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My House Has Cracks

Cracking is a very common building defect. Most buildings experience cracking to some extent however some cracks are only cosmetic and others are an indication of an underlying structural problem that can be expensive or complex to rectify.

It is important to understand that our Inspectors are not structural Engineers. We must refer you to an Engineer where cracking is noted. However, our Inspectors look at thousands of houses every year and they will be able to alert you to any unusual or concerning cracking activity.

Walls damaged by pests in the house

Typical cracking in a Bungalow – around window and door openings

Cracking types depend on the method of construction.

Cracking commonly occurs in older style full masonry houses constructed prior to the introduction of concrete footings. Concrete footings were introduced around the time of the second world war. Anything constructed prior to this will have brick or stone footings. These footings are prone to structural movement over time especially where the foundation soil is sand or clay.

Cracked brick arch

Cracking above window opening in Federation brick house

The Inner West areas of Sydney contain a large number of brick cottages sitting on clay foundation material. Clay will expand and contract with the relative moisture content in the soil and this causes cracking damage. Repairs can involve localised patching or replacement of the damaged brickwork. Underpinning can be required in more extreme cases.

Another common cracking issue is found in double brick and concrete structures such as double brick homes and blocks of units. Concrete and brick will expand and contract and most of this movement occurs in the first 10 years. The differential movement between the brick and concrete elements can cause cracking damage on internal and external walls, particularly where render wall linings are installed. This type of cracking is usually more of a cosmetic issue rather than an indication of a major structural problem. Patching repairs or the installation of expansion joints is usually adequate.