How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Why are there cracks around my windows and doors?
Sunday, November 6, 2022
A window or door is essentially a hole in the wall, which makes it a structurally weak area. So when there is any stress in the wall—such as from settlement, uplift, or lateral movement of the soil under the home—the crack that relieves the stress is most likely to occur at the “hole." Also, the window or door has a different rate of thermal expansion and contraction than the wall surrounding it, which adds to the stresses that build up around its perimeter.
But small diagonal cracks, emanating from the corners of doors or windows at a wood-framed wall, especially at the interior side, can just be caused by wood movement from seasonal moisture changes in the wood framing and trim. They might shrink during the winter.
The indications that a structure is moving, shifting, unstable, or even in failure, can sometimes be easy to miss. See our article How do I recognize serious structural problems in a house? to learn what to look for. To delve further into structural issues, read What causes cracks in the walls and floors of a house? for a brief course in crackology.
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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