Seeing cracks in your home’s drywall can be unsettling. What do these cracks signify, and what causes them? More often than not, drywall cracks are red flags pointing to underlying foundation problems requiring expert intervention.
At Dry Pro Foundation and Crawl Space Specialists, we bring over two decades of expertise in diagnosing and treating foundation woes. Read on to understand what drywall cracks mean, how to address them, and why reaching out to our team should be your next move.
What Are Drywall Cracks?
Drywall cracks are lines or fissures that appear in the gypsum board panels that form your home’s interior walls and ceilings. These cracks often result from shifts or settling in your home’s foundation. Drywall is not designed to bear structural load, making it susceptible to cracking under pressure.
Common indicators of drywall cracks include:
- Diagonal cracks extending from the corners of doors or windows towards the ceiling
- Cracks located above doors and windows
- Long horizontal or vertical cracks along walls and ceilings
- Web-like crack patterns on walls and ceilings
Even minute hairline cracks can be symptoms of deeper foundation problems. The larger and more extensive these cracks, the greater the likelihood of significant foundation damage.
What Causes Drywall Cracks?
Several factors contribute to drywall cracking:
- Settling and Soil Movement: All structures settle over time. However, excessive or uneven settling due to issues like soil expansion, erosion, or compression can result in foundation and, consequently, drywall cracks.
- Foundation Structural Problems: Issues like sinking footings or cracked slabs can cause movement in the foundation, manifesting as drywall cracks.
- Home Additions or Remodeling: New constructions or heavy installations can add weight, causing the foundation to settle and leading to cracks.
- Leaky Plumbing: Water leaks can erode the soil beneath your foundation, causing instability and cracks.
Ignoring drywall cracks could compromise the structural integrity of your home and necessitate costly future repairs.
Can You Fix Drywall Cracks?
Fixing drywall cracks isn’t just a matter of masking the problem with a little putty and some paint. Sure, you can cover the crack, but if you don’t tackle the root issue—often problems with the foundation—those cracks are likely to come back, possibly worse than before. To effectively and permanently solve the problem, you need to identify and fix the underlying foundation issues.
For Minor Cracks:
- Assessment: First, assess the crack. Is it superficial, or does it reflect a deeper problem? If it’s a hairline crack, it may be a surface issue, but be cautious—sometimes these are early warnings of bigger problems beneath.
- Patching: If the crack is indeed minor, you could patch it with joint compound, following it up with sanding and painting. This can restore the appearance of your wall, at least temporarily.
- Monitoring: After patching, keep an eye on the repaired area. If the crack reappears, this is usually an indicator of an underlying issue that requires professional attention.
For Major Cracks:
- Consult Professionals: For major cracks—those that are wide, long, or located near the home’s structural elements—it’s best to consult a foundation specialist for an assessment. Ignoring these cracks can lead to serious structural issues.
- Drywall Replacement: Once the foundation issue is resolved, you’ll likely need to replace sections of the drywall that have been severely cracked. This should be a long-term solution if the foundational issue has been adequately addressed.
How Dry Pro Can Permanently Fix Drywall Cracks
With Dry Pro Foundation and Crawl Space Specialists, you’re in capable hands. Our time-tested foundation repair methods include:
- Steel foundation piers (helical or push piers) driven deep into the ground for reinforced support
- Waterproofing systems like interior drainage and sump pumps
- If your home is supported over a basement: wall anchors, steel I-beams, and/or carbon fiber straps
- If your home is supported over a crawl space: crawl space support jacks
We also offer crawl space encapsulation to stop water intrusion that contributes to foundation and drywall damage.
By lifting and re-leveling settled foundations and stopping water intrusion, our solutions permanently stabilize foundations and structures to prevent drywall cracks from returning. We also offer extensive warranties on our products.
Why Repair Drywall Cracks Now?
Don’t ignore those drywall cracks; here’s why:
- Cracks can grow larger, causing severe structural issues.
- Unaddressed cracks can lead to expensive future repairs.
- Moisture can seep through cracks, worsening the foundation.
- Existing cracks lower your home’s market value and appeal.
- Issues compound over time; quicker action means simpler solutions.
Choose Dry Pro Foundation and Crawl Space Specialists Today!
Secure your home’s structural future. Contact Dry Pro Foundation and Crawl Space Specialists today for a free inspection and quote. We’re committed to offering swift and effective solutions to prevent further damage to your home.
The widening of drywall cracks over time often depends on the underlying cause. If the crack is due to a minor issue, like the natural settling of a house, then it may not widen significantly. However, if the crack is due to a compromised foundation, the crack is likely to widen over time as the foundation continues to shift. Monitoring the size and direction of the crack can provide important information on the state of your foundation and whether immediate action is needed.
Foundation repair aims to address the root causes of issues like drywall cracks. In most cases, once the foundation is stabilized, new cracks should not appear. However, it’s essential to understand that existing cracks may still need to be repaired manually after the foundation repair is complete.
On their own, drywall cracks are typically not dangerous. They may be unsightly and worrying, but they usually don’t present an immediate hazard. However, drywall cracks can be a symptom of a more significant issue, such as a failing foundation. In such cases, there could be safety risks, such as unstable walls or floors, which are indeed dangerous.
If you see drywall cracks accompanied by other warning signs of foundation problems—like doors that won’t close properly, windows that stick, or uneven floors—it’s advisable to consult a foundation repair specialist as soon as possible. Ignoring these symptoms could lead to more severe and costly repairs down the line.
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