A common problem in a lot of houses across Australia is the occurrence of cracks in the structural work. While often these are purely cosmetic annoyances, there is a chance the crack could be a sign of a much larger problem in the structure of your house, but how do you discern this? From cracks in the floor to the ceiling, there are a few ways to figure out just how bad each one is and what steps you should take to protect yourself.
Cracks In The Wall
If you notice cracks in your walls, you should immediately take note of how big the crack is, how wide across it is and whether the wall on either side of the crack is level. If the crack isn't very big and is just a hairline wide, then there is not much to be concerned about. These can be caused by simple expansion and contraction of the materials due to heat, and these are perfectly natural and just a part of being a homeowner. You may want to paint over cracks if they bother you, but that is about as much as you have to do. If the crack is quite wide and long or the sides of it are not level with each other, then you may have a real structural issue, and you should start to consider calling a structural engineer to have a look over. You will not be able to fix those cracks by yourself.
Cracks In The Ceiling
Ceiling cracks can be quite scary to see appear, but if your house is newly built, then they can just be evidence of shoddy workmanship. However, if they are not just hairline or very small and instead are long or diagonal or if you see multiple in the same area, then you should again call a structural engineer. Ceiling cracks are much less common than the other two kinds in this article and carry a little more immediacy to them, so you should never put off contacting a professional to inspect them.
Cracks In The Foundation
If, when building your house (or afterwards if you have an open concrete slab) and before you have carpet or other flooring material put down, you notice any cracks, then you should be ready to call a professional for foundation crack repairs. If the crack is very small and located in one place only, then you may be able to get away with simply sealing it up so water doesn't damage it in the future. But if you have a crack of any noticeable size or if you notice a smaller crack growing, then you should call in a professional to have a look and fix it. Even if the crack is small, it is still better to get it looked at immediately rather than trying to fix it yourself. If you do not have a concrete slab as your foundation and notice cracks, these are more akin to cracks in the walls and ceiling and deserve the same level of caution.
If you notice cracks starting to appear in a myriad of places across the foundation, ceiling or walls, then you probably have more serious structural issues and should immediately call a structural engineer. Remember, even for the smallest cracks you can still get a handyman or structural engineer to take a look if you are overly cautious. It never hurts to be safe, and you may end up stopping a problem before it turns into a disaster.