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Question DetailsAsked on 6/26/2016

What are these cracks in my walls?

They have been growing in size and some doors won't close properly. I'm looking for solutions to this.

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2 Answers


Reference photos.

Answered 4 years ago by EPP2


Look like some nasty load transfer shear cracking - could be caused by severe termite damage or rotting substructure, failing foundation, seriously unstable soils (landsliding, expansive/shrinking soils, soils washing away under foundation, inadequate foundation in first place, sinkhole, etc). The third photo is the sort of cracking you commonly see in fairly old houses where the support bemas or floor joists are sagging significantly with age. The second one looks like a pretty significant streesing of both those walls, with the crack turning horizontal by the window rather than continuing up to the top corner probably because there was fire blocking in the wall right there. The first one makes it look like you have actual wall displacement to the right of the door and on into the corner - something pretty significant is going on there at least.

Overall, definitely more nasty and more severe looking that your normal aging creep of floor joists and such - I would check around the basement/crawlspace for any signs of insect/rot/fungal damage to the wood framing, foundation wall cracking or tilting (or slab if slab-on-grade house), secondary signs of insects (dead bodies, wings, sawdust piles or mud tubes up the side of the foundation to the house), crackign or displacement of the ground around the house (within 50 feet or so, up to 100 or more if located on a steep hill or bluff) or appearance of significant dishing or settlement of the house area that could indicate settlement of the house or a sinkhole or such - that look-around might give you an idea as to the cause.

Ultimately you are likely to need either a Foundation Repair specialist or a General Contractor - but you are also going to need a Structural Engineer (if a structural issue) or a Geotechnical (Soils and Foundations) Engineer (not an angies list category) if a soils/foundation problem to determine what the fix options are and prepare plans and specs for contra tors to bid on and for the successful contractor to build to. Or you can go with an Architect who can use either in-house or affiliated engineers to do the design - especially if you anticipate some remodeling in the process.

I don't mean to scare you - but that amount of cracking and especially the apparent overthrusting of some of the drywall over other drywall rather than just cracking, and the fact it is progressing noticeably means you need to get on this issue immediately - it looks like you have at least a significant issue going on here, and not one that is likely to stop rather than get worse as time goes on. So if you can determine yourself if it is deterioration or failure of framing (so Structural Engineer job for the evaluation and design - plus Pest Control if insect caused) or foundation/soils movement (Geotechnical Engineer) you can call one of them in for an inspection and preliminary assessment for probably about $500 (which will NOT include the actual remedial design unless a real simple cause like a failed support beam or such). Otherwise, you could pass it off to an Architecture/Engineer firm with structural and geotechnical capabilities and let them have the appropriate people (maybe more than one) look at it to determine the cause.

And of course, it is unlikely insurance is going to cover it, because damage caused by groundwater, deterioration of framing, soils or foundation failure, or preogressive long-term failure of structure are notmally not covered by homeowner's policies - but check your fine print once you have an idea of the cause, you might luck out or have a ground movement rider or such.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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