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How to Fix Structural Cracks in Walls

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If you’ve recently noticed structural cracks in walls in your home, there are a few steps you can take to prevent further damage. Here are the signs to look for, the causes, and possible repairs. Also, you should avoid leaving cracked walls damp for days on end. The dampness in a wall can prevent the joint compounds from drying out properly.

Signs

Cracks in a wall may be a sign of structural damage. Cracks that are more than half an inch wide are considered critical. Cracks that are one-tenth of an inch wide are also severe. Horizontal cracks can indicate water damage and are often caused by poor drainage. This can weaken a wall and put your home at risk.

Cracks in a wall can vary in size, direction, and extent. The location can also indicate how serious the problem is. For example, a crack may affect the functioning of windows and doors. A sagging ceiling may be another sign of structural damage. You may look at extensive structural repairs if these problems are not resolved.

A wall crack may also be caused by the shifting of the foundation or water damage. Cracks that are horizontal or diagonal can be a sign of foundation settlement. These cracks can also be caused by a poor original design. These cracks can be found both inside and outside the house. If you find cracks in a concrete basement wall, you will need to have it evaluated by a structural engineer.

Causes

Structural cracks in walls are a concern for homeowners. While small cracks can be filled, large cracks will require masonry work or repointing of the external brickwork. Some of the cracks will even require breaking out sections of the wall. Therefore, it is essential to determine the cause of structural cracks to plan repairs accordingly.

Cracks are generally caused by external forces more significant than the components’ resisting capacity. In addition, cracks can be caused by improper construction or poor materials used during construction. Poor curing can also cause cracks. In some cases, vegetation near walls can be a contributing factor. In such a case, the roots can expand, causing the wall to crack.

When structural cracks appear in a building, they appear in the most vulnerable areas. For example, cracks near window frames may indicate a weakening or shifting of the foundation. Cracks in a wall should be addressed immediately if you notice them.

Repairs

If you have a structural problem with your walls, it is essential to fix it quickly and correctly. The best way to do this is to hire a professional contractor. You may be able to use simple brick stitching techniques to fix more minor cracks, but if the cracks are wide or are causing your home to sag, you should contact a professional for assistance.

Getting a building inspector can help you determine the problem and the best way to fix it. You should bring building plans and drawings with you, and they should inspect the construction. They should note down the size and shape of the cracks. The inspector should also note down the structure’s existing use and any changes that have occurred. Lastly, make sure to document the crack widths and photograph them.

Cracks in your wall indicate a faulty foundation or structural problems. They can be asymmetrical or diagonal and should be addressed immediately. Crack filling is the most common solution for structural problems, but it must be done carefully. First, make sure the cracks are wide enough to fill in. Then, apply two or three thin filler coats, sanding between coats.

Prevention

The first step towards preventing structural cracks in walls is to understand the causes and take preventive measures. Most cracks occur when the building is subjected to greater forces than its components can resist. These forces may originate from several sources, including changes in temperature or volume within the material, adjacent materials, or supporting materials. Therefore, it is essential to understand the causes of stress on building components, including the materials used to prevent cracks.

Another cause of cracks in buildings is the movement of the building itself. This causes walls to expand and contract. If these movements are not allowed, the walls can bow and crack. These movements can be prevented by adding expansion or movement joints to the structure. This prevents further problems from occurring in the future. It is essential to ensure the foundation is stable and protected to prevent cracks in walls.

Although cracks in walls may seem inconvenient, they can be dangerous and cause significant damage. If left untreated, these cracks may result in the crumbling of the building. Fortunately, cracks can be repaired. However, it is essential to work with a structural and geotechnical engineer when it comes to the structural integrity of a building.

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