Author Topic: How scary is this crack in my house?  (Read 2772 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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How scary is this crack in my house?
« on: March 27, 2017, 11:31:50 PM »
While contemplating that I needed to repaint inside I actually looked closely at my walls and noticed several cracks that I'm concerned about.   The rooms in question have a vaulted ceiling with no attic and the sheetrock at several of the joints between beams and the walls or beams and other beams is cracked.   

This is the biggest one- it's about 1/4" wide at the bottom and a foot long.  The left side sticks out more and is not flush with the right.  It's over a section of the kitchen nook that projects out a little behind the rest of the house.

Is my house falling apart?  Is my roof sliding off of it?  Or is this something I just need to somehow screw back into place and patch over it when I repaint?


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: How scary is this crack in my house?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2017, 04:38:32 AM »
It probably means that your house is not standing completely steady on it's foundation.
It could stay with this little crack. Or it could become a lot worse. It might be a good idea to have some professional look into it to see whether your house might need extra support.

Our previous house, built in 1976 also had 2 or 3 cracks and those didn't get worse. We didn't do anything about them. That house was standing on granite, which could not suddenly slide away.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: How scary is this crack in my house?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2017, 05:50:23 AM »
I'm a structural engineer.  My advice would be to call a local structural engineer to come take a look; pay for an hour or two of his or her time to just look at everything and explain to you what's going on.  If you want to pay for another few hours of time you can have him do a report but that may not be necessary.  Perhaps if you've got a serious problem, you'll need a few sketches detailing a fix.  A lot of engineers won't take jobs like this, or will only do them if they're not busy, so be prepared to call a few places. 

In general, a lot of stick framed vaulted roofs are underbuilt (prefabricated, vaulted wood trusses are usually better engineered and OK).  It wouldn't surprise me if your roof is "flattening out"; I've seen it before.  But likewise, your foundation could be settling, a header could be undersized or some other issue.  A structural engineer who is there in person should be able to "read the cracks" as well as anyone.  1/4" wide is a lot and worth getting checked out. 


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: How scary is this crack in my house?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2017, 05:54:52 AM »
Agree with the comment about the structural engineer if you're concerned.

How old is the house?

My 1991 build had some signs that we didn't address.  It cost us money come sales time when my relo company found some issues.

I've had a 1949 and currently have a 1955 house that are structurally sound but would occasionally have the drywall crack like the one above.  The current house is in Texas, the soil here is terrible and expand/contracts and causes cosmetic frustrations.  The 1949 was just part of an older house. 


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: How scary is this crack in my house?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2017, 08:05:49 AM »
I just went through this last year.  I wasn't expecting all of the foundation companies to agree on the cause and amount of foundation deflection, but I also wasn't expecting such a wide range of opinions.  I got 4 quotes ranging from $0 to $11,000.  Only one actually used any sort of measuring equipment.  All of the foundation companies offered a 3rd party engineer inspection.  My thought was, if you hire the engineer, then they don't work for me.

I then hired a structural engineer for $400.  It turned out to be $400 well spent.  He came out and spent considerable time measuring the foundation and looking around in the attic.  He then recommended a foundation company.  They put 10 piers across the front of my house, but I was not happy with the results.  I just didn't see any change.  I knew that things would not go back to day 1 perfect, but I also didn't see improvement.   The engineer that I hired came out and measured again, then went to fight the foundation company on my behalf.  They came out and did a second lift, and I was happy.  I don't think the foundation company would have done the second lift had I not had my own engineer. 


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: How scary is this crack in my house?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2017, 08:32:20 AM »
Thanks everyone, it looks like I will be searching for an engineer this week.

The house was built in 1987, we've been here for 13 years and I don't have any particular reason to think things were done right the first time.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: How scary is this crack in my house?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2017, 12:14:17 AM »
I believe the crack has been there for at least a year but the first time I noticed it, it wasn't as big and I didn't give it much thought.