Do Foundation Problems Cause Drywall Cracking?
Do foundation problems cause drywall cracking in your home? Cracked drywall can be a sign of a serious problem, such as foundation settling or hydrostatic pressure. In such a case, a professional inspection is in order. Cracks larger than an eighth-inch should be inspected as soon as possible to determine whether they are related to a foundation issue. Here are some signs that you may need to seek professional repair help.
Drywall cracks are a sign of foundation movement
If you notice drywall cracks in your home, they may indicate that your foundation has begun to shift. Even small cracks can be fixed, but larger diagonal cracks may require professional intervention. If your home has suffered major settling, you might notice gaps affecting the function of your windows and doors, as well as large cracks throughout your walls. Besides the visible signs of foundation movement, cracks in your drywall can compromise the structural integrity of your home.
Cracks in dry wall are usually the first sign of foundation movement. This is because the wood in your home's foundation and walls expands and contracts with the changes in soil moisture. Over time, this repeated expansion and contraction stresses the walls, causing them to crack. Professionals can inspect the foundation and repair any foundation damage if necessary. If drywall cracks occur, contact a foundation repair professional to inspect the damage.
Hydrostatic pressure is the cause of drywall cracks
When your home is experiencing drywall cracking, you need to know the cause. If the foundation problem is not repaired, it could cause your house to collapse. While foundation issues are usually slow to develop, serious damage can take years to appear. Hydrostatic pressure is the primary culprit. This pressure causes the walls to crack and can extend from floor to ceiling. The first sign of a problem is a crack that goes in one direction or more. Generally, these cracks are over three millimeters in width and extend for many floors in your home. The same is true for vertical cracks that can span two levels.
Another problem that causes drywall cracking is the change in relative humidity. This condition is also known as Adfreezing or Ice Lenses. Water trapped in the soil freezes and expands, causing the foundation to move. This can result in significant damages such as rebuilding or underpinning. In addition, cracks in walls near door and window corners are a sign that the foundation is shifting.
Foundation settling causes drywall cracks
While some drywall cracks are harmless and can be fixed by a drywall contractor. Others are more serious. Hairline cracks are essentially fissures in sheetrock, and new homes will often show them within their first few months. Light fluctuations in temperature and seasonal rains are also likely causes. However, cracks that are more severe than those that are minor may indicate foundation settling, and if they continue to appear, foundation repair may be necessary.
While the majority of wall cracks are easy to patch, more severe problems may be related to the underlying foundation. Poor soil underneath your foundation can cause cracks in your drywall. Another indicator of foundation problems is the horizontal gap between the wall and the foundation. Thankfully, cracks in walls can often be fixed by yourself, but fixing the underlying problem is essential for your home's structural integrity. If the cracks have become too large, call a professional.
Foundation repair is the best solution for drywall cracks
The best way to fix drywall cracks caused by foundation problems is to have the foundation repaired. While patching foundation cracks is a good temporary fix, the long-term effects of not having the foundation repaired are more expensive than simply fixing the drywall itself. Cracks can also be caused by plumbing leaks or joist flexing. The best solution for drywall cracks caused by foundation problems is to have a professional inspect the walls and foundation to determine if they are at fault.
If the cracks are only hairline, you may not need professional assistance. While professional assistance is available for larger cracks, it may be best to patch smaller cracks yourself. Small cracks can be filled with different substances, including silicone caulk, latex concrete caulk, and hydraulic cement. If the cracks are too big to be filled with any of these substances, you may have to replace the tiles and boards. Thankfully, these materials are flexible and lightweight. They will also help to seal the cracks in the foundation for good.