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Do Cracks in Walls Indicate a Structural Problem?

Most small cracks in drywall or plaster walls are not serious and are caused by seasonal expansion and contraction of the wood framing in your house over time. They’re often found at the corners of window and door frames, and can be patched using spackling or joint compound.

Larger cracks in your walls, however, can indicate structural or foundation problems. If the cracks in your walls exhibit these characteristics:

  • The crack has a 3/16” or wider gap.
  • One side of the wall is higher than the other.
  • Your doors no longer close in the frame.

You may have a structural problem and should have your house examined by a foundation specialist.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information



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  • Sherman Robinson
    June 16, 2017, 11:33 am REPLY

    It is quite common for buildings and homes to shift over time and even tremors, jolts in the ground as when large vehicles pass through, can cause shifting in a foundation or a building. Weather conditions over the years can cause the same action. Thus moisture can seep through the cracks and cause mold. Once it starts, it keeps spreading until dealt with. A good mold remediation program along with structural fixtures can alleviate the problem.

  • Tyler Meredith
    June 26, 2017, 10:32 pm REPLY

    It’s interesting that most smaller cracks are generally caused by wood expansion or pressure on the walls. I didn’t realize that this could happen with the drywall, although, it’s very relieving. I’ll have to have a professional come out to re-plaster the walls and take a look just to confirm that they aren’t serious cracks.

  • Tyler Johnson
    December 11, 2019, 3:21 pm REPLY

    That’s good to know that large cracks will be a sign of structural damage. I could see how that could be a bit dangerous to live in a house with damage to its structure. I should look into getting someone to help repair the foundation if I ever start to notice some cracks in my basement.

  • Tristan Stewart
    December 16, 2019, 10:11 pm REPLY

    My doors have slowly been getting a tighter fit in the frame so I am worried that my foundation is shifting. I appreciate you talking about how this is a common issue so we need to try and get it sorted out before major damages occur. I’ll try to contact a restoration company soon so that they can catch any issues and fix them before they grow.

  • Max Beck
    April 14, 2020, 6:03 pm REPLY

    It makes a lot of sense to look at the walls and find out if one of the walls is higher than the other. My parents have an older store downtown that is starting to show some issues with the foundation. We need to talk to some contractors to find out what the issues are and how we can fix them.

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