It’s not uncommon that you note a crack snaking on your wall. You may choose to ignore it for some time. But you can’t keep doing that. Cracks are attention demanding creatures and need fixing at the earliest. If you dig out the matter, you will learn that there are two major types of wall cracks.
These are cosmetic cracks and structural ones. The names itself tell the story. Cosmetic cracks tend to occur on the surface due to multiple issues such as problems in the paintwork. On the flip side, structural cracks are serious and may be due to numerous causes such as problems in your house’s foundation.
Naturally, you can’t choose to turn a blind eye to the matter. Structural cracks come in the company of serious consequences. Therefore, you need to mend these immediately.
Understandably, all this information on wall cracks can be overwhelming. So, let’s start from the beginning:
What should you do when you note a crack in your wall?
When a crack shows up on your home’s wall, you need to start with putting on your detective’s hat. Look closely at the crack, its shape, and the width. Question yourself about the possible causes behind the crack.
You can only fix the problem once you know the cause. Keep in mind that structural and cosmetic cracks look different. Here are the significant differences:
Structural cracks tend to be large. If the crack is more than 1.5 inches wide and persists despite numerous attempts at repairing it, then you have a problem in your house’s foundation. Another indication that the crack has structural roots is the difficulty that you may face in closing the doors and windows.
On the other hand, non-structural cracks tend to be near doors and windows. These also go by the name of hairline cracks and can be DIY fixed. Other factors to look at while identifying the crack include:
- How is the crack shaped – is it vertical, horizontal, or jagged?
- Is there separation in the construction material?
- What’s the location of the crack in your house’s wall?
As mentioned, a crack that is near the windows and doors is more likely to be a hairline crack than a structural one. Gaping cracks are telltale signs of problems in the House Foundation. What’s more, stair-step and zig-zag cracks that follow a brick wall’s mortar line also signal a structural defect.
If you note that there is complete separation in the construction materials, cement or mortar, then the problem can be severe. In such an instance, you need to rope in professionals.
Moving forward – what to do next?
By now you know that there is little that you can do if there’s a structural crack in your house’s foundation. You will need to contact repair experts to solve the problem as soon as possible.
However, you can handle the cosmetic cracks yourself as their causes don’t trace back to house foundation problems or so. Instead, hairline cracks can occur for multiple other reasons such as:
- Low quality of paint
Inferior pain quality culminates in poor adhesion of the paint, which can result in wall cracks over time.
- Poor job at painting
A wall crack is inevitable if the first coat of paint is not given enough time to dry and another layer of paint is hastily added to it.
- Contraction and expansion
The cracks in the walls can also be due to be the expansion and contraction of materials such as plaster and paint in your house’s wall. These materials change due to changes in the temperature and humidity levels.
- Impatient plasterwork
If the cement plaster hasn’t been given the time to dry up entirely before a layer of paint is applied, it can lead to cracks in your wall as well.
To fix the hairline crack, you need to start with opening the crack further so that you can clean out any debris, loose concrete, or old filler. Once done, add joint compound or filling solution to the entire crack and even out the surface using a scraper. Let the filler dry out before painting over the surface.
You’d be lucky if your house’s wall is infected by a cosmetic crack as it is easy to fix. If you note a structural crack though, then you need to get it repaired as such cracks suggest house foundation problems, which can jeopardize your safety