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  1. #1
    cory nystul's Avatar
    cory nystul Guest

    Default typical cracking or not

    Main question, At what point would you stop calling cracking typical????

    In this case the pictures aren't great but it was hard to show in this case i found that the sheetrock was buckling. The sheetrock on the other side of this was wasn't buckled but it was cracked. The sheetrock on the ceiling above wasn't buckled but there was a blemish in it. There was a bathroom roughly above, no moisture was found, BUT the house has been winterized for an unknown period of time, de-winterizied yesterday. Minor typical cracks noted in foundation.

    DSCN6516.jpg

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    That would be normal in a 50-year-old house, abnormal in a 10-year-old house.
    Or abnormal if it is fresh in any house. Did you taste it?

    I would check for problems below that door frame in the damp Oregon crawlspace.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
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    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    Around here, a one year old house can have cracks. But drywall cracks are just a piece of the puzzle. That crack has some compression indicating movement more than ordinary stress or drying, but that doesn't mean that structural remedy is needed. Minor cracks in the foundation? If you mean hairline, mostly vertical, and not too many, then the foundation seems normal. Sitting vacant in winter can cause some expansion/contraction that might cause that crack. So, based on your description, it doesn't look like an issue requiring more than cosmetic repair to the drywall.
    But you saw all the pieces of the puzzle.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  4. #4
    cory nystul's Avatar
    cory nystul Guest

    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I would check for problems below that door frame in the damp Oregon crawlspace.

    Its an 8 yr old house. Not all of Oregon is wet.

    How do you determine if cracking is typical, poor quality work, or an issue?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    I think 1/8" or less is normal shrinkage. If the doorway is straight and plumb, I would just say repair the blemishes before the next paint job.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  6. #6
    cory nystul's Avatar
    cory nystul Guest

    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I think 1/8" or less is normal shrinkage. If the doorway is straight and plumb, I would just say repair the blemishes before the next paint job.
    Thank you John. That's what i considered, but I wanted the advice of those that are more seasoned than i am.

    What about a crack that is diagonal? I found one above a door frame in another part of the house.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    Quote Originally Posted by cory nystul View Post
    Thank you John. That's what i considered, but I wanted the advice of those that are more seasoned than i am.

    What about a crack that is diagonal? I found one above a door frame in another part of the house.
    Cracks at door frames are common. In general, if the door frame is not significantly out of square the cracks seldom indicate a significant concern. Anything less than 1/16" is probably not a concern. Maybe up to 1/8", but at that point you should be questioning what caused the crack.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    An eight year old house that has never had regular maintenance repairs can accumulate cracks over that time. And windows and doorways are just weak spots in a wall. Stresses are more easily relived at these places, so it's more common to see cracks there.

    Years ago, in the dead of winter I awoke to a diagonal crack across our master bedroom wall in our twenty year old house. I waited a few months and repaired the crack. My wife and I divorced, she kept the house, and sold it. Years later the house was a foreclosure and by bizarre coincidence I was asked to assess damage by vandals. That crack had never reopened and the wall was unchanged since my repair years earlier. The lesson: stresses build and get relived.

    When I see cracks that appear recent or active, then my concern elevates. (It can be difficult to determine the age of cracks and takes some experience) Though I've never been reversed by a structural engineer, I recommend further evaluation if I have any doubt or concerns about what I see.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    I don't like the term "Typical Crack"; what does it really mean? Cracks can be caused by all types of things and conditions, but nothing is really typical. With newer homes, compaction of shrinkage settlement is the common cause, most of the time!

    With the crack in the photo I have seen that type of crack when the load above is not be transferred and supported properly below. If that is a load bearing wall and the home has TJI's it could be that squash blocks were not used. Just so many things that can cause cracks..

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
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    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I don't like the term "Typical Crack"; what does it really mean? Cracks can be caused by all types of things and conditions, but nothing is really typical. With newer homes, compaction of shrinkage settlement is the common cause, most of the time!
    I use the term "common crack". I think many cracks can fall into the categories of "typical" or "common". It's our job to determine if there is something not typical about them.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I don't like the term "Typical Crack"; what does it really mean? Cracks can be caused by all types of things and conditions, but nothing is really typical. With newer homes, compaction of shrinkage settlement is the common cause, most of the time!

    With the crack in the photo I have seen that type of crack when the load above is not be transferred and supported properly below. If that is a load bearing wall and the home has TJI's it could be that squash blocks were not used. Just so many things that can cause cracks..
    Scott, it may not be a good term. I use it to avoid having to explain the cause of every little likely non-structural crack usually caused by lumber shrinkage, "typical" deflection, etc. Rather than trying to explain the cause of every cracks that do not worry me structurally, saying typical or common often gets the point across that this is not something to worry about. Where you draw the line between typical, or common, and structural or possibly structural is another story.


  12. #12

    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    I know we can go on and on about this but based on the information provided it does not alarm me... Each home has to be judged individually so given the age, size, type of construction and the conditions we find the home...

    In this case the most significant information is it was a vacant unconditioned space. A long time ago I read that the average 2 story home expands and contracts as well as flexes 1-2 inches each and every day (most days). Home that have no functioning conditioning system have another issue, the finish materials are being used in an environment they are not designed to be used...for the most part. This adds to the movement in the building and the materials have to give somewhere and you found where.

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
    http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/
    http://carolinahomeinspections.com/

  13. #13
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    Default Re: typical cracking or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I don't like the term "Typical Crack"; what does it really mean?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    I use the term "common crack". I think many cracks can fall into the categories of "typical" or "common".
    If cracks are "typical" and/or "common" they would be in all (or almost all) buildings, and many buildings do not have cracks.

    I agree with Scott that "typical" is not a good term, and I would revise (slightly) the term Lon uses.

    The crack may be "not uncommon" or even "that is where a crack could be expected due to common drywall installation methods" (such as at the top corner of a doorway) or other explanatory wording.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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