How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
What causes a vertical crack in drywall?
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Thin hairline cracks sometimes occur at interior drywall anywhere from a few months up to a year after completion of construction. The wood wall framing moves slightly as it dries and adjusts to the loads applied to it, allowing cracks that are barely visible along the vertical butted edges of adjoining drywall. These cracks are not a structural problem and are often easily repaired with just a coat of paint.
But larger cracks, like the one shown above, indicate a poor taping job at the joints or some movement under the wall—especially if the crack is wider at one end than the other. Upon inspection, we observed that this one had already been repaired once, and the crack had begun to reopen.
Diagonal cracks, especially ones originating at the corner of a door or window, are more likely indicate a structural problem. But sometimes they can also be the result of seasonal wood movement in the wall. See our blog post How can I tell if a diagonal crack in drywall at the corner of a window or door indicates a structural problem? for more on this.
Truss uplift can also cause horizontal cracks where the ceiling and wall meet. See our blog post What causes cracks to open along the line between the ceiling and walls? for more on this.
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To learn more about exterior walls and structures, see these other blog posts:
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