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Talk to me about cracks

(22 Posts)
soniaweir Sun 28-Nov-10 19:05:20

to give you a bit of history, we have been in our house for 5 months. We were told that it had been underpinned around 20 years ago and the house buyers report came back fine. To be able to obtain house insurance we had to get a structrual engineer out to assess the property. The report came back all clear.
But since we have been in the house i keep noticing cracks everywhere, there must be a new one around once a week. My DH thinks i am being paranoid. We got some friends to come round and look them over as they are surveyors and they said it was fine but is it usual to have so many cracks on the wall? To give an example we have hairline cracks from the floor right up to the top of the house in the hallway. There are lots of cracks at the corner of door and window frames. We got a few cracks covered up and one of them has reappeared which is not good. There are around 4+ cracks in each room if not more and it's driving me mad as i keep thinking that the house is going to fall down!
Does anyone have any advise or have the same problem? would be great to hear from anyone who can give me peace of mind!!

Thanks all

1percentawake Sun 28-Nov-10 20:12:15

When was it last plastered? With my very basic knowledge on the subject, I think cracks around door/window frames are generally ok. Across the middle of the wall, all around the top of the ceiling or over a certain width may be something else.

soniaweir Sun 28-Nov-10 20:54:02

not sure when it was last plastered. some cracks are in the middle of the ceiling and in the middle of the's scaring me!

Cyb Sun 28-Nov-10 20:56:02

depends a lot on what type of ground your hosue is built on. Ours is on clay and with extremes of temp,. more cracks do appear. keep an eye on them

grumpypumpkin Sun 28-Nov-10 21:03:03

This brings back memories, friends used to ask me how my crack was getting along and we got some funny looks! grin

A structural engineer has assessed the property 5 months ago and thought it was safe. These sound like plaster cracks to me,thin and lots of them all over, so probably more to do with new plaster/moisture/temperature issues. Ring up the person who did the report if you are worried, they should be able to discuss their findings with you for free.

FWIW I had a MASSIVE crack (could put your finger in!)in my last house that the structural engineer said was not dangerous, told me to fill with flexible filler and paint over, so I did and it stopped upsetting me!

TCOB Sun 28-Nov-10 21:03:24

Not sure of the age of your house - but for what it's worth: cracks appear because of movement. All houses move to some degree from when they are built and most find their equilibrium at some point and stop moving so much (normally when all natural materaisl have settled/ stretched. If your house is a properly cared for historic building which uses lime plaster this will keep moving and stretching whereas modern cement-type materials may be more likely to crack.

Maybe after the house was underpinned it is just still settling into place? There might be some differential settlement i.e. bits of the house are settling at a different rate to others.

Also think about the loading on each floor and where the main joists are.

Really good basic way of measuring if cracks are moving is to tape a bit of measuring tape over them - also keep checking the floors for plaster fall.

Also remember if your structural engineer got it wrong you are entitled to hefty compensation wink

soniaweir Mon 29-Nov-10 08:09:20

Thanks everyone, it's reassuring. Our house is a victorian mid terrace house. I've never seen so many cracks in a house before and it looks ugly. we have not redecorated yet so hopefully when we do the cracks will be out of sight and out of mind.

our surveyor friends said that they two horizontal cracks in our living room are due to chemical injections thatwere done for a damp problem so as i said before it makes the house look horrible.

I am planning of taking pics of them and just keep an eye on them.

grumpypumpkin Mon 29-Nov-10 19:18:38

Mine was a vitorian mid terrace too, they have stood for a long time and have the rest of the terrace to hold them up so likely to be cosmetic. Good idea to take photos, I always imagined my crack had grown every time I saw it. Let Crackwatch begin, and happy decorating! smile

TDaDa Mon 29-Nov-10 23:12:04

heating and small, normal movements tend to cause hairline crack. Had some work done on my Edwardian seeing some plaster cracks and staying chilled.

soniaweir Fri 03-Dec-10 18:41:52

how many are normal per room? - today i have noticed 2 more in the hall way and they just look horrible and feels like it cheapens the look of the inside of the house.

There are ones that are definite plaster cracks but the ones in the hall which are really long worry me.

i have a feeling that i will never be happy in this house if the cracks continue to appear.

not sure if its too late to call out the structural engineers as it's been 5 months now and i am sure that htey will charge for their time. might give it a go next week.

in the meantime i am full crackwatch alert even if it drives DH to distraction!

lovechoc Fri 03-Dec-10 21:49:25

was your house built upon a disused mineshaft by any chance?

It could be as your friends say there is nothing to worry about.

soniaweir Fri 03-Dec-10 21:51:51

no not built on a disused mineshaft, although it is built on clay which is really common in london apparently.

let's hope it's nothing to worry about.

lovechoc Fri 03-Dec-10 22:03:18

well, it's probably got something to do with it being Victorian. Surely this is common in these types of housing?

soniaweir Mon 06-Dec-10 16:11:50

I've lived in a few victorian houses and i have never noticed so many cracks. we need to decorate soon to cover them up or else i will go mad but that will be after getting the damp's crap being a house owner sometimes!

northerngirl41 Mon 06-Dec-10 20:16:49

Okay - my advice is to get onto Channel 4 OD and look up Sarah Beeny's series "Help My House Is Falling Down" - there's a house in there which needs underpinned and they show you all the different cracks and what to look out for.

Secondly, as it's mid terrace, go speak to your neighbours and see if they had any problems. (I know that's not really what you do in London - failing actually speaking to them, have a good look from outside at where your house joins theirs and see if the brickwork matches up?)

Lastly, how long ago was it plastered? Lath and plaster walls and ceilings do eventually dry out and crack off the walls.

soniaweir Tue 07-Dec-10 16:34:05

I've already looked up 4 homes and that did make me feel better as they don't look like structural cracks.

I am beginning to accept that they are plaster cracks. with the extreme weather and putting on the heating will probably be causing more cracks. apparently the previous owners hardly had the heating on and we do so that could be reason for more cracks appearing. today i have spotted one in the hall that starts at the bottom of the walland goes all the up to the top through the cornicing and across the ceiling.

My worry now is do we have to get the whole place replastered or do I have to learn to love my cracks?!

I am going to speak to my neighbours too although i have checked on teh council website and they have not had their houses underpinned. only our house has been underpinned. for london our neighbours are v friendly and lovely!

homelyperson Tue 07-Dec-10 17:06:40

Oh, Victorian mid terrace... (sigh). I live in one, plenty of hairline cracks, but I do not worry about them because there is PLENTY other things to worry about, like damp, leaking roof, drafty floor etc.. I also hate being a homeowner, or more precisely an owner of an old house.

isitmidnightalready Tue 14-Dec-10 23:42:29

An old engineer I worked with said that a crack is onlyu worth worrying about if it is thick enough to put your pencil in. It sounds like superficial cracking / crazing and not structural to me.

I would ring up the engineer who came to your house and planed the underpinning. it was only 5 months ago and he should still be able to remember the house and the issues. He shouldn't charge for a re-assuring 5 minute chat. Make sure you don't allow him back, though, or get him involved further as you will then have to pay.

hophophippidtyhop Sat 18-Dec-10 07:09:57

We have lots of hairline cracks that have appeared in our house.It's late victorian, but had been renovated before we moved in. A builder friend said it is probably because the person who did it didn't use a flexible enough plaster when replastering, so that was why cracks were appearing.

soniaweir Sat 18-Dec-10 11:18:15

I do think that is the problem with ours now. my BIL is staying at the moment and he suggested using lining paper to cover them up -= think it's a great idea! and cheaper than replastering with proper plaster.

thinkingaboutschools Tue 21-Dec-10 20:52:23

Hi - we had very bad subsidence in our house and I learnt a few things from this. The things to look for are - are your windows sticking, or not opening properly? Are your doors not fitting correctly? Horizontal may be OK - it is diagonal which is usually more of a concern. If you have real concern on this you should contact your insurance company.

halphgracie Sat 06-Feb-16 11:49:22

I bought a flipped house from a complete a##ehole of a seller who cared nothing for the safety or feelings of others the full house was dry lined without the joints being taped and whizzed over with plaster every room had hairline cracks everywhere on solid walls the plaster sounded completely hollow coving had cracks, the skirting boards had cracks even the cracks had cracks, vertical, horizontal and diagonal, im sure some of them even went interdimensional. Plus nail pops in most ceilings and around door frames, I would constantly just cry with how bad it was.

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