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Drywall Cracks

Drywall cracks are certainly a frustrating problem. What’s the best solution you can choose for drywall cracks and their associated problems?

Lower vertical crack on the window wall.

A Better Solution for Drywall Cracks

Drywall cracks, while fairly common, can also be indicative of a serious structural failure. Ignoring these problems can lead to more issues in the future.

The question is, how do you handle these drywall cracks in a more effective manner? If you’re looking for a better method of handling your drywall cracks, including ones that are more serious and ones that are less so, here’s what you need to know.

How to Handle Drywall Cracks Early

The best way to manage your drywall cracks is to handle them as early and thoroughly as possible. How do you do that? These methods will help you spot and fix your drywall cracks very early in the process.

  • Know the Warning Signs

Drywall cracks don’t often occur without any other warning signs. That’s because most of the time, these cracks are indicative of a much deeper problem. When you’re seeing drywall cracks indicative of a structural concern, you’ll also often see many of these warning signs:

  • Wall gaps
  • Bowing walls
  • Bouncy floor joists
  • Sagging floors
  • Chimney cracks
  • Nail pops

That’s because these things, as well as drywall cracks, are indicative of serious foundation settlement. Some amount of settling is normal for a home, but it can become a serious problem when the home settles far more than it was ever intended to. When you notice these problems, you’re more likely to see that the drywall cracks are evidence of a problem. 

  • Do a Yearly Examination

Every year, you should bring in an expert who can examine your structure and make sure it’s as strong as possible. You should even do this if you don’t think there are any problems. Most of the time, you’ll have an expert who comes in and lets you know that everything is okay. However, every so often, you’ll have an expert who tells you that there is a problem.

This is exactly why you need to do a yearly examination. All the times that nothing is wrong, you have nothing to worry about. However, what if you miss the examination that one time something is wrong? Every year, it’s a good idea to get an expert to examine the structure. You’ll thank yourself in the future when they do catch something.

  • Try to Inspect the Home on Your Own

It’s also important that you do some inspection on your own. Of course, you can’t inspect the home entirely on your own. That’s what experts are for, after all. However, a yearly inspection only happens once every year. You’re in your home every single day. When you have a bit of knowledge about potential home dangers, you can make sure you’re able to get an expert the moment you see something wrong.

Remember, drywall cracks happen because of underlying problems. Those underlying problems are bound to cause some secondary issues. If you start noticing those secondary issues, such as uneven floors or nail pops, it may be a good idea to look across all your walls, especially at the corners. If you notice drywall cracks, it’s a good idea to call in an inspector.

Where Else Can Drywall Cracks Have an Impact?

Drywall cracks don’t just impact the area where the crack occurs. Because they’re often a sign of a very serious structural problem, they have a radiating impact. You’ll notice these impacts all across your home.

  • Individual Rooms

The most limited area that these drywall cracks can have an impact on is the individual rooms they’re in. Of course, when you have drywall cracks in one room, those cracks will have an impact on that specific room. You’ll certainly see the impact on each room where you have drywall cracks. However, many people don’t know how these cracks can impact the room.

The first element is that they’re not great to look at. Cracks tend to be a telltale sign that something’s wrong, which is why so many people hate to see them. It’s also important to note that cracks grow over time. With serious enough cracks, you could have flaking or chipping around the crack. Additionally, these may grow out of wall or floor gaps that are evident in the rest of the home.

  • General Structure 

Individual rooms aren’t the only places where drywall cracks can create lasting damage. These cracks can also have a serious impact on the overarching structure of the home. Most of the time, that’s because drywall cracks almost inevitably come from structural damage. They typically form because one section of the home is sinking more than another section, causing the drywall to crack on the side where there’s more tension.

When this is the problem, it’s not enough just to fix the cracks in the drywall. You have to fix the underlying problems. If you don’t, you’ll run into the problem of recurring issues. That sinking is going to continue to be a problem whether or not you see cracks in the drywall. That’s why it’s so important to maintain your structural integrity regardless of the individual symptoms.

  • Outside the Home 

The internal areas of your home aren’t the only ones that can experience problems due to the underlying issues that can cause drywall cracks. An entire property, including the areas outside the home, can also see these problems. Again, the settling of the home can have a serious impact on the entire property, especially if the home is settling because of issues with the soil.

One of these problems can come from the fact that you probably have a lot of concrete surrounding your home. Concrete can be on your sidewalk, patio, driveway, pool deck, and much more. This concrete can run into the same problems as the concrete in your home. If you start seeing settling in these concrete areas, you can have serious and dramatic concerns with that concrete structure.

FAQs About Drywall Cracks

Drywall cracks can have a major impact on wall health as a whole. If you’re looking to make sure that your home has a healthy structure, you do need to make sure that you’re tackling your drywall cracks as early as possible. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

  • Minor Hairline Cracks 

The least worrying type of crack for your drywall is a minor hairline crack. A hairline crack is a very thin crack, typically not even thick enough for you to put a business card in. In terms of width, most people consider a crack to be a hairline crack if it’s less than a very small fraction of an inch in width, with some going as low as 0.003 inches or 0.08 mm.

There are many reasons that you might have hairline drywall cracks. For example, it can happen when the initial construction crew didn’t apply the drywall very effectively or when it naturally settles as it dries. The good news is that minor hairline cracks are typically not a problem that will develop into a serious issue.

  • Cracks Reaching Through the Drywall

The biggest problem that you can experience with cracks is when they go all the way through the drywall.  This is true no matter what size they are. Even extremely small cracks that are under an inch in width can go all the way through your home’s drywall, which means you need to look at the depth of a crack, not just the length or width.

Cracks that reach through the drywall will almost always be more serious than cracks that don’t. Surface-level cracks are one thing, but cracks that reach all the way through the drywall will allow in air, water, pests, and other unwanted elements from the outside. Although it’s an especially big problem with large cracks, it’s always a potential problem.

There are two common types of drywall cracks: foundational cracks and surface cracks. Surface cracks are just that: surface-level. However, foundational cracks come from a foundation problem. If you’re looking to tell the difference between the two, here are a few of the things that you can keep in mind.

  • Surface and Hairline Cracks 

The most obvious evidence of a crack being surface level is that it’s barely noticeable. These cracks typically aren’t even big enough to fit a business card into. It’s also probably surface-level if it doesn’t seem like it’s coming from a specific location. Cracks that seem to radiate from a specific location are more likely to be serious.

However, even hairline cracks can technically reach all the way through a wall. There’s no way to tell the depth of a crack based on its width, length, or location. If you start noticing cracks that seem to come out of nowhere, it’s a good idea to talk to an expert as soon as possible.

  • Foundational Cracks

When a drywall crack is showcasing a foundation concern, you’ll likely see a few signs. This includes other signs of foundation problems, like uneven floors and drywall nail pops. Foundation cracks also typically come from the corners of doors and windows. This is because the foundation problem often results in one side of the wall bearing more weight than the other.

Overall, however, the best way for you to see whether a crack is foundational is to get more information about it from an expert. Only an expert will be able to accurately assess whether you’re having foundation problems, which is exactly why calling in an expert is such a good idea.

Filling in drywall cracks is something that might seem easy on the surface. Therefore, it looks like it should be perfect for a DIYer. However, it can be much more difficult to fill in drywall cracks than it appears. Here’s what you need to think about before you fill in drywall cracks on your own. 

  • Underlying Problems

The major reason that you shouldn’t just fill in drywall cracks on your own is that there can be all sorts of underlying problems, like expansive soils. Those problems are what cause the drywall cracks. Fixing the underlying problems will be what eventually allows you to fix your drywall cracks permanently.

Sure, you might be able to cover the drywall cracks for a short time. The problem is that if you haven’t handled the underlying problems, you will probably notice recurring concerns. Getting an expert out to fix the underlying problems will be more effective, less expensive, and generally better for your home.

  • Complications with Filling in Cracks

There can be complications with the filling process itself. Making a mistake during this process isn’t ideal, especially because it’s frustratingly common for laypeople. When you make a mistake as you fill in cracks, you’re liable to make the problem worse, which can be more expensive and time-consuming to replace.

Filling drywall cracks isn’t as easy as it often looks. If you’re trying to fill in the drywall cracks without a lot of professional knowledge, you could end up making the problem worse. At the end of the day, it’s almost always better to just get an expert to help.

The process of replacing cracked drywall looks difficult and complicated, and it’s true that it can be both of these things. However, if you’re able to get to it early, you may be able to fix the cracked drywall in another way. Here are a few of the options that may be available.

  • Partial Replacement

It might be possible to partially replace the cracked drywall. If only a very small portion of the drywall has cracks in it, someone may be able to come in, cut out the part of the drywall that has problems, and replace only that part. After they spray texture on the drywall and repaint the area, it’ll be essentially unnoticeable.

This is typically much easier than replacing huge areas of drywall. However, you have to get to it early so you can use this option. If you’re able to pay attention to your home and take these problem signs into account, you’re likely to be able to utilize a partial replacement method. Otherwise, you might need to be more creative.

  • Other Options

Depending on the reasons for the crack and the extent of the crack, there may also be other options available for you. However, it’s a good idea to talk to a Groundworks expert before you go forward with any of them. That way, the expert will be able to help you more with all of your home problems, not just your cracking drywall.

Make an appointment with a Groundworks expert to learn more about your drywall cracking options. That includes getting information on the underlying cause, the potential problems you might experience, and more. There are many potential options available and a Groundworks expert can help you implement them.

Fixing Drywall Cracks the Right Way the First Time

More than anything, it’s important that you fix these cracks the right. The problem with a half-fix is that it often does even more harm than good. Fixing the underlying causes of a drywall crack is always going to be your best bet, much more than just plastering over it.

This is exactly why foundation repair experts exist. A Groundworks expert can do an inspection, understand what’s going on in your home, and suggest the best repair opportunity. Remember, investing in your home’s drywall now will always pay off in the future, which is exactly why it’s so important to talk to a Groundworks expert early on.

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