100% Cosmetic

Home Inspector with The House Whisperer

The Wall Crack

Drywall (sheetrock) panels makes up a large part of today’s house interior walls and ceilings.

As home buyers walk through an empty house during a home inspection, they tend to focus closely on the quality of the interior finish.

Many people react negatively when they spot a hairline crack in the wall/ceiling; thinking that a crack contributes to the structural integrity of the house.

The fact of the matter is that cracks are 100% cosmetic, not structurally threatening and can be repaired.

The most common cracks are found at the corners of windows and door frames or straight-line cracks in ceilings. Whether or not there are cracks depends largely on the quality of the wood framing construction and drywall installation.

What is the most common source of cracks?

Technically speaking, wood is an organic material which takes on water and gives up water depending on environmental conditions. The most common cause is differential shrinkage of the horizontal header above doors and windows relative to the vertical wall studs. This means that lumber shrinks minimally along its length and much more so across width and depth as it ages.

Framing can undergo a lot of shrinkage in the first few years after construction.It turns out that a well secured drywall panel follows the twists and bends of the wood house framing and causes cracks to form in the drywall as the wood moves.

Count on The House Whisperer to help your clients understand the cracks they may see in their new home.

Comments (1)

Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

Great point here Glenn.

So many people freak out over some cracking in the drywall or plaster.

Great education!

Jan 20, 2012 05:05 PM