Small wall cracks are a normal part of Adelaide home ownership, often as a result of settlement or the seasonal shrinking and swelling of the soil. Underpinning Adelaide homes is an essential part of wall crack repair, especially when the wall cracks indicate a structural issue.
Most cracking in home walls is cosmetic and easy to fix with a bit of putty and paint. However, larger cracks can indicate a more serious underlying issue you should address.
Plumbing Issues or Defects
The most common causes of walls cracking result from plumbing issues or defects. We regularly fix buildings where the water supply has leaked, sewer is broken or leaking, or stormwater pipes are in poor condition or leaking.
Uneven Soil Movement
The most common cause of wall cracking is the movement of the foundation. All buildings move a little bit, and these stresses get taken into account during planning and building. However, when soil movement is extreme enough, it can exert pressure and cause structural damage.
Seasonal Swelling and Shrinking
Most clay soils tend to absorb water, which increases the volume of the soil. Adelaide has some of the most reactive soil in Australia, which means that the effects of water saturation and subsequent drying out are more severe than anywhere else in the country.
Builders take into account this seasonal shrinking and swelling by placing buildings on foundations. Older houses have timber stumps and planks as foundations, but since the 1980s, builders have switched to concrete. Unfortunately, concrete is brittle and doesn’t expand and contract the same way as the soil, which leads to foundational damage and cracked walls.
Movement Caused by Tree Roots
Plants, especially trees, can cause foundation and soil movement in two different ways. Firstly, roots that grow under the footing will put upward pressure on it. Secondly, roots absorb moisture from the soil, which leads to uneven soil conditions on the site. One footing may shift due to a different volume of soil than other footings.
Issues with the Building Itself
Most of the time, soil movement will push the foundation up and down and the walls with them. If this force spread evenly, the walls wouldn’t crack because the entire building would move.
The issue comes when different forces push on footings in different ways. If one footing starts to rise while the other sinks, you’ll get a significant rotational force on the wall, which results in cracks. Ideally, you want foundations and footings that resist soil movement and stay still even if the soil conditions change.
Addressing the Causes of Wall Cracks
Wall cracks may be cosmetic or the warning sign of a deeper problem. When you call professionals like Urathane Solutions to assess the problem, we’ll examine the walls and foundations for potential crack causes.
We’ll also conduct a thorough investigation, including getting construction data, determining the soil type on the site, and recording crack locations to determine the underlying cause. Once we’ve identified the issue, we’ll offer you solutions tailored to your situation. If necessary, we’ll recommend our patented chemical underpinning solution to stabilize your foundation and stop your walls from cracking again.
If you suspect your wall cracks are more significant than cosmetic damage, don’t hesitate to give us a call and schedule a consultation today!