Walls Cracking Up?
Updated: May 31
There's no exact method for determining how serious a wall crack is without calling in an expert to examine the wall, but you might be able to analyse the crack and surrounding area to determine whether it's likely a surface blemish or a larger problem.
Houses usually settle during the first few months and even years after construction, so minor wall cracks are likely. However, gaping cracks, separation and horizontal crack lines might be signs that the issues are more severe.
Wall cracks are common in Australia and though some are nothing to worry about, others can suggest a damaged or sinking foundation.
The damage to the foundations can quickly mount up if you don’t address wall cracks.
When do wall cracks indicate a structural problem? Larger cracks that display the following characteristics may indicate weaknesses in your house’s foundation:
Cracks larger than 3mm
Doors and windows no longer close properly in their frame
One side of the wall is higher than the other
Furniture shaking as you walk by
Typically, problematic cracks will begin at windows, doorways or house corners. Usually, hairline cracks aren’t a cause of concern. These are generally the result of seasonal expansion and contraction of the soils beneath your house over time. They can be patched and re-painted without too much effort.
Large wall cracks - the causes
Large cracks may appear because the property’s foundation has shrunk or lost its strength, causing all or a part of your house to sink. This usually happens because the moisture in the soil beneath the foundations of your home is either too dry or too wet.
Horizontal Cracks To determine how serious a wall crack might be, it's best to examine the shape of the crack and the direction it runs on the wall. If the crack is vertical and starts near the apex where the wall and ceiling meet, it might be a sign that it was created when the foundation settled after construction. Vertical cracks run the same direction as drywall, generally making them less serious. If the crack is horizontal or runs at a jagged 45-degree angle, it might mean there's a more serious problem such as severe foundation shifting or water damage. Surface-blemish cracks can often be repaired with drywall putty, sanding tools and a fresh coat of paint. More severe cracks usually require professional help to determine the exact cause and might include some reconstruction to prevent further damage.
How to fix large cracks in the wall The best long-term solution for fixing large cracks is to lift, re-level and re-support your home. This process is called ‘restumping and relevelling’. As the house is brought up to towards level, the cracks may close or become smaller (plaster or render walls can then be patched and repainted). Windows and doors will also usually begin to work properly again.
If you have cracks in the walls at your place, book in a free consultation with the team Bohm Industries. Give them a call on 0438 866 627.