Cracks In Your Home's Drywall: What's Normal And When Should You Be Concerned?

Posted on: 10 June 2015

No matter how old or new your home may be, there's a good chance that you've got some cracking along your walls and ceilings. This is something that naturally occurs as your home "settles" over the years. As such, cracks aren't always something to be concerned about. However, because cracks can sometimes be a sign of foundation problems, it's important for homeowners to understand what's considered normal and what could be problematic.

Horizontal and Vertical Cracks

In most cases, cracks that run horizontally or vertically in a smooth, non-jagged manner are just a sign of a home settling as it should over time. Still, these cracks can be an eyesore to look at, which is why crack sealing is recommended for larger cracks or cracks located in high traffic areas of the home. Fortunately, crack sealing (when done correctly) can last for many years and can typically be done by the homeowner. Of course, for those who aren't experienced with DIY crack sealing, there's always the option of hiring a professional contractor, like those at Southwest Slurry Seal, Inc., to complete the job.

"Stair Step" and Diagonal Cracks

When you begin to notice cracks along walls or ceilings in your home that are jagged in nature, such as those that run in a stair-step or diagonal direction, this is when it might be a good idea to have a foundation professional come out to your home and take a look. While these types of cracks aren't always the sign of a foundation problem, they're less likely to be caused by normal settling than horizontal and vertical cracks. If nothing else, these kinds of cracks need to have an eye kept on them for signs of progression.

Visible Cracks in Foundation

Any time there's a visible crack in a home's foundation, this should be a cause for concern. Not all homes are constructed in a way such that any areas of the foundation are visible, but some are. For instance, you may be able to see the foundation of your home in your garage. If so, be on the lookout for cracks of any kind developing along the foundation, such as through the cinder block. This, when coupled with signs of water damage (such as high humidity levels or moisture staining on the walls), should be addressed as quickly as possible to avoid any future damage and address any problems that may exist with the home's foundation as-is.