House shaking when train goes by

I am looking for a direction to look . I have a house (colonial) that I will be looking at on Monday the 29th of july. The owner is complaing about the house shaking when the train goes by , other neighbors have no problems. The owner also stated that the hardwood floors on firdt floor are separating . she had a foundation company come check the foundation all is good they said .
Also had a gen. Contractor come out and put an additional column in basement no luck same problem. I am leaning towards going straight to attic and look at rafters . Any other suggestions from anyone?

If the house if vibrating when heavy equipment moves through the area… refer it to a “Soils Engineer”.
No offense but, It is doubtful you will be able to do anything but waste time and money.


I agree with JJ. However it completely amazes me why a inspector thinks he can figure it out.
Sometimes I wonder why I even read posts like this. Really


After reading literally thousands of posts like this, I have come to one simple conclusion… “Too much time on their hands”. (No offense Todd).

Brother JJ. Give me a call please. You’re about the only other one that I haven’t spoke to. It would be a pleasure speaking with you sir. 386-454-1584.
I searched your website and can never find a phone number for you. What’s up with that?

I would say Jeff’s answer with referring this issue to a soils engineer would be good advice from a guy who seems to be in the major league of home inspectors. Roy I see you respond in some of these forums that shows your knowledge is above most also. But I give Todd credit, good for him trying to do extra for the client, I feel clients see that and will acknowledge and recommend his efforts to others, maybe it is out of the scope of a home inspector but it won’t hurt to try to help the person figure it out, at least I don’t think so I suppose you never know who will expect an answer then accuse him if he is wrong. I am not a mechanic but when I see someones car is broke down with there hood open I will try to help figure out there problem and I realize it is different because I am not getting paid and Todd would be, but I don’t see it being wrong for Todd to show he cares a little bit.


I have built a lot of buildings that are on a sandy soil and a high water table, approximately 15’-25’ down.
As a matter of fact is was a train station and every time a train came by, it would shake under your feet. Another time, when a roller compactor was compacting the roadway, we had complaints from neighbors that stuff was falling of their shelves.
It was easy to conclude that the shaking contributed to the high water table and sandy subsurface.
Just like whale sounds travel for miles, the vibrations in that type of subsurface does the same thing.

As usual, some are not going to believe me, but that is how it works.
Hard ledge areas transmit the same vibrations.


I am not an HVAC tech or even close but I had a client of my home repair and maintenance business ask me to replace his top cover panel. I told him I can’t get that part and recommended 2 other HVAC tech’s he could call. Well they both said they could not help him with a replacement part and both said in no way would they try to repair the cracked top panel because the motor and fan is hanging off of it, and I get it: liability issues. Well I told the guy I would fix it and I welded together 4 cross bars that would span across the heat pump and I mounted the motor to my cross bars with the cover panel sandwiched in between the motor and cross bars, it has been a year ago and no issues. I actually just checked on it today while I was there for another job. I am good with a little challenge, If I was in Todd’s position I would try to figure it out not just turn my back and say not for me. But again Roy you have worked circles around me so maybe you know something I don’t about opening my mouth and it could cost me. I hope this don’t sound like I want to argue because I really don’t I am just saying my thoughts.


If it happened to me during a home inspection and the client asked me my opinion… I’d most likely say that she should realize this is something that is NEVER going to go away, furthermore it is far outside the standards of a home inspection and the scope of my license. Every house I lived in, in Jersey City rattled when the trains went by.


Uh… are you feeling ok??
From my 3 primary sites… top of Home pages…

Also… I’ve spoken with you a few times over the last few years! Proof? Your Florida ‘twang’ drives me nutz!! I can barely understand you!!

Fine… how about tomorrow afternoon, or Monday morning??
I’m in the midst of creating a new Commercial template for a job Tuesday, and I don’t like any of my current templates… and it’s pizzing me off, so not in a mood for your ‘twang’ right now!! LOL. :wink:

This is difficult to determine because everyone has different sensitivity and tolerance for vibrations. Variables such as amplitude, duration, distance from source, air induced vibration vs ground induced plus human sensitivity all play a part. Google “human sensitivity to ground vibration” is a good place to start.

No offense taken , and no I do not have to much time on my hands. This is a favor to a personal friend who is one of my best Real estate agents. The problem is not an on going it just started a month ago . The owner has lived there for 15 yrs. Never felt it before, so they are concerned about a possible problem. And fyi the train tracks are about 1/4 mile away. No one else on either side of the home feel the shaking. I am not there to “figure it out” but to check for any problems that could be surfacing.

Taking care of future buisness for my agent who feeds me work. If a few of the people on here think thats a bad thing then they must have all the work they need until they retire.


Not looking to fix anything , the client just wants to make sure there is not a problem that has surfaced . The client has lived there for many yrs. Never felt it before , also the tracks are about 1/4 mile away. So its not like the train is in her back yard.
A waste of time no, not really its a friend of one of my best agents who feeds my a lot of work so yes I will do this for future work which coukd pay off in the long run

I’m sure you understood I was speaking ‘generally’ and was wasn’t attacking you.
Keep us informed if you discover anything of interest.
Good luck.

Simple: The house needs a suspension.

Why are we looking at the roof when the thing that connects the dots is the ground (as Marcel pointed out)?

Make note of Randy’s post. There are several potential causes and even more perceptions from the occupant.

To correct the problem would cost 100x the value of the house. Move it or tear it down.

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You are confusing me with someone else. I have no southern accent.

In addition I was wanting to talk to you yesterday…If I have a chance I’ll give you a call sometimes this week maybe…It’s no big deal.

Excuse me? I never said ‘Southern accent’. I said… Florida ‘twang’! Yes, there’s a difference.
Just like I don’t have a heavy Midwest accent (born/raised in Chicago). Whenever I hear myself on a recording like voicemail, I always wonder “Who the hell is that”?? LOL.
Sorry, about yesterday. Call me later this week if you get time. I am traveling Monday afternoon and Wednesday morning for Tuesdays Commercial job. Should be in office Thursday/Friday writing the report, unless I get bored and need some fishing activity or sumtin’! :wink:

What has me concerned is the hardwood flooring on first floor is seperating I want to look at the wall seams for cracks also check second floor for similar problems.

If only trains had wings…