Monday, September 13, 2010

Q. Should I be worried about house cracks?

Q. I am worried about some cracks in my house both at the edge of the ceiling and above and below a rear window. What should I do?
HMH. The crack at the edge of the ceiling is most likely a shrinkage crack. The plasterboard ceiling is connected to the timber floor structure above and timber can dry out and shrink marginally. This is common in newly built houses and is of no structural significance (i.e. polyfilla is the answer after the crack has settled).
The wall crack should be monitored and the problem might be due to settlement and this should be looked at, especially if the crack is on the inside as well as the outside.
The window area of a wall is the weakest and will show cracks first. Cracks can be structurally tied and in cases where they are getting worse underpinning of walls or foundations may be required. This involves localised digging and insertion of concrete below ground, not quite a diy job that I’d recommend without a structural engineer.

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