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Understanding Cracked Walls in Your Home: When to Take Action

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Understanding Cracked Walls in Your Home: When to Take Action

Dealing with minor hairline cracks is commonplace, but how should you approach larger cracks? Identifying the right time to be concerned is essential.

Cracks in walls are a frequent occurrence, often manifesting as hairline fractures that can be rectified with relative ease. The real cause for concern arises when cracks exhibit greater width or specific placement, prompting the need for professional evaluation. In the lifespan of most brick and plaster homes, minor wall cracks emerge due to natural settling of the house on its foundation.

Outlined below are key insights into cracks and their causes, helping you discern when alarm is warranted and when simple fixes will suffice:

Causes of Fine Wall Cracks

Newly constructed brick and plaster residences, including recent additions or extensions, inevitably showcase a few inconsequential cracks or hairline fractures as a result of foundation settling. As the foundation readjusts and mortar and plaster shrink, slight movements and accompanying wall cracks are an anticipated outcome.

Dwellings situated in proximity to busy roads or active construction sites may exhibit cracks stemming from vibrations. While these vibrations are minute, their propagation through the ground can lead to recurrent hairline cracks.

Faulty construction practices also contribute to wall cracks, particularly in cases where adherence to building codes and local regulations is lacking. Absence of concrete lintels (support beams) above windows, doors, and wall apertures, or inadequately compacted foundations, can be responsible. Identifying shortcomings in construction becomes crucial upon moving into a property, underscoring the need to verify the terms and duration of any construction warranty.

Cracks Requiring Attention

While minor hairline cracks pose minimal concern, some cracks demand immediate attention, urging you to promptly consult an expert. A structural engineer possesses the expertise to assess the crack's nature and origin and to provide guidance on seeking resolution. Consider the following levels of severity:

Minor

Hairline cracks or cracks narrower than 1.5mm can be readily addressed by cleaning out the crack and applying crack filler. By adequately addressing hairline cracks, you can preempt future complications.

Moderate

Cracks wider than 1.5mm but less than 2.5mm may necessitate professional intervention, unless you are inclined to address them yourself. Cracks exceeding 2.5mm in width, particularly if they are horizontal, signify potential structural impairment and should never be disregarded.

Severe or Horizontal

Cracks surpassing 2.5mm in width signal a serious structural predicament, possibly requiring extensive remedies. Horizontal cracks typically denote structural shifting, especially if their width exceeds 2.5mm.

Steps to Take upon Identifying Cracks

Staying vigilant is crucial when it comes to cracks, regardless of their size-except for hairline cracks, which typically require minimal attention. If you're living in a recently constructed property, it's wise to initiate a conversation with the builder or project developer to address any cracks. In the case of rental properties, it's recommended to capture photographs of the cracks and share them with the property management or landlord. This proactive approach helps prevent unwarranted responsibility from falling on you.

It's a good idea to keep a close watch on developing cracks, taking note of whether they are expanding or stabilizing. Cracks that persist in growing should be thoroughly investigated. Taking photographs of cracks as they first appear and periodically tracking their progress is a sensible habit. This practice can be maintained until cracks reach a point where genuine concern arises, prompting further necessary steps.

Author Jack Russell Estates
Published 29 Aug 2023 / Views -
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