Ceiling Cracks and Your Foundation
Ceiling cracks plague many homes in Dallas, Texas. At best, they look unsightly. But at worst, they could reveal sobering facts about your home’s foundation. So what’s really causing those cracks in your ceiling? And perhaps most importantly, what should you do about them?
How Foundation Problems Cause Cracks
Cracks can be caused by a variety of factors, including seasonal shrinkage, moisture damage, and excess weight above your ceiling. However, a foundation problem is one of the most common and most concerning causes of ceiling cracks in Dallas homes. If your foundation moves, as it might during one of Dallas’ drought episodes, for example, the load-bearing beams of your home can move with it, creating small and large cracks in your ceiling.
The Appearance of Ceiling Cracks From Foundation Problems
Ceiling cracks caused by foundation problems can take a couple of different forms. The most common are vertical cracks which run along a ceiling then continue down the wall. These are usually caused by structural damage, such as damage sustained as a result of a settling foundation.
Small spider web cracks, which spread out from a central point, commonly occur as homes age. Usually these aren’t a problem and can simply be plastered over. However, large spider web cracks may be caused by structural problems. If a spider web crack is wider than 1/16 of an inch, there may be cause for concern.
You should also look out for bows and dips in your ceiling near the cracks. These problems could indicate the joists which should hold your home upright have become weak.
Steps to Take When Cracks Appear
If you’re concerned by cracks in your ceiling, step outside and assess your home’s exterior. There are a number of visual cues that might suggest your home’s foundation is compromised. These include a sagging roofline, cracks in your walls and foundation, and gaps between your bricks and windows. These problems may all arise when foundations are damaged. You may also spot other signs of foundation problems inside your home, including cracks in your floor, windows, or doors that are difficult to open or close, sloping floors, and water leakage.
Any cracks in your home should also be monitored for growth. A small spider web crack might seem like a natural part of aging, but if it grows, a more sinister problem with your foundation might be to blame. Similarly, while cracks on the edges of your walls are normally a symptom of ordinary settling, if those cracks extend up to the ceiling you could have foundational flaws.
Remember that no amount of online research can take the place of the knowledge and experience of foundation professionals. These experts can evaluate your cracks and suggest measures to safeguard your home against further damage.
Cracks in the ceiling aren’t just ugly to look at. They might also mean your home’s foundation is at risk. When in doubt, make sure you seek the opinions of foundation experts who know when a crack is a minor aesthetic problem and when it could be something more serious.