We offer expert design & remodeling services. We can guide your project from concept to completion.
We expect that our houses are built on solid ground, but several times a year we receive calls from clients telling us that their doors have shifted or their tile grout has cracked. Locally, the soil that supports our homes is not as solid as we expect. The seasonal shift from dry, cracked soils in the summer, to wet, saturated soil in the fall and winter can lift and shift our houses by small amounts. Alternately the reverse happens every summer as the soil dries, dropping buildings a similar amount. As a remodeler who warrants our work, it is not always easy to mitigate these problems. Here are the solutions that we use most often:
1. Exterior doors should be specified with an adjustable sill and threshold to allow for seasonal shifts. Door lock strike plates should have room for movement as well.
2. Grout joints for tiled corners on exterior walls should be filled using a flexible grout caulk instead of rigid grout. Cracked grout at the kitchen backsplash is a common complaint, so we tell our clients to expect this to happen, assuring them that we will return during the first year to re-caulk the joint.
3. We recommend that you have a good foundation and gutter drainage system to move rainwater away from your foundation.
4. If you are considering a home purchase, always have the foundation inspected for cracks as they are a sign of shifting soils. Likewise drywall or plaster cracks are an indication of movement and should be addressed.
Keep in mind that some cracks are normal after construction and should be corrected by your contractor under warranty during the first year. Also be glad that our soils in the Willamette Valley do not move like the San Andreas Fault area of California; one more good reason to live here!