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Why is my house cracking?! Lowdown on house settlement

We moved into our first home nearly 2 months ago.


We've noticed several issues around the house including hairline cracks.

If we hadn’t been told by the foreman that this was a natural occurrence in new homes known as the “house settling” I would’ve been concerned.

Well, I am a bit concerned as I see visible cracks but it’s all going to be fixed.

So now we have post it’s stuck across our whole home with all the areas that need to be fixed by the contractors who built the home.

What does it mean when a house is “settling”?

According to Mbuso Mahlanga of Cosmopolitan Projects, “[the] settling process can take up to three years and is a normal part of the change in temperature, the drying out of the cement, plaster, bricks and so on”.

When your home is being constructed there is a lot of water involved. It’s mixed in with the cement, and within the wooden frame. In fact, the average home contains around 4,000 litres which slowly but surely evaporates, and the house shrinks ever so slightly.

This shrinkage causes gaps in flooring, and hairline cracking in the cornices. (the ornamental trim where the ceiling meets the wall), and walls.


As mentioned, the cement also shrinks. According to Ask The Builder, “for every ten feet of concrete that are poured, be it a wall or a slab, it will shrink 1/16th of an inch in about a year's time”.

What can we do about it?

I’ve put post it notes on all areas of the house that need to be repaired by the developer, and I contacted their maintenance team. All the contractors have been in touch to schedule a date, and time they will come in to repair the issues.

Within 6 weeks we’ve identified the hairline cracking, grout cracking in the laundry, floor skirting detaching, paint that’s too thin in one area, an air bubble in the wooden door, and a tile detaching.


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