Are the cracks in my home cause for more serious concern?

If you notice a crack on the interior or exterior of your home it can be worrisome, but how do you know if that crack indicates a larger problem or if it is just unsightly and not cause for concern? It is essential to find out if the crack could be an easy fix with some filler and paint or if you need to dig further to find out the source of the problem and if additional structural repairs are needed. If the home you are looking to purchase has cracks in the walls, getting an experienced inspector out to the home is crucial!


Types of Cracks:

There are three main categories of cracks:

  • Cracks in the foundation walls
  • Exterior Cracks in bricks, stucco, or other exterior home materials
  • Interior cracks in the sheetrock or ceiling

A crack in any of these locations could be an indication of a serious and/or structural issue. To diagnose further you must look at the following:

  • What caused the crack?
  • What is the location of the crack?
  • Is there a separation in the wall material itself, or separation from the wall or framework?
  • Is the crack horizontal, vertical, or jagged?
  • Is the cause ongoing and/or likely to be recurring?

As you could most likely tell, a large or gaping crack is generally an indication of a more serious structural problem. Seeing zig-zag or stair-step cracks could be an indication of a structural issue with the property. If you notice a complete separation of the mortar in-between bricks or worse even if a brick is able to be removed you should contact an expert as soon as possible to determine a remedy. 

Causes of Cracks:

Determining the root cause of the crack is the first step in assessing the seriousness and cost associated with repairing the crack. Some of those causes include the following.

  • Water Damage

Flood damage, blocked or broken pipes, backed-up gutters are all ways that water can enter your home and lead to cracking and ultimately more serious issues in your home.

  • Settling

Minor settling of any home or condo is to be expected when it is newly constructed. Sometimes, however, significant settling of the ground under and around the structure can create large structural faults and cracks in the home. 

  • Climate Changes

Major changes in your environment can cause extensive contraction and expansion of the soil the structure is built on and can lead to cracks.

  • Poor Design or Construction

Sometimes external issues aren’t always the problem. Occasionally you will see cracks start to form due to the way the home/condo was built. Having too much weight on a load-bearing wall or using faulty or inferior construction materials can contribute to the presence of cracks in the structure.

Should I be concerned about the cracks:

Where the cracks are located, the shape or angle of the crack and the extensiveness of the crack can help to indicate how serious the problem may be. If your windows and doors aren’t functioning as they should it could indicate a structural problem that needs more attention. Also, keep an eye out for nail pops or nails or screws coming through the drywall or ceiling. This could also be a sign of structural issues. Lastly, if you notice your floor is not level, you could have an issue that needs further attention.

Contact Home Sweet Home Inspections

While Home Sweet Home Inspections specializes in full property inspection, our specialists are trained to find cracks in your walls, ceilings, external materials, and foundation. Do not hesitate to reach out to our team if you have any additional questions!