Maybe you’re performing a routine home inspection or simply walking around your home when you notice something that would cause panic for any homeowner. A large crack has began to form in your wall, or perhaps a seemingly benign crack that you pushed to the back of your mind has alarmingly expanded overnight. Unfortunately, except in minor cases, there isn’t really such a thing as a benign wall crack. If you’ve noticed a crack, it’s time to call the experts in before any problems have the chance to worsen. However, there’s still no need to panic. Allow us to explain everything you need to know about cracks in your home’s walls so that you can get determine the severity of the damage and get the help you need for repairs.
Signs to Watch Out For
While cracks in the wall are likely a sign of a larger problem that will require professional intervention, the good news is that if you are vigilant about examining your home, you will be able to catch problems early on before they have the chance to worsen.
When inspecting your home for signs of damage, be on the lookout for cracks near door frames, horizontal cracks, particularly long cracks, many cracks clustered in one area, and wide cracks. Cracks that are greater than 1 inches wide should always be a cause for concern.
There are a number of reasons why cracks form in walls. Some of the top factors include home settlement, too much moisture, weather changes, weight from heavy objects, and improper drywall installation. While we will discuss home settlement in depth shortly, moisture and weather are two culprits behind crack formation, since water is a major cause of foundation issues. However, improper installation or even just damage from heavy objects are also possible causes for crack formation that are not related to foundation issues.
Related: 5 Reasons Why Foundation Erodes
What Do Cracks Mean?
When you notice cracks in your home, many thoughts likely go through your brain. In addition to the obvious how do I fix this?!, many also wonder how the cracks got there in the first place. Understanding why cracks occur is essential in order to prevent future crack formation. Though different cracks can indicate different problems within the home, it’s in the best interest of the homeowner to take any crack formation serious. If you’re trying to decide if the crack in your wall is the sign of a larger problem, there are certain cracks to be especially wary of.
Horizontal cracks, which can also be angled, are often an indication of foundation settlement. Foundation settlement can luckily be repaired in most cases if caught early on, though delaying repairs can lead to a rapid expansion of problems. Another strong indicator of foundation problems is cracks that form around the door frame.
To catch foundation issues in their earliest stages, examine framing for signs of cracks since they will often form around frames first. Wide cracks, long cracks, and a large number of cracks are all also signs of a larger problem with the home’s foundation. Though there is a chance that these cracks are due to construction errors, it’s important to err on the safe side and have the home’s foundation inspected if you notice any worrisome cracks.
Foundation Settlement 101
How does foundation settlement come about in the first place? Many homeowners take pride in the level of care they bestow upon their property. While fortifying your home through earthquake retrofitting and other preventative methods can secure your foundation, many homeowners don’t realize the necessity of such services until they notice their home’s foundation beginning to deteriorate. One of the top factors in foundation damage is soil condition, while extreme weather can also wreak havoc on an unsecured home.
Southern California sees a unique amount of extreme weather in the form of earthquakes, mudslides, and flooding. Over and under saturation of soil with moisture can cause it to expand and contract, creating an unstable and unhealthy foundation for your home. This can lead to foundation settling and the formation of wall cracks.
Solutions for Cracked Walls
While foundation damage does mean home repairs, it doesn’t have to spell disaster. Fortunately most cases of foundation damage, if not given the chance to progress, can be fixed with professional repair solutions that will not require replacing the entire foundation. If the contractor has determined that the crack is not related to foundation problems, then the crack can simply be sealed or the section of the wall can be replaced. However, it’s not recommended to fix cracks on your own before determining the root cause of the problem, since you could be covering up a larger issue that requires professional attention.
That’s why it’s important to always have a professional determine if the cracks are structural, and thus require foundation repair, or are non-structural and can be easily fixed. While foundation repair might seem like a taxing endeavor, our team of contractors are more than happy to walk you through every step of the process if it’s determined that foundation repair is the necessary solution for your cracked walls.
Related: Foundation Replacement