How Long Does It Take For A New House To Settle
Building a new house is an exciting journey. But, the process does not end after the construction is finished. It takes some time for a new house to settle before it becomes a comfortable home for its owners. How long does it take for a new house to settle? This depends on several factors, such as the construction materials, climate, and soil condition. In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about new house settling and answer some frequently asked questions.
What is House Settling?
House settling, also known as foundation settling, is a process that occurs after the construction of a new house. The settling process involves the house adjusting to the changes in the soil underneath it. The weight of the house can cause the soil to compress, and this can lead to cracks in the walls and foundation. During the settling process, the house will shift and move until it finds a stable position. Once the house has settled, it will be more resistant to damage from environmental factors like earthquakes and heavy rain.
How Long Does It Take For a New House to Settle?
The amount of time it takes for a new house to settle varies based on several factors. One of the most significant factors is the type of soil on which the house is built. Soil is a complex mixture of sand, clay, silt, and other organic and inorganic matter. The type of soil can impact how much the house will settle, how fast it will settle, and whether it will settle evenly. Here are a few common soil types and their settling tendencies:
Sandy soil is a common soil type found in coastal regions. Sandy soils are made up of large grains of sand and do not have much organic matter. Because of their loose nature, sandy soils tend to settle less than other soil types. This means that houses built on sandy soil may take less time to settle than houses built on other soil types.
Clay soil is a type of soil that is made up of very fine grains. Because of its dense nature, clay soil can absorb a lot of moisture, causing it to expand and contract. Houses built on clay soil are more likely to settle unevenly, and the settling process can take longer. It can take anywhere from 6 months to a year for a new house built on clay soil to settle completely.
Rocky soil can be a challenging soil type to build on because it is uneven and hard, making it difficult to dig foundations. However, once a house is built on rocky soil, it may take less time to settle than houses built on other soil types. This is because rocky soil generally does not compress as much as other soil types, leading to less settling.
Factors That Affect House Settling
Aside from soil type, several other factors can affect how long it takes for a new house to settle. These factors include:
The climate in which the house is built can impact how long it takes for the house to settle. In hot and dry climates, the soil can shrink and cause the house to settle faster. In contrast, in wet climates, soil can expand and contract, causing slow settling. Extreme temperature changes can also cause a new house to settle more quickly than in more moderate climates.
The building materials used to construct a new house can also affect how long it takes to settle. Houses built with heavier materials like brick and stone may take longer to settle than houses built with lighter materials like timber and plasterboard.
The foundation is the most critical part of the house when it comes to settling. A foundation that is not properly laid can lead to uneven settling, cracks in the walls, and other problems. The type of foundation used will also impact how long it takes for the house to settle. Houses built on a slab foundation may take more time to settle than houses built on pier and beam foundations.
Signs That Your House Is Settling
During the first few months or years of a new home, it is natural to notice some changes in the way the house looks and feels. Here are some signs that your house is settling:
Cracks in Walls
One of the most common signs of house settling is cracks in the walls. These cracks may appear near the corners of doors and windows or on the ceiling. Over time, the cracks may grow larger, and it is important to keep an eye on them to ensure that they do not signal a larger issue.
Doors and Windows Don’t Open or Close Easily
As the house settles, you may notice that doors and windows no longer fit correctly. This can make them hard to open and close or cause them to stick in the frame.
Uneven floors are another common sign of house settling. You may notice that one side of the house is higher than the other, or that the floors slope in one direction.
How Can I Tell If My House is Still Settling?
If your new home is less than two years old and you notice cracking in the walls, uneven floors, or doors and windows not opening correctly, it may still be settling. It is important to have a professional builder assess the situation to determine if the settling is normal or if there is a larger issue.
Can I Still Decorate My New House While It is Settling?
Yes, you can still decorate your new house while it is settling. However, it is important to keep in mind that any changes you make may be impacted by the settling process. For example, if you paint your walls, you may notice that the paint cracks as the house settles.
How Do I Know If My House Settling Is Normal?
A small amount of settling is normal for any new home. However, if you notice large cracks in the walls, uneven floors, or other significant changes, it is important to have a professional builder assess the situation to ensure that the settling is within the normal range.
In conclusion, the settling process for a new house varies based on several factors, including soil type, climate, building materials, and foundation. Small changes in the home, such as cracks in the walls or uneven floors, are normal during the settling process. However, if you notice significant changes, it is important to seek the opinion of a professional builder. By understanding the settling process and being vigilant, you can ensure that your new home is safe and comfortable for years to come.