So, you've been stripping the wallpaper ready to redecorate your bedroom, and you've found a huge crack running down the wall. What should you do? Believe it or not, cracks aren't always a danger sign. Some cracking and settling of a building is perfectly normal, especially in relatively new properties. However, if your roof and wall look like they're separating, you see damaged roof slates, or a crack gets wider and wider over time, then that could be cause of concern.
It's fairly normal to see cracks in plasterboard. Usually, these cracks can be repaired with a little bit of plaster and then decorated over. Plasterboard cracks aren't usually caused by structural damage, so while they're unsightly, they aren't a serious problem.
Cracks around chimney flues can be fairly normal too, especially if the chimney is in use. Flues can crack because of the repeated heating and cooling process that they go through If you have any concerns, ask a surveyor to take a look at it.
Sometimes, problems with a building can be identified before cracks appear. For example, if doors or windows start sticking or becoming difficult to open, this could be a sign that a wall or the roof has shifted. You may also start to notice rippling or bunching of your wallpaper in areas where there are no obvious signs of damp.
Cracks that are big enough to cause those sorts of issues are usually indications of a serious problem. Look out for suddenly loose roof slates, cracks at the edge of walls, and cracks that are wider at the top. Call a surveyor for advice if you spot any of those things; the longer the issue goes untreated, the more damage could be done to the building, and the more dangerous it gets.
Subsidence and Other Issues
If cracks appear suddenly or grow to be more than 3cm wide, then this could be a sign of subsidence. If you fix cracks, and then they keep re-appearing, then this could be a sign of a recurring problem such as vibrations from passing traffic causing issues.
Subsidence is a serious issue and could be dangerous if left untreated. If you think that you might have a problem with subsidence then you should get your property looked at by an expert as soon as possible.
Sometimes, subsidence is caused by outside factors such as a nearby large tree, or a water leak. In other cases, the building's foundations simply weren't made deep enough to protect the structure.
Your buildings insurance will most likely cover you for subsidence, especially if you have a mortgage on your home. If you don't have buildings insurance then you will need to pay an independent expert to assess the property. Depending on the cause of the problem, you could find yourself faced with a hefty bill, however it's well worth getting the building looked at, as subsidence could make the property structurally unsound.
About the author: This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of Ashbrook Roofing the roofing supplies experts who can help you choose the correct roofing slates for any project.