What is settlement movement?

Posted by Brad Porteus on 17 December 2013

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Settlement movement is the normal movement in a property which can be caused by many factors. Settlement movement occurs to some degree in all properties throughout their life.

Contributing factors to the property’s settlement movement are:

  • The roof structure’s will move slightly due to changes in temperature causing expansion and contraction of the roof framing. This movement can pull or push the walls of the home and cause minor cracking.
  • The Stormwater drainage around the home can be a major cause for both internal and external settlement cracks. If the property doesn’t have satisfactory stormwater drainage, water can pool around the foundations of the home and cause minor movement in the foundations of the property. Existing Stormwater drainage can also become blocked or fill with soil. If the drains are overflowing in wet weather then they need to be checked for blockages and cleaned out.
  • Vibrations from neighbouring construction or excavations can cause minor movements in the foundation of an existing home which in turn causes both internal and external cracking.

Settlement cracks usually appear above and below the window and door frames, around the ceiling cornices and between floors in multiple storey properties. Whilst Settlement cracks do not usually pose structural problems to a property, all cracks should be inspected to determine their cause and ensure they are of no structural concern. Settlement crack repairs should be a part of a property’s annual maintenance plan.