View Full Version : Crack in the wall

Mike Huppi
04-17-2007, 12:34 PM
I found this in a wall going to a master closet today and I think it should be looked at by a contractor or engener due to the length and it is on both sides of the wall. Whats your thought?

Jim Robinson
04-17-2007, 01:00 PM
I would bet it is a common header crack. I see it a lot in my area above the doorways. The horizontal header boards swell in and out with moisture from the weather, causing the sheet rock to crack. If you plan for it, you can minimize or avoid it by not nailing off the sheetrock pieces right next to the ends of the header or across the header.

Mike Huppi
04-17-2007, 01:09 PM
I dont see to many of these in this area I find them going up the seam of the drywall and not at and upward angle like that.

John Arnold
04-17-2007, 01:48 PM
Mike - "I dont see to many of these in this area"
What area is that, if you don't mind?

David Banks
04-17-2007, 01:51 PM
Mike. Any other issues related to this crack. What floor is this on? How did things look in basement. Foundation/Girders. Attic? Any settlement at other doors in the house? I try to look at big picture. Put the Micro together with the Macro.

Mike Huppi
04-17-2007, 01:58 PM
This was in a suburb of Portland Oregon

This was a 11 mo old home on the second story in the master bath and closet area. Like I said before I dont see these very often.

The house only had minor cosmetic issues and no other cracks anywhere else. Looking at the whole picture I did not see anything else that stood out as being a big problem.

Scott Patterson
04-17-2007, 02:17 PM
I would not call it a common crack. Cracks should not be common in a wall! Something has caused it.

If this home is on a conventional foundation I would look for the following:
I would be looking for Squash blocks if the home has engineered joist. Look for doubled up beams under the load bearing wall. Something has caused it to crack.

Being that it is on a second floor you might not be able to see the problem. Most of the time when I find a crack like this and the home has engineered joist I do not find squash blocks and the bottom cord has been damaged.

Bruce Breedlove
04-17-2007, 02:26 PM
Is there by chance a large tub, aquarium, water bed, grand piano, huge floor safe, etc. in the vicinity of the crack?

Jim Luttrall
04-17-2007, 02:57 PM
I'm with Scott on this one, not common. I looks like the floor/support has dropped in the vicinity of the door.
Keep looking, some thing ain't right.

Rick Hurst
04-17-2007, 03:43 PM

This is a "cosmetic" issue.

Mike Huppi
04-17-2007, 07:54 PM
Ok thanks for the opinions. There is nothing heavy in the room so it cant be that. I did not consider it a cosmetic crack because of the way that it cracked. I have hung a lot of drywall in my life and because of the sized of the room and the lay out there should be no reason for this to be caused by the drywall seams or anything like that. Something under the area has settled and has caused this wall to sink on that corner. So I have recommended that a structural engineer be consulted. The home is 500K and is under warranty so they can do what they want with the information.

I do about 3-7 of these new homes every month so it pays good to advertise and give discounts for neighbors to have them all in one day. We did 3 today and this was the only one that I have seen in years like this.

Thanks again for all the input.

The HomeTeam Inspection Service

Richard Rushing
04-18-2007, 05:35 AM
I keep hearing the word "cosmetic" associated with these cracks...

I just don't see them as cosmetic. Moreso, they are the result of one end of the home twisting or settling down.

I would start looking for the obvious; grading and drainage issues, then go to the attic and see if you can access the area above this section to determine how much the rafters have pulled away from the ridge (just to get an idea of how much settlement has taken place).

What's ever causing this... you can bet that it will not be getting any better. You were right to call for an engineering evaluation to determine cause and design repairs.


Scott Patterson
04-18-2007, 07:01 AM
If this is a NEW home, it has a problem. I would also be looking at all of the miter cuts on the inside and outside corners. Look at the frieze boards, are the pulling away? Just a bunch of clues you can look for.

Being that this is a new home an SE might be the best advice that you could give them.

Mike Huppi
04-18-2007, 08:09 AM
OK thanks for the confirmation on the S. E.


Thom Walker
04-18-2007, 08:30 AM
Being two story adds lots of potential sources of the problem. I see cosmetic as true only from the sense that it's ugly and needs fixing.

You didn't mention any anomalies in the ceiling below it. Does that mean there were none? I had a similar one last year regarding and upstairs closet entry in a new build. Something just didn't "feel" right to the owner when she walked into her closet. My high tech golf ball like orbital sphere test instrument confirmed that there was a dip in the floor. There were no cracks in the walls yet, but the miter cuts at the door trim were slightly off. There was no visible evidence in the garage ceiling below. I ran a level line at several places of the garge ceiling and indeed the beam was sagging all along the wall for the closet doorway, but not enough to crack the ceiling yet.

It turned out that the beam was undersized. The enginer of record said "no big deal." The owner said big deal." The builder was reasonable (yes this is a true story) and called an architect who designed an I beam with three posts and all turned out well. Cabinets were installed and none of the repairs are obvious.

Jerry Peck
04-18-2007, 08:33 AM

Paint is not "cosmetic".

The *color* and *texture* of the paint is "cosmetic", as is a sloppy application where paint is left all over, but the paint itself *is not* "cosmetic".

Rick Cantrell
04-18-2007, 11:34 AM
This is how I explane cracks:
ALL cracks are caused by movement. Weather it's a crack from the sheetrock mud drying, or the foundation settling.
It's kinda of like people. I'm somewhat bald and have wrinkles on my face, but I'm 49 years old, this is normal for my age, however if a child of 7 or 8 has wrinkles and is losing their hair then they should see a doctor.
This being a younger house, see a doctor.

David Banks
04-18-2007, 11:44 AM
Come to think of it the last crack I saw that looked similar was on a house with one story. Upon entering the crawl space I saw cement block foundation, no cracks or settlement? But lo and behold the sill plate was shimmed due to out of level foundation. I chalked that up as compressed shims over many years. But yours is new.