Do Cracks in Drywall Mean My Foundation Needs Fixing?
The signs of foundation problems are subtle at first. They begin with small cracks in drywall, which many homeowners try to patch before calling a Dallas, TX foundation repair specialist. Waiting too long leads to limited options for repair and much higher costs.
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 for a free estimate lets you know for sure, without costing you anything.
When drywall cracks, foundation problems could be the cause
Houses naturally shift and settle, causing cracks to appear. When the soil fails to support the weight of your home, the foundation may settle unevenly. It is more common for houses to shift in dramatic ways when they’re built upon loose clay soil, as in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Homes that are experiencing significant settling have gaps affecting window function, walls that are not of equal height, and large, widespread cracking. Foundation damage cracks in drywall will only worsen with time if not addressed, putting the structural integrity of your home in jeopardy.
Do cracks in drywall mean foundation problems every time?
Before you panic, realize that narrow drywall cracks don’t necessarily indicate foundation problems. Without calling a professional, you won’t know for sure, but your own observations can be helpful. Here’s what to look for:
- Is the drywall crack big? If the crack is wider than 1/8th of an inch, that’s cause for concern.
- Is the drywall crack horizontal or angled? Minor house shifting causes vertical cracks. A shifting foundation can be powerful enough to cause horizontal or diagonal cracks that are harder to fill and putty over.
- Is the drywall crack widening? Call us right away if a crack is wide enough to fit a dime inside or if one end of the crack is noticeably wider than the other.
- 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. Shifting foundations cause window frames and door frames to change shape, cracking 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? Brick veneers with cracks that appear in a stair-step formation are cause for concern. Vertical cracks along a straight mortar joint could indicate seasonal movement, which is less concerning. A professional opinion would be helpful in either case.
Any one of these problems could indicate that you have foundation damage and need to call a professional to have your foundation examined.
What causes cracks in dry wall besides damaged foundation?
One of the first questions people ask foundation experts is: “What causes cracks in drywall?” Obviously, homeowners want to know how the situation occurred and what they can do to prevent further damage. There are many causes of foundation wall cracks – each with their own unique solution. We are equipped to assist with drywall cracks caused by:
- Seasonal changes: As the seasons change, the wood in your walls and foundation (pier and beam) expands and contracts, which also causes minor drywall cracks. Expansive soils contract when dry, and expand when moist, potentially putting thousands of pounds of pressure on your walls. Some walls will buckle, fall, or end up beyond repair if not corrected.
- Post-construction shrinkage: Wood frames may dry and shrink within the first year, producing vertical and horizontal cracking on walls. Occasionally we see this when the builder has used a poor or rushed finishing technique. One repair is usually enough to fix the problem permanently.
- Curing Concrete: Concrete walls often develop small cracks during the curing process. These fissures are perfectly normal and no cause for alarm unless they begin to elongate, widen, or are greater than 1/16th of an inch.
How to address drywall cracks that keep coming back
Foundation repair is the best solution for drywall cracks that keep coming back. We offer many different solutions for drywall cracks and damaged foundations, depending on your unique situation. Pier and beam solutions are designed to prop your home up further away from shifting soils. A drainage solution moves excess moisture away from your home and foundation.
Call Align Foundation Repair, a family-run Dallas-Fort Worth company
Though vertical cracks in your drywall are less concerning, don’t assume that any cracks in your walls are safe. Not all cracks in your drywall or sheetrock indicate foundation damage, but calling a Fort Worth, TX foundation repair expert for a free assessment is the best way to ensure your foundation is healthy. We offer many affordable solutions, as well as zero-interest loan programs to help you protect your home sooner rather than later.