I well remember several lawsuits where homes were moving due to soils movement. This may not sound like a problem. If all parts of a house all move the same distance together at the same time and in the same direction, then there might not be a problem. However, experience shows that house movement due to expansive soils is often not uniform. Some parts of a house might move while other parts remain still. This can create dramatic results. When this happens, one part of a house may literally pull away from the rest of the house. There can be visible evidence of such a separation. Interior components can start separating, such as hardwood floors, or sheetrock may start to crack. Kitchen counters can pull away from the walls. Siding can start pulling away from the home. Concrete may develop serious cracks. Foundations can start to slowly move and buckle. I’ve seen sheetrock crack so much that you could insert your arm in the wall all the way to your elbow. It’s really dramatic. And it’s really unpleasant for the homeowners. They never envision such a thing when they buy their home. When they purchased it, their home looked beautiful, undamaged, and attractive. But their experiences with such homes can often be very different from their expectations.
Sometimes homeowners lie awake at night and listen to their house as the framing creaks and pops due to the movement. Ultimately, some of these homeowners end up selling their homes for whatever they can get. They aren’t able to withstand the process of seeing their homes literally coming apart at the seams. Sometimes such homes can be fixed, and sometimes they can’t be. But it’s often very expensive when foundation or soils repairs must be made. In some situations the proposed repair is to literally separate the entire house from the foundation, jack the house up into the air, remove the entire foundation and replace it with a new one. The house is then to be lowered back into place.
Fortunately, many houses never experience this kind of movement, and as a result many homeowners are completely oblivious to this kind of a situation. But when situations of this nature arise, the effects can be really dramatic.