Turning a blind eye to wall cracks in your home may mean you’re missing the warning signs for serious and ongoing structural damage.
Wall cracks are common in Australian and New Zealand houses and though some are nothing to worry about, others can indicate a sinking or damaged foundation. If you don’t address problematic wall cracks, the damage to the foundations can quickly devalue your property.
Larger cracks that display these characteristics may indicate weaknesses in your property’s foundation:
Problematic wall cracks will typically start at windows, doorways or house corners. Generally, smaller hairline cracks are not cause for concern. These are usually the result of seasonal expansion and contraction of clay soils beneath your house over time, and can be easily patched and re-painted.
Large cracks may appear because the property’s foundation has shrunk or lost its strength, causing all or a part of your house to sink. This usually happens because the moisture in the soil beneath the settled section of your home is either too wet or too dry. In Australia, the CSIRO’s Homeowner’s Guide is a great resource for understanding why your home moves and how to manage the soil beneath its footings. The Queensland Building and Construction Commission also offers valuable advice.
First, consult a structural engineer to assess the cause of the crack and recommend a solution, then contact the Mainmark team for an initial discussion. The best long-term solution for fixing large cracks is to lift, re-level and re-support your home. This process is called ‘underpinning’. As the house is brought up to towards level, the cracks may close or become smaller (plaster or render walls can then be patched and repainted). Windows and doors will also usually begin to work properly again. There are two ways to underpin a home:
This involves excavating or digging up parts of the foundation, pouring in concrete, waiting for it to set and then jacking up the house off the concrete blocks. However, this method can be:
A lot like keyhole surgery, an expanding Uretek® resin is injected into the home’s foundations through tiny holes (usually 16mm, but as small as 6mm if used inside the house). The resin expands to fill in voids and compact soft ground, exerting controlled pressure to raise the home back towards a consistent level. The process is very specific and carefully controlled using laser technology. This method can be a good option because it:
Uretek® resin injection technology is a patented and proven method for underpinning homes. It complies with all local, state and national Building Code requirements. Watch this video to see how it works:
Call the Mainmark team on 1800 623 312 (Australia) or 0800 873 835 (New Zealand) to discuss how to repair wall cracks in your home.
By James O’Grady James O’Grady is the Sales and Business Development Manager at Mainmark. He is a civil engineer with 25 years’ experience in structural engineering, construction materials and ground treatment.