Cracks are signs of release for a structure with built up stresses that assist contractors and engineers to identify the areas of weakness for the structure, so they know where to begin their rectification work.
- Shrinkage cracks are usually created at the beginning of the construction process with the use of an inadequate concrete mix or rapid curing and are most commonly diagonal or vertical cracks. Although these types of cracks can allow water to enter through the wall causing internal stresses, they do not pose a threat to the structural integrity of the building.
- Hairline cracks like shrinkage cracks are created at the beginning of the construction process due to poorly mixed or poured concrete and likewise do not pose threats to the structural integrity. These cracks are usually spotted in the middle of a wall, where the wall is commonly at its weakest.
- Settlement cracks are caused by the failure to properly prepare the subsoil or compact the underlying ground. These cracks are usually continuous and can appear multiple times on a wall, appearing wider at the top and narrower towards the bottom.
- Vertical cracks tend to appear multiple times and have various causes. If a vertical cracks appears straight it is usually due to shrinkage, making it a low risk crack and no cause for concern. However, if the vertical crack has ongoing movement and seems distressed, you should contact a structural engineer immediately.
- Diagonal cracks can be caused by settlement issues, expansion and shrinkage and will appear differently depending on the issue. If a diagonal crack appears along almost all of the foundation it is usually due to a settlement issue, in particular with the footing on one side of the wall. If you are experiencing this issue you should get in contact with a consultant. If the crack is wider a at the top than the bottom this is usually an expansion issue. Lastly, if the crack is uniform and stays the same width the whole crack then this is a shrinkage issue which not something to worry about, structurally.
- These cracks are usually identified in the centre of the wall and are most commonly signs of a foundational or loading issue created at the beginning of the construction process. In some cases these fine cracks can go unnoticed for years, which can have a negative impact on the structure of the building, in this instance a consultant should be contacted to evaluate the damage.
- Floor cracks are quite common and not a cause for alarm in terms of issues that will damage the buildings structural integrity, this being said they should still be repaired to prevent future complications.