Settlement Causes


The settlement of a foundation occurs when the ground on which the building is built on, can no longer bear the weight of the building. “Cracked Houses” is the term used for buildings damaged by drought as the clay soil subsides.

Climatic conditions are the primary cause for the drying up of clay soil. A very hot and dry summer will effectively dry up the soil layer beneath the foundation, causing the building to sink and incurring a variety of damages.
In Quebec, the phenomenon is mainly concentrated in the St. Lawrence Valley. In the Greater Metropolitan Area, the problem has become endemic to very dry summers. According to Environment Canada, the summer of 2012 was the warmest in the past 65 years. Many buildings were affected by subsidence.
There are different signs indicating that a building has suffered subsidence as its foundation settles. In most cases, there are occurrences of cracks in a variety of locations. Here are the main symptoms of a settling foundation.



  • Cracks on the foundation walls
  • Cracks on exterior siding and around windows and doors
  • Warping of the door frames and / or windows
  • Detachment of the chimney
  • Joint openings on shared or adjoining walls
  • Sudden and/or rapid sinking (if the soil is very soft)