There are reasons why people in the building construction are very cautious when it comes to building walls or concretes. They need to make sure every inch of it doesn’t leave a crack later when the building or the house gets old. Cracks in brick or any concrete block walls can be caused by several factors. Foundation movement or subsidence is one of the weakest factors that can cause cracks because when the ground condition around or under a house changes, it can move slightly and that leads to cracks in the walls. For that reason, people in the building construction use a gauge like Elcometer 480 or other coating thickness measurement tools they can use to prevent unwanted disadvantages or occurrences in the future. So, how bad cracks in houses can be?
Below are the types of cracks in houses that you can identify in a scale of 0-5 depending on the typical damage it can cause as well as how to fix it.
- Hairline cracks, less than 0.1 mm are classified as trivial, level 0 which means no action needed.
- Fine cracks are classified as normal (level 1) and the damage is not really that visible in external brickwork because it is only in internal wall finishes. The width of the crack is up to 5 mm. You only need to use normal decoration to fix this.
- Recurrent cracks but easily filled ones are not externally visible with the widths up to 5 mm. It is considered as level 2, as it doesn’t really cause heavy damage to the house. However, you might need external repointing to make sure it is sealed against rain and wind. In order to fix this, you need to mask the cracks using suitable linings. Aside from that, as windows and doors may stick a little bit, you need adjusting and easing as well.
- Cracks level 3 that need opening up can cause some damages to the house. Not only do these cracks cause the house to be weak against rain and wind, they can also cause service pipes to fracture as well as causing windows and doors to stick. The widths of this crack type are 5 up to 15 mm. In order to deal with this, you need to patch it using a mason. Also, you need to repoint external brickwork and see if you need to replace some brickwork.
- Extensively damaged cracks are classified as level 4 damage that can cause distortion to some door frames and windows as well as causing the floor to slope. This type of cracks can not only increase the appearance of bulge and shabbiness to the walls, lose bearing in beams, but this can also cause disruption to the service pipes. The widths can be 15 to 25 mm depending on the number of cracks. To fix this, you need to replace several sections of walls especially over doors and windows.
- Structurally damaged cracks are the highest damage level of cracks (level 5) that can entirely change the appearance of your house. You can notice the floor sloping badly, door frames and windows are distorted and broken. Beams may lose its bearing. Walls leaning so badly that it needs propping. The damage is so bad that it is vulnerable to instability. The widths of the cracks are greater than 25 mm and it can be greater than that depending on number of the cracks. In order to fix this, you need a major repair job that involves partial or complete rebuilding.
When it comes to classification of problems, cracks level 0, 1 and 2 with the widths of the cracks up to 5 mm are considered as ‘aesthetic’ problems that only need redecoration. Level 3 and 4 can be regarded as ‘serviceability’ problems that can affect the building protection against rain and wind as well as the doors and windows. Level 5 is considered as ‘stability’ problems that may need partial or complete rebuilding as well as structural intervention. You need to identify the types of cracks first before taking action because in order to properly fix the cracks, you have to know how much damage the cracks bring to your house and classify them based on the levels mentioned above, so that you know what to do next. That way, you don’t take the wrong step to fix the wrong area of your house. You know which part of your house that requires fixing and which action to choose in dealing with the problems.