7 Possible Causes of Cracks in Walls

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:

Not all cracks in walls should be a serious cause for alarm — unsettling as they may appear. Minor cracks can result from the inevitable effects of material deterioration and age. In other cases, fissures can be a sign of a serious underlying structural problem.

The first step in addressing potentially serious wall cracks is to know the common causes behind the breaks in the supportive structures of your home or building. We’ll cover some of the more common reasons in this article. 

  1. Thermal Movement

Building materials expand when temperatures rise and contract when temperatures drop. Different materials will expand and contract at different rates. Thermal variation is also dependent on the geographic region of your building.

If you are fortunate to live in a region with relatively minor temperature fluctuations then you might be spared the worse effects of this cause of wall cracking. 

  1. Uneven Weight Distribution

Load-bearing walls support the weight of a roof or floor. When construction leaves that weight unevenly spread, cracks can result. Concrete and metal are less susceptible to this type of deformation, which is also known as elastic deformation. 

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  1. Foundation Settling

New building construction typically requires some level of soil excavation. Depending on how much soil is moved and soil condition, some level of ground resettling is to be expected. Following construction, small vertical cracks (rarely large jagged ones) may form as the result of soil movement. 

This type of resettling should become less of a factor over the course of weeks and months. In cases where the soil is washed away or a sinkhole is present, new hairline cracks or larger cracks may appear.

  1. Water Damage

There are several ways that water damage could directly or indirectly be the cause of wall cracks. Blocked or leaking pipes can weaken wall structures.

Blocked gutters and other forms of flooding can wash away soil, which can cause foundation movements. Water damage can be particularly harmful to wooden structures. To learn more about the signs of wood damage, click here.

  1. Nearby Trees

The root system of trees can cause cracks in buildings. As the roots push under walls, the pressure slowly causes fissures in the building or house. Trees can also destabilize the soil’s water levels and require wall crack repairs.

  1. Poor Workmanship

Poorly mixed cement and aggregate can lead to cracks in walls on a building’s outer or inner structures. Poor workmanship is more common when working with bad contractors. Always check contractor reviews and only work with referrals from trusted advisors. 

  1. Natural Forces

A cracked ceiling and other structural damage can result from severe weather and natural disasters like hurricanes, hail storms, earthquakes, and flash flooding.

Effectively Repair Cracks in Walls

Are cracks in walls serious? If you are worried about how to address cracks in walls, your best bet is to call a trusty handyman or handywoman. Foundation repair companies can also provide a structural inspection.

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