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Cracks in the drywall of your home are commonplace and are just as easily remediated as well. However, not all cracks that you see on your walls ought to be taken lightly, especially if your home is old. Those cracks could be caused by larger, more serious underlying issues, and quick fixes are not going to help you in those cases. Here’s a quick look at how to repair structural cracks in walls to help you gauge the situation accurately and make the right decisions so your home can keep standing strong.
What Causes Cracks in Walls?
1. New homes
A lot of newly built homes have what is called green lumber, or new lumber, that is used during construction. This has a large amount of moisture in it, and tends to move as it dries out. This natural settling of walls causes small vertical cracks to appear. Do not let this worry you. On the other hand, give your home a year to actually settle in before addressing these cracks.
2. Cracks over doors and windows
Walls are constructed using vertical studs that extend from the floor to the ceiling. While installing doors and windows, these studs need to be cut. This makes these areas weaker than the rest of the wall, and in turn, leads to hairline cracks appearing as the house settles. Remember that houses keep moving ever so slightly through the years. These kinds of cracks aren’t a sign of compromised structural integrity.
3. Empty homes
Homes that remain locked for long periods of time, such as vacation homes, often develop cracks on walls and ceilings. This is due to the interiors not being adequately temperature controlled. Cracking can appear due to fluctuations in humidity and room temperature, which causes the drywall and framing members to expand and contract. Once again, these cracks are minor, and can be easily re-taped and painted.
4. Water damage
If you notice a crack along your wall that has a yellow or brownish tinge to it, this is a sign that the crack is due to water leakage. Water leaking from your roof, water lines or even a window can cause your drywall to saturate, which makes it soften and crack. If the cracks are recent, the area may feel damp to the touch as well, indicating that you have a fresh leak. In these cases, you ought to identify the cause of the leaks and deal with fixing that before getting into crack repairs.
5. Cracks on concrete walls
Concrete walls, especially when they’re foundation walls, are always load-bearing walls. If you notice large horizontal cracks, diagonal cracks, or jagged cracks wider than a quarter of an inch running the entire wall, and if there is some bulging, these are telltale signs of structural damage. Often, these signs are indicative of the foundation shifting or sinking. Another possibility is that your home’s supporting wood members are collapsing due to termite damage.
- Scrape away the loose tape and crumbled drywall mud.
- Sand the surface.
- Fill the crack with drywall compound.
- Apply new tape.
Concrete wall repairs
- Tap 3-inch finish nails partially every 12 inches along the crack.
- Mix equal parts A and B of epoxy on a piece of wood using a putty knife.
- Apply a small amount of epoxy on injection port tabs.
- Attach injection ports to nails.
- Spread mixed epoxy over the tabs, covering the flange of each injection port as well.
- Dip and paintbrush in mineral spirits and feather the epoxy around the edges.
- Allow the epoxy to cure for up to 10 hours.
- Use a caulk gun to inject liquid concrete from the bottom up into the ports.
- Make sure you plug each port before moving to the next.
- Cut the ports flush with the wall using a hacksaw after allowing it to cure for at least 5 days.
Structural damage repairs
Major cracks in concrete walls are signs of structural problems and need the expertise of a professional. Get the advice of a structural engineer and hire a professional contractor to handle these types of cracks, You would not want to take chances with the structural integrity of your home.
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