LESLIE: Now we welcome Ed from Florida who listens to The Money Pit on WCOA who’s got a cracking tile situation.
What’s going on, Ed? How can we help?
ED: Yes, I’ve got what looks like a settling problem. I’ve got 12x12-inch slate tile.
LESLIE: So this is on the floor.
ED: It is on the first floor. And when we bought the house, I think that there was a fine crack maybe about 6 inches and now it’s 3 feet east and about 3 feet north.
TOM: Wow. So this was originally a small, 6-inch crack and now it’s 3 foot by 3 foot?
TOM: Hmm, that’s not good.
ED: No, it doesn’t sound good. But it’s in the center of the house, so I – and of course we’re in Florida and so we’re on sand and I suspect it’s just settling and …
TOM: How old is this house?
ED: House is 25 years old. We bought it about five years ago.
TOM: Well, I’ll tell you. It shouldn’t be settling after 25 years unless there’s some condition that’s causing it to move. Like for example, if you had a broken sprinkler pipe or something like that under the soil where the water was sort of getting in under the floor and making the soil more unstable, then that could cause some movement in the floor.
ED: It’s a possibility because, as you know, we’ve had a number of hurricanes in the last two, three years; severe hurricanes. And we’ve had three (ph) huge oak trees uprooted and of course we had (overlapping voices, inaudible).
TOM: Ah, yeah. Yeah, that kind of thing does disturb the soil. Because remember, when you get soil wet, it becomes very, very loose. If you walk across your yard after a rainfall, you sink, you step in mud. Because wet soil is not stable and dry soil is stable. So if you have water that gets under that space, that can disturb it and cause movement. Now, theoretically, when you fix the leak – stop the leak, dry out the soil – that’s not going to get any worse. But it could have caused voids in the soil as it leaked and, in that case, you could be seeing the settlement as the foundation settles back into those voided areas.
ED: Thank you very much for taking my call.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.