House movement is a serious issue that can significantly affect your home. It can cause structural damage and, if left unchecked, lead to more serious trouble.

Understanding the factors that cause house movement will help you find the best course of action and protect your family and investments.

1. Rainfall, Extreme Heat or Cold. 

Weather patterns can have a significant impact on the movement of a house. Changes in temperature and wind cause pressure differentials between the inside and outside of a structure, leading to the expansion or contraction of the building materials.

For example, extreme heat can cause wood beams to expand, loosening connections between them and the rest of the structure, leading to movement and cracking.

On the other hand, extreme cold can cause wood beams and other building materials to contract, leading to them pulling away from each other and resulting in the house moving.

Rainfall can also cause shifts in a structure if too much water accumulates around its foundations. This is especially true for houses built on sloped ground or near bodies of water, such as a lake or river. Severe storms with high winds can put significant pressure on the sides and roof of a house which can cause movement.

Awareness of these potential weather-related issues is critical to homeowners and business owners, so they can take the best steps to protect their property.

2. Soil Conditions. 

The type of soil a house is built on also plays a role in its movement. Different types of soils have different levels of stability and can react differently to fluctuations in moisture content, temperature, and other environmental conditions.

Loose or sandy soils are particularly susceptible to erosion and shifting, which can cause a house to move over time if the proper precautions are not taken.

Clay soils, while more stable than loose soils, can also be prone to expansion and contraction when exposed to extreme temperatures or excessive rainfall.

When constructing a building, the soil must be adequately prepared before building houses to protect the property from future movement issues.

3. Poor Construction Practices. 

The materials and methods used to construct a house are also crucial in preventing movement. Poor quality materials or inadequate building techniques can make houses more vulnerable to the elements, leading them to move over time.

Inadequate foundations, poorly installed beams and joists, and other substandard construction practices can contribute to a house shifting or cracking.

When constructing a house, it’s critical to use high-quality materials and employ competent contractors to build the house to ensure it is built correctly and can withstand the test of time.

4. Lack Of External Surface Water Drainage

The lack of external surface water drainage can lead to a buildup of moisture underneath the house. This causes heavy pressure on the foundation, leading to the house’s movement and shifting. If left unchecked, this can cause severe structural damage to your home.

Additionally, water is highly corrosive and can eat away at foundations, causing them to weaken and become even more vulnerable to shifting. In some cases, the lack of external surface water drainage can cause flooding in your home, leading to further damage and costly repairs.

It is important to ensure that your home has adequate drainage systems to protect its foundations from any potential movement or shifting caused by a lack of external surface water drainage. Proper maintenance and regular inspections can help prevent costly damage that could otherwise be avoided.

Not only can the lack of external surface water drainage lead to structural damage, but it can also cause issues with pest infestations. Pests love moisture and will often make their way into your home in search of it, especially if there is no external surface water drainage.

Pests such as termites, ants, and cockroaches can cause structural damage to your home by eating away at wood and other materials and being a nuisance to you and your family. To prevent any pest infestations, it is vital to have a sound drainage system in place that will ensure moisture is kept away from your home.

To protect your home and its foundations, it is vital to ensure that there is adequate external surface water drainage in place. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent unexpected issues that could otherwise be avoided.

5. Tree Root Damage

Tree root damage can have several detrimental effects on the structure of a house. If the roots cause too much movement in the ground around a home, it can lead to structural problems such as foundation settlement and cracking.

This damage can deteriorate over time and cause further damage to other parts of your home. Additionally, tree roots growing beneath a house can affect the home’s drainage system, causing water to pool in certain areas and creating an environment where mould and mildew can thrive.

Tree roots can also cause damage to driveways and sidewalks as they expand over time and lift concrete sections. All these issues can be expensive to repair or replace if left uncontrolled.

It is essential to check your property for any tree root damage before it becomes a more significant issue.

6. Broken Underground Services/Pipes

Broken underground services or pipes can significantly impact a house’s stability. When these pipes are damaged, they can cause soil movement either above or below ground, resulting in subsidence or heaving. Subsidence is when the ground beneath a building starts to sink, while heaving is when it rises abruptly. This can cause significant structural damage to a house, and in some cases, it can render a property unsafe to live in.

It is essential to be aware of the signs that indicate underground services may be damaged or broken, as this can help you address the issue sooner and reduce the risk of further damage being caused.

Some common warning signs include sloping floors, cracking walls, and doors that no longer fit into their frames properly. 

If you suspect an issue with the underground services or pipes in your home, it is vital to get it checked out immediately and take the appropriate steps to fix any problems as soon as possible.

This may involve getting a structural engineer to assess the extent of the damage or contacting a contractor to repair any broken pipes. Getting a surveyor in to check before completing the purchase is essential if you’re buying a house and are concerned about potential issues with underground services.

By being aware of how broken underground services and pipes can affect your home and taking action when needed, you can reduce the risk of significant structural damage and ensure that your home remains safe and stable.

By understanding the six factors that can cause house movement, homeowners can take steps to protect their homes and ensure that they remain secure and safe for many years.


Taking preventive measures such as properly preparing the soil before construction, using quality materials, and following proper building practices can go a long way towards preventing movement in a home. In addition, monitoring weather patterns and being aware of environmental changes can help homeowners stay ahead of any potential issues. With the proper knowledge and precautions, homeowners can protect their homes from the movement for years to come.

If you’re in Adelaide, looking for experts that can check your house foundation – and rectify it if needed, please contact John at JR Southern Underpinning.