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Worried about cracks

(12 Posts)
thesecowsaresmallthosearefaraw Fri 28-Feb-14 14:09:08

I've been looking nervously at a big crack along the top of my external wall - where the coving (sp?) joins the wall. Recently another crack has joined the party, between the external wall and an internal one which is perpendicular to it. And I thought today, hmm, if the wall is moving then maybe there will be cracks around the staircase, which is joined to it.

And there are sad

They aren't massively wide - 1 or 2mm at worst - but I am worried about them. I suppose I have to call my house insurer - can anyone advise what will happen after that?

thesecowsaresmallthosearefaraw Fri 28-Feb-14 14:09:43

PS I can't see any cracks outside the house.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 28-Feb-14 14:18:10

How old is the house? Is the crack definitely new or could you have just noticed it? Could be old movement or old plaster. I can tell you what our insurer did - not sure if this is typical. They sent a surveying company who fitted a monitor in the crack for a year to measure movement. In our case, this confirmed there was no movement within the year, so the crack was due to old movement. But ours is an old house and the crack had been there since we moved in, we think, we just didn't notice it immediately.

starfish4 Fri 28-Feb-14 14:19:05

Is the crack on the external wall a stepped crack or one that runs through the bricks in a line?

starfish4 Fri 28-Feb-14 14:21:18

Sorry my post crossed with yours, and it's not on the outside. We have a crack in our house, but it's due to thermal movement, not something else and apparently very common in older houses especially on the south elevation where ours is. What elevation is it on? Also, if you're in a semi, might be worth checking with neighbours if they've noticed anything.

MummytoMog Fri 28-Feb-14 15:11:40

We had a wall moving away from the rest of the house (due to a shitty loft conversion) and the cracks were massive. Our surveyor told us that they were crazing in the plaster. They weren't. The crazing cracks are all very narrow, but long, the moving cracks were at least four mm wide. But they didn't really get worse for the four years we lived there before we took off the stupid loft conversion.

thesecowsaresmallthosearefaraw Fri 28-Feb-14 15:36:53

It's a 1980s house, I'm the end of the row ("end terrace" technically but not a victorian house). The one by the coving has been there for a while, I noticed it in the summer, but I think it is bigger. I don't think the one at the top of the wall junction was there before the winter.

A crack monitor doesn't sound too frightening! I'm anxious about what to do as a friend has just been declined a payout for water damage, the insurance company said she didn't phone them the moment she first noticed. So if I don't call, I might damage my chances of a payout, but if I do call, I'm worried I'll never be able to sell the house...

thesecowsaresmallthosearefaraw Fri 28-Feb-14 15:37:51

It's a southfacing wall, Starfish.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 28-Feb-14 17:24:54

Personally, I would always get in touch with the insurer. If it is subsiding or whatever I'd rather know about (and deal with) it than worry. Fingers crossed it's just surface rather than structural damage.

thesecowsaresmallthosearefaraw Sat 01-Mar-14 13:32:40

I have called them sad i had a quick tour this morning and the cracks seem to be in all upstairs rooms, and I have corner cracks at two windows.

They asked if I had someone I wanted to handle the claim for me, do people normally have help with things like this?

MillyMollyMama Sat 01-Mar-14 17:26:46

I think you need to ask a structural engineer to do a survey. This is who the insurance company will be referring to if they are asking if you have someone acting for you. Do NOT use a surveyor. They will only pass it on to a structural engineer! A structural engineer is an expert on structures and may well recommend the cracks are monitored. DH is one so know something about this! Also not all cracks are anything to worry about but although subsidence is the most well known cause of cracks, there is such a thing as "heave". This can happen when the ground under and around a building is saturated and expands, commonly clay. If you are on clay and with the rain, this could be the problem. Hopefully not. Normally once a major structural fault is sorted out, a potential buyer should have no worries BECAUSE your house has been sorted, unlike others.

Insurance companies will sometimes employ a loss adjustor if they wish to query the claim. The structural engineer will act on your behalf to fight any reduction in the claim suggested by the insurance company (they may not do this of course). Get your own structural engineer and they will act for you, not the insurance company. The Structural engineer must have the qualification MIStructE and will be able to tell you what needs to be done to sort out the problem, draw up a specification and schedule of works for a contractor and monitor progress, should any of this be needed. Hope this helps.

thesecowsaresmallthosearefaraw Sun 02-Mar-14 16:37:16

Thanks. The guy on the phone said it would go to their loss adjusters straight away, which confused me as I haven't made a claim, I have said "i am worried about these cracks." He said the loss adjusters will arrange for an structural engineer to come round.

I'm sorry to be dim - I did ask him on the phone if they would looking afer my interests and he said yes. So I need to ask again when they call to make their appointment?

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