In general, smaller cracks are not a cause for concern. They are typically the result of seasonal expansion and contraction of clay soils under your home over time, and can be easily patched and repainted. New wood, sometimes called “green wood,” contains a high level of moisture and tends to move slightly as it dries, so small cracks in walls are common in newly built homes. It's a good idea to wait a year after your home is finished before repairing any cracks.
This gives the wood time to dry completely. After that, you can re-glue the cracked joints (see the last section below for information on how to do it) without worrying that they will appear any more. Houses of any age move and change subtly over time, and the weakest area of a wall is the one most likely to crack. A wall is constructed with vertical uprights that extend from floor to ceiling.
However, the uprights need to be cut to install a door or window. While the builder adds an additional frame to adjacent studs, these areas are still weaker than the rest of the wall, and when settlement occurs, these spots are the first to develop cracks. Fine cracks in walls and doors do not indicate a structural problem; they simply need to be re-glued and painted. Vacation homes and those that remain empty for a few months are prone to developing cracks in both walls and ceilings.
This is because the house has no climate control as it would if it were occupied. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels can cause frame members and drywall to expand and contract, which. Like other wall cracks, they can be re-glued and painted. When installing drywall panels, the seams between the panels are filled with drywall mud and covered with paper tape.
If the tape doesn't have enough mud underneath to stick firmly, it may start to peel off the wall over time. When this happens, you'll see a thin crack where the tape has lifted. If there is only one crack, try spraying some household glue behind it and putting it back in place. However, if the tape is lifted in several areas, it is best to re-glue all the seams, since the problem will continue to recur.
Water seeping through a window or ceiling, or even a dripping attic water line, can fall into a wall frame and saturate the drywall, which then softens and deteriorates, creating a crack with noticeable yellow or brown spots. If the leak is recent, for example, from a recent rain, the area may also feel damp to the touch. Before repairing the crack, which will require replacing the damaged section of the drywall and then re-gluing it, it is important to find the source of the leak and repair it. Jagged or diagonal cracks indicate that the base may have shifted or sunk, or that another problem has occurred, such as deterioration and collapse of the support wood members due to termite damage.
Similarly, cracks larger than a quarter of an inch indicate a possible problem with the structure of the house. These cracks warrant the involvement of a reputable builder or engineer to inspect the structure of your house and determine the cause. Once the structural problem is resolved, you can make repairs to the drywall, which involve replacing the damaged drywall and then re-gluing the joints. This involves scraping off the loose tape and crumbled pieces of drywall mud, sanding the smooth surface, and then filling the crack with drywall compound and applying new tape.
The trick to getting a smooth wall is to apply two or three very thin coats of drywall compound onto the paper tape and sand each layer after it dries before applying the next coat. Putty doesn't provide the same reinforced surface coverage you'll get when re-gluing, and any slight settling will cause the crack to reappear. For long-lasting repairs, glue the cracks back instead of filling them with putty. There is no exact method to determine the severity of a wall crack without hiring an expert to examine it, but you may be able to analyze the crack and the surrounding area to determine if it is likely a stain on the surface or a larger problem.
Houses generally settle for the first few months and even years after construction, so small cracks are likely to occur in. However, open cracks, spacing, and horizontal crack lines can be signs that the problems are more serious. Cracks in drywall and plaster are a very common occurrence. They occur over time when there is stress or even a small settlement of the house.
Contractors can call them fine cracks, which means they look very thin. Most often they are considered cosmetic and can be covered when repainted. Surface imperfection cracks can often be repaired with drywall putty, sanding tools, and a fresh coat of paint. In other words, a base may move slightly and cause a crack in the wall, but that does not mean that there is any structural damage that requires a foundation repair.
However, sometimes cracks in walls mean a larger problem that needs to be addressed before attempting to repair the crack. . .
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