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Can My House Collapse From Foundation Issues?

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Coming home from Lowe’s to see a crack in your stucco isn’t the most comfortable feeling in the world. As you inspect your home, you see cracks on your ceiling, windows and doors are harder to shut, and you feel your floor slope as though you’re undergoing vertigo. You might be asking yourself, “is my house falling apart?”

And if you don’t know what’s happening, that’s a reasonable concern to have. However, the possibility of your house collapsing from foundation settlement is highly unlikely. It would take years with incredible disregard and negligence to the home. 

But again, it could happen. Dalinghaus Construction wants you to know how unlikely it is, what circumstances could cause your home to collapse, and what to do if you’re still concerned about your home.

Dalinghaus Construction has been in the foundation repair business since 2015, inspecting over 10,000 homes and repairing 2,000 for homeowners who haven’t needed to worry about their homes collapsing. If a home was on the verge of collapse, we wouldn’t have our production teams take on the project. We’ve repaired homes that have settled more than 14-inches and were red-tagged, which is rare. We understand what it would take for your home to collapse from foundation settlement. 

Signs and symptoms of foundation settlement

Foundation settlement is when an area of your house starts to sink due to movement in the soil from moisture. 

Common signs and symptoms 

  • Drywall cracks
  • Stucco cracks
  • Concrete slab cracks
  • Ceiling cracks
  • Tile cracks
  • Chimney cracks
  • Leaning chimney
  • Sloping floors
  • Doors and windows are hard to open and close
  • Water leaks

Any of these signs on their own aren’t an indication of foundation settlement. If you see multiple signs, there’s a higher chance you’re experiencing foundation settlement. 

Also, these signs will be cosmetic issues. They can be structural if the signs and symptoms are larger and more prominent.

For example, seeing a ceiling crack isn’t a structural issue, especially if it’s a hairline crack. However, if you see light come into your room from a wide gap in your ceiling, you probably have a structural issue. 

Living in a house with foundation issues is generally safe. 

For a better understanding of these signs and symptoms and what they mean, you need to check out our Ultimate Guide to Signs and Symptoms of a Home in Need of Foundation Repair. 

The likelihood of your house collapsing from foundation settlement

It is incredibly unlikely. The likelihood of a house collapsing is slim. It’s possible but slim.

Dalinghaus Construction has dealt with only a few houses that have been near that point. This is out of over 2,000 projects we’ve worked on since 2015.

You’ll know if your house is getting to that point of collapse, though often it would take something like a seismic event to make a house collapse. Settlement alone wouldn’t cause a home to collapse. 

A settling high rise has a higher possibility to collapse due to the weight. One or two-story homes are significantly less likely to collapse from settlement.

We worked on and lifted a home that settled 14-inches on a hillside that was still considered safe. If the house was on the brink of collapse and considered dangerous, we would not do work and put our team in danger. 

For a house to collapse from foundation settlement alone, you would have to wait hundreds of years on this mortal plane of existence for something to happen. 

Read more: How Many Helical Piers Do I Need For My Foundation Repair?

Are there properties more likely to have collapsing homes?

We’ve seen hillside properties collapse. We haven’t seen anything on flat lots.

This happens with homes on hills that experience washout – the soil under the home goes ‘bye bye’ due to the movement of moisture. 

This might happen from a very heavy rainstorm or a sprinkler leak that hasn’t been addressed. Almost like a mudslide, but moving much slower. 

Even in this circumstance, a house collapsing is still very uncommon. Even with unlivable conditions, there are very few per year. Less than one percent. 

Again, it will be something top-heavy that causes leaning or so heavy that it causes deep settlement followed by leaning. 

It can happen from very unstable soils or an earthquake, too. The magnitude of the earthquake would have to be very high for a collapse to happen. 

A city can intervene and red-tag your home before your house is on the verge of collapse

The city would have to know or see it before the city deems your home unlivable. Maybe if someone drives by or someone calls the city to inform them of a potentially dangerous home.

A house being red-tagged doesn’t necessarily mean a home is dangerous to live in from something like a collapse. It means the home isn’t considered liveable. 

You know how unlikely it is for your house to collapse from foundation issues. If you’re not convinced, have foundation repair companies evaluate your foundation

You’ve learned about the signs and symptoms of foundation issues, the likelihood of your home collapsing from foundation settlement, and the types of properties that are more likely to collapse. If you still have that inkling your home could collapse from foundation settlement, there is no shame in having someone come out and take a look

If you’re seeing the sunlight come through your ceiling or drywall, schedule someone to come to check your property immediately

And there’s no shame in stopping there. Have multiple contractors come out to inspect your foundation. That way you can see a variation in opinions, costs, methodologies of repair, and can see if you get a good feeling about a company. 

You can start with Dalinghaus Construction – after you check to see we’re licensed and insured – to schedule a FREE evaluation to see if your foundation has settled and it may affect your walls.

Read the article Should You Get Multiple Foundation Repair Bids? (How You Benefit) to see how receiving multiple bids works in your favor.

For any questions, call Dalinghaus Construction at (877)360-9277, or click the button below to schedule your free foundation evaluation today!


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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