Does your home exterior have cracked walls? What types of cracks can happen in walls?
Why do walls crack? What happens if I dont get the cracks repaired?
Exactly HOW can the cracks be fixed and filled in?
Having cracks in walls can be a real pain.
Not only do cracked walls look awful, and lower the value of a home, they can cause further damage to the house, in fact once a crack appears on an exterior walls, it will usually get worse over time.
What types of cracks happen in walls and why?
There are various types of cracks according to what is happening to the wall.
There can be small very thin cracks, known in the trade as “hairline” cracks and these can be caused by various things but usually the freeze and thaw process assists the cracks.
Often hairline cracks will be multitude on the wall, causing larger, more serious cracks to appear over time.
More serious cracks can become evident in instances of excessive building movement or subsidence, where the foundations or footings of the house start to move, usually downwards into the ground.
Even a slight settlement of a few mm can cause serious structural damage. The house above was situated on a main crossroads. Years of heavy lorries rumbling by had literally shaken the house so much it caused the rendering to crack.
Why do walls crack?
Walls crack for various reasons, some of which are preventable through good exterior maintenance and some walls, such as those in exposed areas, are at the mercy of the weather and of nature.
Remember: Cracking is the EFFECT of an underlying problem, not the CAUSE of it, so finding what causes cracks is of the utmost importance.
One reason walls crack is water pressure.
This is a common cause for cracking walls.
Water can push upwards (hydrostatic pressure), or push laterally against a wall, especially in colder countries where any moisture in the walls freezes, and then of course expands, pushing, for example, a pebbledash coating away from the brick wall it was stuck to, like this horror story below.
As this type of rendered wall surface is generally not flexible, this causes cracks.
These cracks are then literally linear “holes” in the wall, which regrettably, allow MORE water in, accelerating the wall cracking process.
Direct sunlight over a period of time can also cause walls to crack and in this case, having a light colour on the wall, such as a white exterior wall coating or paint covering may help avoid this.
Poor maintenance of exterior walls, such as not having the house painted for 20 years (!) will leave the wall not protected from the weather and will cause cracks so it’s important to keep the exterior walls of the house in good order at all times.
Earthquakes and “Acts of God”
This is something that, for existing home owners, is something they normally do not have to worry about and if the property is located in an area prone to earthquakes and tremors, it is worth getting an engineer to check the house is earthquake proof, although this only has certain effectiveness.
Lightning strikes can also damage houses and commercial buildings, and cause wall cracks, but again this is rare.
What happens if cracks are not repaired?
If a crack in a wall is left, no matter what type of crack, it is going to get worse: FACT.
Serious cracks left unattended could cause dilapidation and eventually parts of the house to collapse. Thankfully, no one in their right mind lets their home get that bad!
Most cracks if not repaired will start to allow water in, which will then cause damp and mould growth within the building.
This would have serious repercussions on the health of anyone living in the house.
The ideal solution is to have our teams install a protective wall coating on your home!
If your home has cracks in the walls, get it repaired NOW. You can call us for advice on 0800 970 4928
How can cracks be repaired?
The method used to repair cracks depends heavily on the nature and severity of the cracked wall.
In some cases, hairline cracks are only surface deep and therefore filling the crack with a flexible silicone can be a simple and effective repair, although this is more of a quick fix than a long term solution.
Sometimes a good quality exterior wall filler will suffice.
Larger cracks in walls must be cut out with an angle grinder and filled, preferably with a special epoxy resin mortar which will bind the 2 edges of the crack together and prevent further cracking in the wall.
This should be then filled and made smooth to the rest of the wall with sand and cement render, smoothing the surface over with a damp sponge during the drying process will also prevent any “scars” when the wall is coated or painted afterwards.
When serious structural cracks appear, such as in the case of house subsidence, a qualified surveyor will be your first point of contact to assess the situation.
Getting someone to repair cracks
This person can advise on the best way forward and may also be willing to liaise with your building insurance provider to cover the cost of repairs, which in most cases, are extremely expensive.
In the worst case scenario, the house would have to be demolished and rebuilt, with more secure foundations.
Once the house has been re-secured and will not move again, then you would need to call an exterior specialist to repair the cracks in the walls and apply a suitable protective exterior wall coating to hide any scars or blemishes from vision.
Once good point about having an exterior masonry wall coating is that often the coatings are very flexible and therefore any slight further movement will be absorbed by the flexibility of the exterior wall coating.
What can I do if my house has cracked walls?
The first thing to do is to not worry, we can help you!
If your home has cracks, please contact us initially for advice.
We can advise you partially on the phone as to the best course of action, and should be want further information, we can arrange, free of charge, to come and have a look at the house and prepare a written survey report for you on the severity of the cracks in the walls
We would and of course leave you with a price quotation to have them fixed, with our special exterior wall coatings.