Ask Brownstoner

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Within a month or two of moving in to our house, we began noticing cracks in the paint along the molding along the stairs to the top floor. Our contractor at the time said it was no big deal — just a result of the stress of footsteps on the stairs. Although it sounds plausible, we thought we’d see if there was anything less benign that could be at work. Has this happened in your house?

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Our hallway floorboards are not in the best of shape. On the lower floors, there are a couple of patches where you can feel the floorboards flex a little when you walk on them, adding a little bounce to your step. On the top floor, they are more stable, but the whole hallway creaks a lot, which is not insignificant because it’s the floor where the kids’ bedrooms are and, as any parent will tell you, once your child is asleep, you want him/her to stay that way. So we’re wondering what people would recommend for both situations? How big (or small) an ordeal is this potentially?