How to Determine if the Cracks in Walls Are Serious?

When you first notice a crack in your wall you’re going to wonder if it’s always been there or if it’s new. Either scenario is worrying, which is why it’s important to know how to determine if the crack is serious or not.

The good news is that, when spotted early, even a serious crack can be dealt with. In fact, most cracks are not serious. They generally occur because the material used is drying out, the building may be settling, or the shallow foundations have moved slightly.

It sounds serious but these cracks are usually small and can be filled without concern. But, this isn’t always the case which is why you need to know how to check if it’s serious.

Get A Survey

You can have a magnetic particle inspection which will examine the wall for you and assess the placement of particles in the wall, specifically metal-based particles. You may think your walls don’t contain these but there are traces elements in most building materials. The inspection will show where they are positioned and establish if there is an absence of them in a specific pattern. If the pattern comes from the ground up then it is a serious crack that needs looking at farther.

Inspect Inside & Out

If you have a crack on the outside of your home you should look on the inside. A matching crack indicates that entire wall has moved, which suggests subsidence thanks to the earth or foundations moving.

You may need to have your property underpinned in order to ensure there is no more subsidence. The walls can be effectively stitched together and the crack filled to allow redecoration of your home.


Cracks under 3mm are usually a result of humidity level changes affecting the building materials, causing them to shrink and create a slim crack. These are not serious and can be filled.

However, cracks wider than 3mm are generally more of a concern and should be looked at by a professional.

You should pay particular attention if the crack is a long horizontal one along the line of the walls connecting with the ceiling. This indicates the walls and the roof trusses are no longer connected properly, that’s a serious issue that needs professional help.

Vertical cracks usually start at either the top or bottom of the house, if they get wider closer to the edge of your home then that suggests the walls are settling. This may be serious but may simply be settling and that’s all. It’s best to fill them and watch the crack, if it reappears or seems to get worse then you need to get professional help.

Getting Help

After you’ve discovered you have a serious issue the best people to call is a structural engineer. They can assess your entire property and help you to find the best solution.

Remember, a crack that changes quickly is a serious issue and you need to take prompt action, you should never try to fix it without consulting a professional first.

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