Do Cracks in Drywall Mean My Foundation Needs Fixing?
Homeowners don’t always know the signs of foundation problems, and as a result they wait until foundation damage is severe before calling in a professional. Not all cracks in your drywall or sheetrock indicate your foundation needs a repair, but certain kinds of cracks often indicate foundation issues. If you notice a crack in the wall that wasn’t there before, take a good look at how it’s positioned, how big it is, and whether it seems to be expanding. Even if it looks minor, calling an expert will tell you for sure.
How Big Is the Crack?
Before you panic, realize that narrow drywall cracks don’t necessarily indicate foundation problems. Houses shift and settle, causing cracks to appear. As the seasons change, the wood in your walls and foundation (pier and beam) expands and contracts, which can also cause minor drywall cracks. Without calling a professional, you won’t know for sure, but by examining the way your drywall is cracked, you’ll find clues to the cause of the damage. If the crack is wider than 1/8th of an inch, however, that’s cause for concern.
Is the Crack Horizontal?
Your drywall runs vertically, so when minor house shifting happens it’s likely to crack vertically. A horizontal crack, or one that runs at an angle, indicates something more serious is going on. Shifting foundation is powerful enough to cause horizontal or diagonal cracks that are hard to fill with putty and paint over. If you notice any horizontal or diagonal cracks, especially if they get longer and wider, you need to have a professional examine your foundation immediately.
Are the Cracks Near Windows and Doors?
When the cracks you notice in your drywall and sheetrock are near the windows and doors, that’s another cause for concern. Foundation shifting causes window frames and door frames to change shape, which cracks the walls nearby. Try opening and closing the windows and doors. When the windows stick in their frames, or when the doors don’t close all the way, that’s another indicator of foundation damage.
Do You See Stair-Stepping?
It is best to examine your brick veneer regularly for signs of movement (cracks). If you find a cracks that appears in the formation of a stair step, there is reason to be concerned. If you find vertical cracks that run along a straight mortar joint, it maybe common seasonal movement. In ny case it makes sense to seek professional opinion when you fid cracks in the bricks surrounding your home.
Foundation problems aren’t always obvious when they first start. Any one of these problems could indicate you have foundation damage and need to call a professional to have your foundation examined. Though vertical cracks in your drywall are less concerning, don’t assume that any cracks in your walls are safe. Calling an expert is the best way to ensure your foundation is healthy.