Step 42 - Cracks In Drywall


Common Causes of Wall Cracks

The cracking of concrete walls is as inevitable as the sun rising from the east. It cannot be avoided that all infrastructures will go through a period of deterioration, even just after a couple of months since they have been built. This is why if you have a new house, you will likely see hairline cracks developing after six to eight months.

The first cracks that form in a wall that is newly constructed result from the gradual settling down of the entire structure. The wall is not an independent entity in a building; it is also connected to the floor, the ceiling and other walls as well. If one of them shifts, it could be enough to inflict a response from the rest of the building's parts. This is a normal process that a structure goes through.

When the plaster in the walls and the concrete in the floors start to dry completely, the sediments also start to settle down and move along with gravity. This is why in construction lingo, the house is said to be finally "settling down" on its toes. One of the results is cracking along the walls.

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Aside from this natural occurrence, there are also external factors that can cause a wall to crack. The most common of them is nature-inflicted.

A common storm can bring a strong structure down. A strong gust of wind is enough to rock a building's foundations. When these strong natural occurrences unleash their power into a man-made structure, it is inevitable that you will have damages on infrastructure. In a house's case, the walls are commonly the first casualty of natural calamities. Roofs tend to be more resilient because of their steel construction and tight attachment to the walls themselves-which also means that the tension brought upon the roofs is passed on to test the limits of a house's walls.

Other elements of nature are also counted as common causes of wall cracks. Water is foremost in that list. A pool of water at the base of your outer wall or on your gutter may be unthreatening at first, but watch out. Water will easily make its way through the every tiny hole and crevice it finds. If it gets into a small hairline crack on the wall, that crack could later develop into a deeper crevice and become a bigger problem in the long run.

Roots from large plants can also inflict cracks not just on walls but also on floors. Don't underestimate the delicacy of plants. The earth is their province, and it is where they thrive best. Trees that are three to five meters away from your house could later push up the structures located directly above its roots. The movement of roots underground is gradual, and a little bit stealthy. Homeowners usually don't realize that their walls and floors are already in danger of immense cracking until it is already too late.

Knowing the common causes of wall cracks should help builders to figure out how to design houses and buildings in such a way that they will not immediately succumb to those destructive elements mentioned here. Be a wise builder and consider all the possibilities first before erecting a structure.

The following are the most common causes of drywall cracks.

Gradual Deterioration

It is normal for cracks to develop on any structure as time goes by. This follows the rule of wear and tear. In construction, it appears in the form of structural cracks, weakened pillars and fading paint.

Do not be surprised if your brand new house suddenly develops cracks after just several months. This is to be expected since structures undergo a period of "settling in" wherein the wood and plaster has finally dried up, and the walls are responding to the stresses of gravity, weight and other external factors.

External Factors: Weather, Water and Plants

Speaking of external factors, more specifically natural causes, there are three things that can inflict minor to serious damage on drywalls. The first is the weather conditions of the environment the house was built in. The shifting of the weather from dry and hot to wet and cold seasons will further hasten the deterioration of a structure. Matter is made up of molecules that respond to changes in temperature. In high temperatures, molecules expand; in low temperatures they contract. This alternate contraction and expansion could later result into cracks, especially if the materials used to construct the drywall are not of superior quality.

Water is the second most deteriorative factor for structures, especially on floors and walls. If water leaks through the seams between the roof and the drywall, the least that could happen would be discoloration of the wall paint. The cracking begins when water finds little crevices in the wall. As seasons shift, the moisture would freeze between the crevices and inflict pressure into the structure. In fact the ice that forms around the walls of the house during winter is also a contributing factor to drywall cracks.

The movement of the roots of large plants and trees underground affects the structure right above it. If there are big trees planted right next to your house for instance, notice how some portions of your floors are higher than others. This is because large roots have a tendency to push their way up out of the soil. If drywall happens to be in the way, sooner or later it will slowly develop cracks.

Faulty Engineering

Sometimes the real reason why drywall is always cracking is that it wasn't built correctly. The frame may be skewed, or the floor and roof may not be properly aligned. It can also be that substandard materials were used to build the house. In this case, the wall may not be strong enough to support the upper floors or the roof. Building on uneven ground will also cause structural faults and cracks on your drywall.

Natural Calamities

The most dangerous and disastrous cause of cracking drywalls is perhaps earthquakes. With this, the cracks develop immediately and may even lead to a complete wall collapse. Even earthquakes that rate very low on the Richter scale can cause minor structural damage that will serve as a catalyst for an even bigger damage. Japan frequently experiences earthquakes. Fortunately for them, they have devised engineering strategies that helps them avoid having major structural damage each time the tectonic plates become active.


The Land






Framing Phase

Rough-in Phase

Drywall Phase

Interior Carpentry

Flat-work Phase

Paint & Stain

Finishing Phase