Need Home Improvement Services?
Schedule an appointment with the Basement Doctor today!

Home » What Do Wall Cracks Mean?

You may be used to seeing wall cracks. It’s one of those things that can easily get shoved on the back burner. It’s not causing any serious damage, so why address it right away?

At best, cracks are just that: small, harmless cracks that can be patched in minutes. However, at worst, those cracks can be a sign of much larger issues in your home.

The key is to be aware that wall cracks are similar to a “Check Engine” light: they can let you know that something isn’t right inside of your home.

Here are some of the problems those cracks could be warning you about.

Settling House

After your house is built, it endures all kinds of weather, season changes, pressure, and more. Over time, the house can settle into the dirt, causing uneven doors, poor sealing, and (you guessed it) wall cracks. While settling is a natural process, major settling can lead to serious structural issues that must be addressed for the safety of your home and family.

AdobeStock_321281134
AdobeStock_135820208

Improper Construction

When you buy your home, it’s usually with the confidence that everything is up to code. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Some homes are built poorly with poor construction or designs that will lead to issues down the road. Among those issues are load-bearing walls with too much weight or bad materials, which can lead to foundation problems. These issues can cause cracks to pop up easily.

Leaks

If your wall cracks have water trails or moisture around them, then it likely means that you have some leaks in your home. These will most often show up in your basement or crawl space. Not only will those cracks get bigger over time, but they can lead to other issues, such as mold or decreased energy efficiency. For more on cracked basement walls, click here.

AdobeStock_289307556 11.51.16 AM
AdobeStock_72827615

BOWING WALLS

Cracks can often point to your walls losing their stability. When walls begin to bow, it’s natural that cracks would form as well. This movement typically occurs as the result expansive clay soils. When rain saturates the clay or winter freezes the soil, clay soils swell and become heavier than the foundation wall is designed to hold. As a result, foundation walls start to buckle and bow under this pressure.

 

How Do You Fix Them?

Wall cracks can have a variety of causes, and thus have a variety of solutions. Depending on the type of crack, there are different methods of fixing them.

  • For simple drywall cracks, just remove the drywall tape and any debris. Sand it down, fill in the crack, and adhere new tape.
  • Hairline cracks are small cracks that appear across walls and doorways. These are typically no big deal and be fixed with some new tape and a fresh coat of paint.
  • For deeper cracks, leaks, or suspected foundation issues, it’s recommended to hire an expert to come and assess the damage. Once you get a proper diagnosis, you can make an educated decision.
AdobeStock_293708911

Wall cracks can mean many things, so it’s important to be aware of those causes and how to address them. If you have cracks in your home that you’re worried about,  contact us today and we’ll get on the job!