How Often Do Houses Collapse? - Silent Signs to Look For

September 13, 2023

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How often do houses collapse? This is not an unusual question, especially for homeowners facing foundation repairs. Since some repairs can cost thousands of dollars, homeowners often wonder if they can live in a house with foundation damage. This includes the risk of collapse and other serious issues inside and outside the home.

The good news is that houses rarely collapse even with a damaged foundation. Building codes, inspections, and other safeguards often prevent collapsing. However, this doesn’t mean that property owners should ignore this risk! Damaged foundations can mean collapsed basement walls, interior floors, ceilings, and more.

Since a house collapse can happen, it’s good to know the signs to look for before it happens! Also, it’s good to know signs of floor collapse, basement wall damage, and the like. This information ensures you keep your home in good condition and safe for everyone.

Lastly, remember to consult with a foundation repair contractor near you as needed. Their expertise also ensures a strong foundation under your house. They can also note any signs of imminent collapse or other costly, dangerous issues.

how often do houses collapse

How Often Do Houses Collapse?

If you’re wondering, how often do houses collapse from foundation issues, the answer is less than 1% of the time! First, note that it takes years for foundation issues to become so serious that they risk a house collapsing. Second, the home’s framing and roof also help keep it upright. In turn, a house can often stay in place even with a weak foundation.

However, a property owner shouldn’t overlook foundation damage, as said. One reason is that a damaged foundation increases the risk of a house collapsing during an earthquake or other such disaster. Two, foundation damage such as cracks and leaks risk secondary issues around your property including:

  • Cracks in the foundation can lead to uneven settling, causing parts of the house to sink or shift. This can result in sloping floors, misaligned doors and windows, and other structural issues.
  • As the foundation shifts, it can cause cracks to appear in the walls and ceilings of the home.
  • Foundation problems can lead to doors and windows that stick or do not open and close properly.
  • Foundation movement can cause damage to plumbing and utility lines within the home. This can result in water leaks, gas line problems, and electrical issues.
  • Homes with foundation damage often have decreased property values because potential buyers may view them as risky investments. Repairing foundation damage can be expensive, and the existence of such problems can deter buyers.
  • Foundation damage can create gaps and cracks in the structure, allowing moisture to enter the home. This can lead to mold growth and other moisture-related issues, affecting indoor air quality and the health of occupants.
  • Openings created by foundation damage can provide entry points for pests such as termites and rodents, which can further damage the home.

What Are Signs a House Is Going to Collapse?

Now that you know better than to ignore foundation damage and other issues, check out the signs that a house might collapse. This can alert you when it’s time to call a foundation repair contractor near you.

  • Large, diagonal, or widening cracks in the foundation, walls, or ceiling can be indicative of structural problems. Pay particular attention to cracks that appear suddenly or grow over time.
  • Floors that sag or feel uneven when walking on them can be a sign of serious structural issues. This can result from foundation settlement or structural damage.
  • Doors and windows that suddenly become difficult to open or close, or are visibly misaligned with their frames, may be indicative of a shifting foundation.
  • Exterior walls that are visibly leaning or bowing outward can be a sign of structural instability.
  • If you notice gaps or separations between walls and the ceiling or floor, it could be a sign of structural movement.
  • A cracked or tilting chimney can indicate foundation problems or structural issues in the home.
  • Gaps between exterior doors and windows and their frames can be a sign of foundation movement.
  • Excessive moisture or mold growth in the basement or crawl space can indicate poor drainage, which may contribute to foundation problems.
  • Frequent pest infestations, especially termites, can indicate wood damage and structural instability.
  • If you notice that the house is settling unevenly, with some parts sinking lower than others, it's a sign of foundation settlement.
  • Large or multiple cracks in the foundation, particularly horizontal cracks, can indicate significant structural problems.
  • Unusual noises like loud creaking or popping sounds coming from the walls, floors, or ceiling can be a sign of structural stress.

a crumbling foundation

What Are the Signs of a Floor Collapse?

A floor collapse can be a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation. The signs of a floor collapse can vary depending on the cause and the type of construction, but here are some common signs to look for:

  • One of the most noticeable signs of a potential floor collapse is when the floor appears to sag or bow in the middle. This can be seen as a noticeable dip or depression in the floor's surface.
  • Visible cracks or splits in the floor surface, especially if they are large or appear suddenly, can be indicative of structural problems that may lead to a collapse.
  • While some squeaking and creaking is normal in wooden floors, excessive or sudden noises can be a sign of structural problems that may lead to a collapse.
  • If you can see damage, rot, or deterioration in the support beams or joists beneath the floor, it is a clear sign of structural problems that need immediate attention.
  • When you walk on the floor, if it feels excessively bouncy or flexes more than it should, it could indicate that the floor structure is compromised.
  • The presence of pests like termites or carpenter ants can weaken and damage wooden floors, making them susceptible to collapse.

Should You Buy a House With Foundation Damage?

Many people in the market for a new house wonder how often do houses collapse? In turn, you might be questioning if you should buy a house with foundation damage. There is no “one size fits all” answer but consider the severity and extent of the foundation damage. Minor cosmetic cracks or superficial issues may be manageable, while significant structural damage can be a substantial financial burden.

Also, it’s helpful to hire a qualified home inspector or structural engineer to thoroughly assess the property. They can provide an unbiased evaluation of the foundation's condition and its impact on the overall structural integrity of the house. Lastly, think about your long-term plans for the property. If you plan to live in the house for an extended period and can afford the repairs, it may be a viable option.

A Word From Our Foundation Repair Crew

Dayton Foundation Repair Experts is happy to explain how often do houses collapse? Hopefully we’ve offered some excellent advice on keeping your home safe. Also, if you’re near the city, call our Dayton foundation repair contractors for a FREE repair price quote. We offer expert fixes backed by a full warranty as well as needed waterproofing services. For more information, call us today.


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