Repairing Cracks In Walls
if you have noticed the exterior of your property has developed cracks in the walls you need to first determine what has caused the crack to appear before you do anything. so lets look at the possible causes.
1. The ground your house is built on for example clay soil can dry out over time and this will then shrink causing the ground to drop.
2. Have you any trees close by ? the roots from trees can crack the foundations causing movement.
3. Water… could be excessive surface water or burst water pipes this can wash the soil from under your property.
4. Land movement for example old mine shafts,
Also have a look inside your property does the crack go straight through from out side to inside and how wide are the cracks more than a couple of millimetres ? more evidence is doors and windows do they close correctly
Is you house rendered ? do you have cracks in the exterior render? cracks in old render is not normally to much of a problem the most common fault is water getting behind the render and as the water freezes in the winter this pushes the render away from the wall causing cracking, but again check inside to make sure theres no signs of internal tracking and if you have to remove sections of render check the wall under the render for any signs of cracking.
New build properties can settle for a year or so and you may find a few minor cracks showing again this is normally nothing to worry about. your new house should come with a warranty therefore if you do spot ant cracks or doors starting to catch, not shut correctly, get in touch with the builders and have them take a look.
So don’t ignore any cracks that appear, if your unsure get professional help to take a look for you, a local builder would be a good first choice as they will have local knowledge of the local area which could help for example there may be mine shafts, your house may be built on clay, it could be something or nothing they my recommend you get a structural survey carried out.
Internal crack can also be cause for concern, cracks in plaster board or splitting timber this can be a sign of subsidence which does need to be checked out, cracking in plastered walls in old properties is probably caused by damp, old lime based plaster can blow off the wall and you can tell by tapping the plaster and if it sounds hollow then yes your plaster has blown this is caused by damp getting behind the plaster, what can i do ? well if the plaster has started dropping off the wall then i would say your going to have to re plaster and the modern method is to plaster board the walls and plaster over the boards with a finishing plaster or if its only a small section that has dropped off and funds are low patching can be an option as can using lining paper over your existing walls. this can be a good cost saving way of making bad look ok.
Poor drainage, excessive surface water can cause problems not just damp issues but washing the soil away under your foundations.
1. Guttering is clean and in good order
2. No internal waste or pipe leaks
3. Storm water pipe work is in good condition
4. Water soak aways are actually soaking away
5. External drains are not over flowing and are clean
6. External air vents are two bricks above ground
7. Your damp course is two brick above ground
There are signs you can look for, firstly if you have a basement get yourself down there have a look round any signs of water on the floor or damp on the walls, is there a musty smell, remember your basement or cellar is bellow ground level any water or damp down there will need professional help.
Are you thinking of getting a damp meter from the local DIY store ? Don’t waist your money, in my opinion your better looking or visual signs, mould growth, flaking paint, musty smell, condensation droplets.
There are various methods for measuring cracks in walls to establish if there getting any wider, many devises can be installed by yourself or you could just measure the crack with a ruler either way if you do feel uneasy get a local builder or surveyor in to give you advise and put your mind at rest.
Once you have had the survey done and all investigations reveal theres no more movement you can stitch the crack using stainless steel bars which are pushed into the Â mortar joint using a special fixing compound all this can be purchased in kit form from your local DIY store for you to complete the job.
Chase the mortar joint in the wall across the crack then wash out with water any loose material, this will give the grout a key to bond to, the kit comes with a grout mixture in powder form for you to mix with the supplied liquid and even a paddle to make life easier, this grout mixture is pushed into the supplied pointing gun and inserted into the prepared joint, you can then push the stainless steel bar into the grout mixture and the job is done. there are manufactures instructions for you to follow.