains the cracks appear in winter with low humidity and disappear in summer with high humidity. Flooring contractor claims it is a foundation issue.
So I checked the crawlspace to find some minor soil movement. Particularly around the piers.
The cracks were 1.5 inches wide and 12 inches deep! The cracks were up to 5 feet long and were over an area approximately 12-15 feet square. Guess where the 1/8 inch cracks in the hardwoods were? Also notice the lack of vapor retarder.
Similar Threads:"The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."
03-24-2010, 05:37 PM #2
Re: Minor Soil Movement
Cracks and separations between boards
Nearly every floor endures some separation between boards. In winter, when homes are heated and the air is dry, wood flooring gives up some of its moisture and therefore shrinks. When that happens, thin cracks appear between. This is normal, and homeowners should be forewarned of this. It is acceptable, and customers should not be calling the installers at the first sign of cracks. Once the indoor heat goes off in the spring, and the indoor environment regains moisture, most of these cracks will close up.
Cracks in winter--in the drier months--may easily develop to the thickness of a dime (1/32 inch) for solid 2 1/4-inch wide strip oak floors. Floors with light stained woods and naturally light woods like maple tend to show cracks more than darker, wood-tone finished floors. The cure for cracks? Homeowners should add moisture to the air during dry periods. It's their choice-live with the cracks and wait until spring, or else add humidity by opening the dishwasher after a rinse cycle, switching off the bathroom fan or hanging laundry to dry in the basement near the furnace. Better yet, install a humidifier in the furnace, or an exterior air vent for the furnace burner.
If the footings were below the back fill material (the 12" deep is odd) it is most likely not an issue if there were no other signs of movement in the house, doors not closing, drywall cracks, etc...
03-25-2010, 01:15 PM #3
Re: Minor Soil Movement
The soil movement had jiggled the piers and opened up a crack 1/8 inch between some of the flooring. There was some other minor cracking of interiors.
I just had never seen cracks in crawlspace floors this extreme before.
"The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."