Building Homes or Extensions/noise,


QUESTION: Hi,it's a long story but we had some roof work done over the porch area. The work was done very poorly and I am sure they left some rotten wood over the porch area. The thing is I keep hearing the house settling in almost every room.Sometimes the noise comes from the walls and sometimes the roof.  My question is if the people who fixed the leak over the porch area did leave rotten wood on our roof could that effect the whole roof system and be causing these
noises? Thanks

ANSWER: Hello, Helen.

From your description, it sounds like you have two distinct problems: a bad repair job on the roof over your porch, and settling of your home. Not knowing when the roof work was done, it's hard to tell what happened.

Of course, you should also contact the company that did the repair work and clearly state your dissatisfaction in writing, asking them to fix the problem or give you a refund of your investment. Poor workmanship can be addressed if your state requires contractors to be licensed, and if you hired a licensed contractor to do the work, because you can file a complaint against the contractor with the Contractors' Board. It's better to file a complaint sooner rather than waiting -- there may be a time limitation imposed on complaints. This will require you to do some research, so you know what to do next. My experience is that state contractors' boards are there to help consumers. They don't want a bad contractor to give all contractors a bad reputation.

I'm concerned that you're hearing the house settling in other areas. Assuming that these areas are not adjacent to the porch, I can't imagine that the porch roof would be causing the settling. If you live in an area of the country that's been suffering from extreme winter weather, the soil conditions may have changed that's causing the settling. If your home is old, and the roof over your porch was rotted, it could be a warning sign that other parts of your roof are suffering from rotting and/or termites.

A clear sign that there is settling is new cracks in your ceiling, and walls around doors and windows. Anther sign of settling is if you're having a hard time opening and closing doors and windows.

The only way to diagnose what's going on is to pay a structural engineer in your area to investigate your home from the foundation up to the attic. This person should provide a thorough report of the problems discovered and what needs to be done to fix the problems. A contractor could also do the investigation, but I caution you against this, because an unscrupulous contractor can contrive more serious problems, just to get the job of fixing the problems. If you have a chapter of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) or NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) in your area, they can refer you to qualified contractors. Here are links to their websites: and

Wishing you the best of luck solving your problems, so you can live safely and securely in your home.


Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ
D. P. Design


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

roof repair
roof repair  
QUESTION: Thank you so much for answering my question. Like I said it a very long story but our roof isn't leaking any more but I did see discolored wood before the roofer put the shingles on, but they said the water moved fast so it wasn't rotted. I guess all I can do is keep a eye out to see if it leaks again, plus I did take a picture of the wood before they put the shingles on. About the noise, we live in florida and our grass is dead, me and my mom can't afford sprinklers so when it rains the water comes right up against the house, I wonder if that could be the problem?

You're welcome, Helen.

Water does discolor wood. Dry rot happens when moisture doesn't evaporate, stays on wood for a long time and makes it soft. I had a project not long ago where there was so much serious dry rot, the contractor could easily punch a hole in the wood framing with just his fist. If the contractor covered over rotted wood with a new roof, there's no way to tell what will happen in the future. The picture you sent shows severely-discolored wood, but it's hard to diagnose dry rot from a picture.

Hearing the house settling is a totally different noise from hearing rain hit your house. House settling noises are a creaking that doesn't last very long, and can happen when it's dry or raining. My suggestion, to help you diagnose the problem, is to keep a log of when you hear the noises: The date and time, and the weather conditions. If you see cracks in your walls or ceiling that were mentioned in my earlier answer, or doors and windows that stick, that's a clear sign there's settling.

I've seen reports of sink holes that occur in parts of Florida, which has the highest incidence of sink holes compared to all other states. The U.S. Geological Survey has information about sink holes in Florida: There are numerous other resources available on the internet, such as this article:

As stated in my previous answer, you have multiple problems simultaneously. Time and patience will help you discover what's happening, and how to solve the problems.

Good luck, Helen. Hope you find the reasons for all of your problems, and are able to resolve everything so you and your mother can live peacefully, safely, and securely.


Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ
D. P. Design

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Diane Plesset


I will answer questions about designing and building a new home, building an addition, remodeling a home, sustainability ("green" building and remodeling), aging-in-place, kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling. The goal is to help homeowners achieve ultimate satisfaction with all of their choices and decisions.


Over 25 years in residential design, construction, improvement, and remodeling. Hundreds of completed projects in all ranges of investment. Author of the award-winning book "THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling," host of "Today's Home" on Lifestyle WebRadio, and public speaker.

National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC)

THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling. Designer's Illustrated, Gentry, Interior Coordinator (Japan), Kitchen-Bath Business, Kitchen-Bath Design News, Oregonian, Portland Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, San Mateo Times, Statesman Journal

Degrees in residential interior design, bath design, kitchen design, and lighting design. To improve knowledge about codes, products, and trends that will affect homeowners, I regularly attend tradeshows, conferences, classes, and seminars, and read 7 major trade magazines and newsletters.

Awards and Honors
Certified Master Kitchen-Bath Designer (CMKBD), Certified Interior Designer (NCIDQ), Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (C.A.P.S.). AWARDS: Henry Adams, Chrysalis, Best of the Best, CoTY, Master Design, HBA Excellence. 2003 NABE Award for best how-to book.

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Please see the portfolio in my website,

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