Advanced search

any cracks in walls experts?

(8 Posts)
legoboat Wed 14-Nov-12 08:44:24

hello - i'm going slightly bonkers with our house and keep seeing cracks everywhere. it's a 1950s build semi detached.

we've been in it 3 years and I'm not sure whether they're getting worse or not but I keep seeing what I think are new ones. there are no cracks whatsoever on the external walls or the interior external walls (if you see what I mean), this is all internal and first floor. the main problem seems to be that the internal walls on the first floor are brick/breeze block construction, but they are are not supported by any walls underneath, they therefore appear to be sagging in certain places. all this seems to be historic movement (one door for instance sticks but you can see by the wear in the frame that this has been like this for years and it hasn't got any worse in the 3 years we've been here). There are also straight vertical cracks above door frames that have obviously been filled years ago and hairline cracks have reappeared where the poor filling job has been done. The worst cracks are where two internal walls join the external wall and it seems to have pulled away slightly resulting in a crack about 1-2 mm wide.
There is a massive chimney stack that goes up the middle of the house and there is no cracking or pulling away around this at all.
I don't think this time of year makes it any better because we get quite a lot of plaster cracks down plaster joins that appear in the winter and practically close completely in the summer, so I'm probably seeing more things especially as I'm looking.
There are also cracks all over the upstairs ceilings but these quite clearly follow the plaster board lines. There are some cracks that reappear between the walls and ceilings too but it seems this is just poor joint work as I can push the ceiling up from the wall with my fingers, so it doesn't appear well jointed.

Sorry for the length, but does the above sound anything to worry about?

The only slight cracks I can see downstairs are a couple of the vertical cracks above door frames coming from the door corner, but really less than hairline. The caulk between some coving has also slightly cracked but this appears heat related again.

Pendeen Wed 14-Nov-12 09:08:59

One of the best references is BRE's 'Cracking in Buildings' which has a chart clasifying the severity of cracks.

If the worst ones you have are only 1-2 mm, this would be classed as "Catefory 3 - up to 5mm" i.e. third from bottom in significance.

The book recommends: "Cracks can be filled easily. Recurrent cracks can be masked by suitable linings" and "Some distortion to doors and windows which may stick slightly." As all the crackng is internal there is probably very little anyone can do other than keep an eye on the cracks.

Pendeen Wed 14-Nov-12 09:14:29


legoboat Wed 14-Nov-12 11:24:30

thanks - yes, i'd read online that they don't see too severe in terms of width. i keep scaring myself by finding more and then reading about 1950s concrete floors being unstable and getting more worried. i think, in all probability, these cracks have been there for a long time and the hairlines i can see now are just seasonal opening and closing of existing cracks. but i can't help keep looking and them and looking for more all the time. i'm becoming obssessed.

legoboat Wed 14-Nov-12 11:25:02

or obsessed even.

ClareMarriott Wed 14-Nov-12 16:12:30

Legoboat Although you say that there do not appear to be any cracks on the external walls but the internal walls on the first floor appear to be sagging, have you thought about discussing this with your insurance broker/ insurer? Your buildings policy will cover you for subsidence and/or heave with most probably a £1000 excess for subsidence damage . With the wet summer we have all had and if you have any substantial trees on or near the property, it might be that those trees have been drawing on the moisture and effecting the foundations of your property .

Pendeen Wed 14-Nov-12 16:29:17

"...this is all internal and first floor"

Not subsidence then...

(Unless the 100-odd pages of the BRE digest are completely wrong and my years of sitting stupefied through structural engineering classes were entirely wasted) grin

legoboat Wed 14-Nov-12 16:58:10

I am not a structural person at all, but I suspect this is not subsidence from everything I've read on the internet - there are no trees etc, flat ground - drains out the back of the property. The cracks where they exist are all vertical and not stepped or diagonal and there is no cracking at all to any external walls.
The survey we had when we bought the property said "no evidence of any structural movement" or something along those lines even though there is clear evidence of vertical cracks being repaired in the past.
I'd be reluctant to get the insurance involved without knowing (ie getting my own expert around) as I'm aware they can red flag properties even if no subsidence is there.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: