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Why Do Cracks Appear in My Newly Constructed House?

Cracks that appear in newly constructed houses is one of the most common problems homeowners experience a few months after project completion.

These cracks often appear on plastered or unrendered surfaces such as long walls, corners, near joints, next to foundation plinth, and many other areas inside the structure. Good construction practices provide a set of instructions and specifications for quality execution of operations.

However, many field engineers and builders fail to follow essential building codes in their projects leading to construction defects in the future. This article looks at some of the reasons why cracks may appear in newly constructed houses.

  • Normal Settling
Repair crack on house wall with skim coating plaster
Although the foundation may have been built as required, it can still shift slightly over time with changes in weather. This movement can cause minor cracks on weak areas of your wall, especially around doors and windows. These cracks are often referred to as settlement cracks and may develop alongside the expansion joint. They are considered normal in a newly built structure and does not indicate anything serious about the structural integrity of your home. This can be addressed with a filler and a coat of paint, which acts as a cosmetic touch up of the crack.

  • Damaged Foundation

The cracks in your walls or ceiling may occur because of a damaged foundation. Soil composition, water damage, inferior construction, earthquakes, and possible infestation of mold or termites could cause foundation issues. Even the slightest of quivers could be an issue as it intensifies the cracks are already present in the building. Damages to your foundation could result in large, jagged, or diagonal cracks, often more than a quarter-inch. Such issues need to be addressed as soon as possible to preserve the structural integrity and value of your home.

  • Contraction and Expansion of Materials

Small wall cracks may start showing up in a new building due to contraction and expansion of building materials. For instance, new lumber contains a lot of moisture when it is so fresh but it tends to shift slightly from the initial position as it dries out. If there was no room left for such an occurrence, it could cause small cracks at the joints that connect the sheets of drywall. You can wait for the building to be at least a year old before you address these small cracks. This gives the wood enough time to dry and finish its minor settling before you can re-tape and repaint the cracked drywall joints.

  • Lack of Climate Control

If your new home has been left vacant for a long time, cracks may start appearing in walls and the ceiling. Perhaps it is a rental property that is yet to find a new tenant or a vacation home where you spend time once a year. Regular climate control not only makes your home comfortable to all occupants but also keeps your walls in good shape. The lack of climate control when a home is left vacant can lead to cracks in your walls and ceiling. Your home may need to be inspected thoroughly by a professional to assess the extent of the cracks if it was left vacant for a very long time after construction.

  • Water Leakage

Water leakages are not only present in old houses as they can also occur in new structures. Leaky roofs and windows cause moisture to get into the walls of your home. It softens and deteriorates as it gets wet causing progressive cracks on the surrounding walls. Some early signs of water leakages include discoloration or tinted stains on the ceiling. This problem is often caused by the inferior construction of the roof and poor insulation around windows and other small openings. Before you repair the cracks, consider addressing the source of the leak to ensure it doesn’t recur.

  • Faulty Taping

The seams between drywall panels are often filled with drywall mud before they are covered with paper tape. However, the tape may start to pull away from the wall with time if there is not enough mud underneath it to stick firmly. This can cause fine cracks in the area where the tape has lifted. These minor cracks can be repaired using a little household glue and pressing it back into place. However, if the tape seems to be lifting in several areas then consider re-taping the seams to prevent the problem from occurring in the future.

Cracks in a newly constructed home are common and can occur either naturally or because of structural problems. It is important to address these issues as soon as possible to prevent them from becoming bigger problems. You will not only preserve the structural integrity of your home but also increase its resale value should you decide to sell the home in the future.