Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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Do Cracks in Walls Indicate a Structural Problem?


Most small cracks in walls are not serious and are the result of normal seasonal expansion and contraction. However, some types of wall cracks can indicate structural or foundation problems in your house. Watch this video to find out which cracks to watch out for. ...More




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Do Cracks in Walls Indicate a Structural Problem?

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Do cracks in my walls indicate a structural problem? -Rachel

Most small cracks in drywall or plaster walls are not serious and are caused by seasonal expansion and contraction of the wood framing in your house over time. They’re often found at the corners of window and door frames, and can be patched using spackling or joint compound.

Larger cracks in your walls, however, can indicate structural or foundation problems. If the cracks in your walls exhibit these characteristics:

  • The crack has a 3/16” or wider gap.
  • One side of the wall is higher than the other.
  • Your doors no longer close in the frame.

You may have a structural problem and should have your house examined by a foundation specialist.

Watch this video to find out more.

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Rachel Asks: I’m seeing a lot of small cracks in my walls. Do I have a structural problem?

Danny Lipford: It’s very unlikely that those small, hairline cracks that you see on the walls in your home, maybe above doors and windows, are actual structural problems. It’s usually just a little thermal expansion that can be repaired very easily by just using a little lightweight spackling.

But the type of crack you really need to be concerned with are those that are little wider than that, maybe three-sixteenth of an inch or more, and where one side of the crack is not level with the other side of the crack. That can indicate some active structural movement.

Also, if you have any doors in your home that don’t fit the jams quite as well as they used to, another tell-tale sign. Either of those situations you need to call out a foundation specialist and allow them to look very closely at that area of your home.