Once a building reaches a certain age, it’s normal for cracks to appear in the walls. This is the result of the building slowly shifting over time. 

If you’ve noticed cracks appearing in your home’s walls, it may not necessarily be a sign that your home is about to collapse. In fact, most cracks are harmless. However, you may want to keep an eye on them so that you know when to take action.

When should you worry about cracks?

Small hairline cracks are usually nothing to worry about. You’re free to still seal them up if you don’t like the look of them, however nothing bad will happen if you leave them alone.

If cracks are growing noticeably longer or wider, you may want to show some concern. Cracks can become an issue once they become a quarter inch wide. If cracks are running the entire length of your wall, you may also want to get them checked out. 

What are the concerns regarding larger cracks?

Larger cracks could be a concern for various reasons – some of which are listed below:

They could be letting rainwater in

Large cracks around windows and door frames could start to let rainwater come in. Keep an eye on them when it’s raining to see if any water is coming in. If so, you’ll want to get the crack repaired to prevent issues like water damage and mold

They could be letting heat out

A large crack could be allowing heat to escape your home (and possibly letting cold drafts in). In the winter, this could result in your home becoming cooler faster, which may result in you reaching for the thermostat more regularly. All in all, it could be increasing your energy bills. Run you hand over the crack on a windy day to see if you can feel a draft – if you can feel air coming in, you may want to seek repairs immediately.

They could be letting critters in

Cracks can let in various critters from spiders to cockroaches. Even rodents may be able to get in – if you can fit a pencil into the crack, it’s large enough for a small mouse to squeeze through. If you’ve noticed pests in your home such as mice or cockroaches, it could be worth looking for the best pest control company in your area to help eliminate the problem. Once this is dealt with, you should then go about sealing up any large cracks to avoid future critters getting in. 

They could be a sign of structural weakness

Most worrying of all –  large cracks could be a sign of structural weakness within your home. If not repaired, the wall could one day collapse. It’s worth organizing a home inspection to find out if there are structural problems. Issues like subsidence could be to blame – it may be a case of repairing your home’s foundations.

They could bring down the value of your home

If you’re planning on selling your home in the near future, it could also be worth repairing those cracks. Visible cracks will make your home less appealing to buyers due to all the above concerns – agents may price your home lower as a result. By fixing these cracks, you can make your home more appealing and increase its value. 

What’s the best way to repair cracks?

Small cracks can usually be patched up oneself. It may be a simple case of pouring a filler substance into the crack such as caulk. When doing this it’s worth using a putty knife to widen the crack first. Then apply the filler and tape over the crack before painting over it to conceal it.

When it comes to larger cracks, you may want to consult an expert – there’s likely to be more work necessary than simply filling the crack. It could be important to first tackle the source of these cracks such as repairing foundations. You can then focus on repairing the crack in the wall.

There are professionals out there that can assess the cracks in your walls and repair them for you. If you’ve got larger cracks, consider hiring one of these professionals. You can then be sure that the problem will be dealt with correctly – you don’t want to patch up a crack yourself only for it to reappear in a couple months.