What is causing the cracks in my wall?

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Think of it this way: a crack is your wall creating its own expansion joint. It happens due to what’s called “differential expansion.” Walls are affected by factors such as temperature changes, moisture intrusion, shifting of the loads on and around them, and movement in the foundation below them. But, if the whole wall is affected in the same way, it moves as a solid, unrestrained unit and does not crack. When the forces acting on it are different in one area from another, or part of the wall is restrained from movement, then something has to give and that means a crack opens up.

    The location and shape of the crack can tell you a lot about what’s happening. Here’s some links below to our articles about specific types of cracks and their underlying causes. But we suggest your start with our course in “crackology” at Where are the places to look to find structural cracks in a house?

• What causes a vertical crack in an exterior concrete block or brick wall?

What causes a vertical crack in drywall?

• What causes drywall cracks in the ceilings and walls of a house?

How can I tell if a diagonal crack in drywall at the corner of a window or door indicates a structural problem? 

 What causes stair-step cracks in a block or brick wall?

Why is the concrete window sill cracking?

What causes a horizontal crack in a block or brick wall? 

What causes vertical cracks in fiber cement siding planks?

Why is my stucco cracking?

There's cracks running along the home's concrete tie beam. What's wrong? 

What would cause long horizontal lines of brick mortar to fall out? 

How do I recognize structural problems in a retaining wall?     

How do I recognize serious structural problems in a house?

• What is concrete spalling? 

 How can I tell if a crack in a stucco wall is a structural problem and what is causing it? 

• What causes cracks to open along the line between the ceiling and walls? 

 What causes mortar cracks?

• How do you analyze a wall crack from cause to effect? 

    Visit our EXTERIOR WALLS AND STRUCTURE page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

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