Waking up to a notable crack in your home, or discovering one while touring a property you are interested in purchasing can leave a lingering question on your mind. How serious is this unsightly crack? Is it a symptom of a bigger problem or simply a superficial one that can be easily fixed? In order to determine the seriousness of cracks inside your home, you must first search for the cause or multiple causes behind them.
What Causes Wall Cracks?
During the construction of a home, soil is excavated to make room for its foundation. This soil becomes more compact and settles as a result, causing walls to crack. Settling is a natural side-effect that can appear months or years after building a house. However, when the earth beneath a house sinks downwards, in what is known as subsidence, this could mean that structural issues may be the culprit.
Soils of this nature tend to swell when the moisture content increases and shrink when they become dry. The degree of this change in volume depends on the size of the particles and their mineral composition. Clay-based soils carry this reactive title due to their shifting nature. Sand and gravel, on the other hand, are non-reactive soils. They do not swell or shrink with changes in moisture content.
Clogged or leaking pipes, garden sprinklers and blocked gutters can all lead to wall cracks, in addition to saturating and eroding the soil. Expert building inspections can easily uncover this type of damage so this threat can be eliminated.
Trees adjacent to your home have powerful roots that can grow into or through concrete walls. This pressure can give rise to cracks or further structural damage to your home.
How to Determine the Severity of Wall Cracks
Wall cracks come in different shapes and sizes. They range from negligible to very severe.
Size and Degree of Severity
cracks that are less than one millimeter wide are called hairline cracks. These cracks are nothing to worry about and can be easily fixed.
These cracks are between 1 and 5 mm in width and can be filled and covered with a fresh coat of paint.
If you discover a crack ranging in size between 5 and 15 mm, then its is recommended to hire someone capable of expert building inspections in order to find out the reason behind this crack.
A crack as wide as 25 mm usually means that the structure of your house is in need of large-scale repairs. Entire areas of concern might even need to be replaced altogether. Seeking professional advice when it comes to severe cracks is a necessity.
A crack wider than 25 mm is a major cause for concern. It means that your house is suffering from severe structural damage. Major repair work is urgently needed , especially with the threat of building collapse looming on the horizon. Expert building inspections will help you determine how and where to begin repairing this extensive damage.
Shape and Degree of Severity
In most cases, finding a hairline crack on the wall means that a small degree of shrinkage has occurred. As mentioned previously, these cracks pose no threat to the safety of your home.
These cracks occur due to settling or shifting. Diagonal cracks that appear around a door or window are often caused by vibrations in this specific location.
These cracks should not be ignored. Vertical cracks that are narrow at the bottom and wider at the top may indicate that the foundation of your house is either sinking from the edges or rising from the middle. Vertical cracks are also a sign that the structure is under pressure, and this pressure is strong enough to cause cracks in bricks and stones.
Horizontal cracks are incredibly worrisome, especially long cracks that run along masonry beds between stones or bricks. Wall collapse may be imminent, so it is incredibly important to investigate the cause behind this crack due to the many safety risks associated with it. Expert building inspections play an important role here, so makrofessionals for the job.
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Source: wwww.actioninspections.com.au, www.skilledbuild.co.uk
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