LESLIE: Kim in Colorado is having a hard time with her basement floor. Tell us about the problem.
Basement Floor Shifting
KIM: OK. I moved into my house about four years ago. It’s a new build and the control joints in my basement and in my garage are starting to rise up.
KIM: And I didn’t know if – I’ve been told that basement floors, it’s normal for them to be uneven; but it just seems rather odd to me. So I’m not really sure if – is it normal and if not, what is there – what can I do to get it fixed?
TOM: Do you see any cracking or anything of that nature or is it really just the joint that’s rising up?
KIM: There is some cracking; not a whole lot. It’s more so the joints.
TOM: Is it at the point where it’s a tripping hazard?
KIM: It’s not a tripping hazard but it’s noticeable.
KIM: Now that we’ve laid carpet over it, you can definitely see it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. Yeah. Is it the filler between the joints or is it the concrete itself?
KIM: I think it’s the concrete itself; the slab seems to be rising up right where the control joints are.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Hmm. Well, you could be getting some movement in the slab; it’s not terribly unusual. Those slabs are really not set on the footings; they’re really just set on the dirt so if the area around the house gets saturated, if the soil is damp, you could get some movement. And you’re going to get some settlement. How old is this basement area? How old is this house?
KIM: It’s four years old.
TOM: Yeah. Then that doesn’t surprise me at all. I think that this is probably normal settlement and I don’t think it’s indicative of a major structural problem, Kim.
KIM: Oh, wonderful. Well that’s good news. Thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Keep an eye on it. If you see anything that looks a little more dramatic, then the next thing I would do is I would contact a professional home inspector and have them take a look at it. I wouldn’t go to a contractor because they’re just going to try to sell you a new floor.
KIM: OK. Now, do you know, on a new build, is this something that’s under warranty with a new – or with a contractor?
TOM: Good question. Good question because new builds in many states have 10-year structural warranties but, unfortunately, the basement floor is not part of the structure because it’s not load-bearing.
KIM: Oh, wonderful.
TOM: So I doubt that it would be covered by a warranty. And don’t get too worked up about it because, frankly, those warranties – the builders tend to wrap them around you like they’re warm blankets. I always say they’re wet blankets because they’ve got a lot of holes in them. (Leslie chuckles)
KIM: OK. Alright. Well, thank you so much for your information. I do appreciate it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re welcome, Kim. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.