Cracks in Drywall

Discovering cracks in your drywall can be concerning as they may indicate significant structural issues in your home. It’s important to identify these problem signs early on to prevent further damage.

drywall cracks, Northern Virginia

Repairing Cracks in Drywall in Northern Virginia, Shenandoah Valley, North Central Virginia, and West Virginia

Your basement offers various possibilities: storage, a laundry room, or an extra bedroom. However, it’s crucial to maintain this space like any other room in your home. Neglecting proper protection can result in issues such as moisture and damage. One significant indication of substantial damage is the presence of cracks in drywall, which can lead to foundation problems with severe consequences.

 

Cracks in drywall are fractures or separations in the surface of interior walls and ceilings. These cracks can vary in size, shape, and severity, from fine hairline cracks to larger fissures. While some cracks are superficial and due to natural settling, others can indicate more serious issues, especially when they repeatedly appear or widen over time.

 

There are several other signs of problems that you can catch early on. Let’s explore how floor cracks develop, what signs to look out for, and how Lux Foundation Solutions can help.

Do These Signs of Cracks in Drywall Look Familiar?

The symptoms

Many people may not realize that their basement is facing problems until it’s too late. While it’s good to know what can cause basement damage, it’s even more important to be able to identify smaller issues first so you can call the experts and have them addressed before they become bigger problems.

 

Take a closer look at your basement walls. Do you see any of these common signs of cracks in drywall?

 

  • Visible cracks running horizontally, vertically, or diagonally
  • Cracks that appear wider than 1/8 inch
  • Cracks accompanied by bulging or sagging drywall
  • Gaps in floors
  • Stair-step cracks in brickwork
  • Cracks accompanied by sticking doors or windows

What causes cracks in drywall?

If you’re a homeowner, you might be curious to know what causes cracks in drywall or other damage in your basement.  Understanding the causes behind it can help you prevent further damage.

 

 

Here are some common reasons:

Foundation Settlement

Foundation settlement can lead to cracks in the drywall as the soil beneath the house compresses or shifts, causing the foundation to sink or settle unevenly. As the foundation shifts, it can cause stress and strain on the walls, leading to cracks in the drywall. Some signs of foundation settling include slopes, cracks in the exterior of the house, and doors that don’t close properly.

 

These cracks can be a sign of water infiltration due to the compromised foundation’s vulnerability to moisture penetration.

 

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure is typically caused by water accumulation or inadequate drainage around a building’s foundation.

 

As the hydrostatic pressure increases, it weakens the structural integrity of the walls. It causes damage to the foundation and walls, leading to the appearance of cracks in the drywall as the force pushes against the structure. These cracks often manifest higher up on the walls and may be accompanied by dampness or water stains, indicating the presence of water-related issues.

Temperature and Moisture Changes

Fluctuations in temperature and moisture levels can cause materials to expand and contract, resulting in cracks in drywall. In a basement environment with inconsistent humidity and temperature, the drywall may undergo repeated expansion and contraction, putting stress on the walls and leading to cracks.

 

When there’s a water problem, such as leaks or high humidity, the moisture content in the walls increases. As the moisture is absorbed, the drywall can expand unevenly, further stressing the material and resulting in cracks. These cracks can indicate ongoing moisture-related basement issues that need to be addressed.

Poor Construction

Poor construction practices during the initial building phase can contribute to cracks in drywall. If the basement was not constructed with adequate waterproofing measures or the foundation was poorly designed using low-quality materials, inadequate structural support, or improper installation techniques, it can lead to vulnerabilities.

 

Water can easily infiltrate through weak points in the foundation, causing the surrounding soil to become unstable. These structural weaknesses can cause the walls to bow, resulting in visible gaps and compromised integrity.

Bowing Walls

Bowing walls occur when lateral pressure from the surrounding soil pushes against the basement walls, causing them to curve or bulge inward. Poor construction techniques, lateral soil pressure, inadequate wall reinforcement, poor drainage, or the presence of excess water in the soil can cause this. As the walls bow, the attached drywall can crack due to the stress and movement.

 

Bowing walls are often a clear sign of ongoing water-related issues in the basement, as water-saturated soil can exert significant pressure on the walls. Cracks in the drywall and bowing walls highlight the need to address these water-related problems promptly to prevent further structural damage.

 

Our Solutions

Carbon Fiber

wall anchors

push pier

If I notice a small vertical crack in my basement wall, how should I prevent the crack from expanding?

If you’ve noticed a small vertical crack in your basement wall, it’s important to take action as soon as possible to prevent the crack from expanding. One effective solution is to use carbon fiber to reinforce the wall and prevent additional damage. Carbon fiber is a lightweight, durable material to strengthen structures and avoid further cracking. It is an effective and long-lasting solution that can save you from costly repairs in the future.

What should I do if my foundation might be settling due to severe cracks in the drywall?

If you notice severe cracks in your drywall, it could be a sign of the foundation settling. You should contact Lux Foundation Solutions immediately. We will evaluate your foundation and determine the cause of the settling. 

One effective solution for settling foundations with severe gaps we always recommend is the installation of Push Piers. Push Piers are steel piers driven deep into the ground to support and stabilize your foundation by transferring the weight of the home to more stable soil deep below the surface. 

I think my walls are bowing due to severe cracks in the drywall?

Yes, severe cracks in drywall can cause walls to bow. Bowing occurs when the base material (such as drywall) bends or warps due to pressure from behind the wall. This can happen when severe gaps occur and are left unaddressed for a long period of time.

I think my Facade is pulling away, causing a drywall crack?

If you notice that your facade is pulling away and causing a drywall crack, this could be a sign of a bigger problem with your basement foundation. This can occur due to various reasons, such as age, weather, or structural issues. To solve this problem, it needs to reattach the masonry facade to the backup structure. 

 

One of the solutions Lux Foundation Solutions recommends for this issue is Stitch Ties. Stitch ties are made of durable stainless steel and can easily help to reconnect the outer layer (facade) with the inner layer (structural wall), preventing further damage and cracks. This helps to distribute the weight of the facade evenly and prevent it from pulling away. Stitch ties can easily fix your facade and make it look as good as new without tearing the structure.

The cracks come and go seasonally from Thermal expansion. What should I do?

If you’re experiencing seasonal cracks due to thermal expansion, it is common as temperatures fluctuate throughout the year. However, it’s important not to ignore these as they may lead to bigger issues, such as leaks and drafts. 

 

To address this problem there are a few steps you can take to address the issue. First,  check the insulation in your home. Poor insulation can lead to temperature fluctuations and exacerbate cracking.

 

Additionally, consider conducting a thermal image scan of your house to identify areas of heat transfer and potential weak spots. Also, checking your attic and crawlspace for moisture or humidity changes can help prevent cracking. By taking these steps, you can avoid more significant issues down the line and maintain a comfortable living environment.

My house is new and has cracks. Is this a concern?

Generally no. 

Newly built houses may exhibit cracking caused by natural events like ground settlement, thermal movements, and materials’ shrinkage. According to the National House Building Council (NHBC), you may experience minor wall and floor cracks due to the settlement of the structure over its new foundation. Subsequently, the property stabilizes, and these gaps pose no threat. You may also notice small gaps in the first few months due to materials in walls and floors drying out, i.e., shrinkage. 

 

Maintenance is essential, as different materials react differently to seasonal temperatures and weather changes, leading to minor gaps at places where the materials meet, known as a thermal movement.

 

However, it’s worth noting that a small percentage of new homes may experience foundation failure, which would require professional attention.

Don’t let cracks in your basement’s drywall go unnoticed. Schedule a free estimate with LUX Foundation Solutions today, and let our experts diagnose and address the underlying causes. Protect your home and ensure the longevity of your basement. 

Contact the Basement Waterproofing Experts in Northern Virginia and West Virginia Today

As a homeowner, spotting issues in your basement before they become big problems can be difficult. Recognizing the warning signs can help you call in the basement experts before things get too out of hand.

 

If you see cracks in your drywall, it could be a sign of serious damage to your foundation. This can lead to further damage to your home. But don’t worry — our basement experts can help. We’ll quickly install permanent repairs to close these troubling cracks and prevent future ones.

 

Take the first step towards resolving basement problems. Contact LUX Foundation Solutions today to schedule a free estimate and get expert advice on effectively addressing cracks in drywall. Protect your investment and create a safe environment for you and your family. We proudly serve Northern Virginia, Shenandoah Valley, North Central Virginia, West Virginia, and nearby.

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FAQ's

Do I need to fix cracks in my drywall?

Yes, it should be fixed. 

Drywall cracks can be a common occurrence in many homes, and often they are nothing to be alarmed about. However, whether or not you need to fix them depends on the severity and location of the cracks. If they are small and only occur in non-structural parts of the wall, then they may not require immediate attention. 

 

But if the gaps are larger, appear in load-bearing areas, or are accompanied by other warning signs such as uneven floors or windows that stick. It’s important to have them inspected and repaired by a professional. They can determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate solutions to prevent further damage and maintain the structural integrity of your home. 

 

Regardless of the size or location of the damage, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the structural integrity of your home.

Can drywall cracks be non-structural?

Drywall cracks in a basement can often be non-structural and purely cosmetic. They can result from normal settling, temperature changes, or humidity fluctuations. Non-structural gaps are typically thin, follow a straight or slightly diagonal path, and are less than an eighth of an inch wide. These can be repaired with joint compound and paint. 

 

However, if gaps are wide, accompanied by displacement or separation between structural components, or show other signs of structural problems, it is best to consult a professional for a thorough assessment.

If the cracks were seasonally open and closed, What does this mean?

Suppose the cracks in the drywall are seasonally open and closed. In that case, it means that the size or visibility of the gaps changes periodically based on certain factors, such as temperature and humidity variations.

 

During certain times of the year or specific weather conditions, the materials in the drywall may expand or contract, causing the gaps to become more or less noticeable. For example, in drier seasons or when the indoor heating is on, the drywall may shrink slightly, leading to more prominent gaps. Conversely, during more humid periods, the moisture can cause the materials to expand, temporarily closing up or minimizing the gaps.

 

This seasonal opening and closing of cracks in the drywall do not necessarily indicate structural issues. However, keeping an eye on and monitoring any significant changes is still advisable. If you have concerns or if the damages become larger or more persistent, consult a professional to assess the situation and determine if any repairs or further investigation are needed to avoid costly damages and protect your family’s safety.

My house has a drywall crack. Is this normal?

A drywall crack in a house is relatively common and can often be considered normal. These can occur due to various factors, including normal settling of the building, temperature fluctuations, or changes in humidity levels. In many cases, these gaps are cosmetic and do not indicate any significant structural issues.

 

To determine if the crack in your house is normal, it’s helpful to consider certain factors. Non-structural cracks are typically thin, follow a straight or slightly diagonal path, and are limited to the surface layers of the drywall. They are usually less than an eighth of an inch wide. 

 

However, if the crack is wider, shows displacement or separation between structural components, or is accompanied by other signs of structural problems (such as doors or windows sticking or uneven floors), it is strongly recommended to seek advice from a professional. Consulting a professional can help you assess the situation and provide effective solutions back with a warranty to prevent further damage and long-term safety and peace of mind.