Seeing wall cracks in your new house? Understandably, concern would arise. You will be more relaxed after you understand why and how.
New homes take around 3 years to ‘settle in’ to its foundations.
Cracks in the walls are expected around the expansion joint of the home. The entire weight of the home settling in on the foundation causes shifting to occur.
During the 3 years following the new home being completed and settling – there are changes in:
- drying of the cement
- drying of the plaster
- settling of the bricks
- thermal movements
The materials used in the structure and shifting of the ground under the home contributes to some cracks in the wall near the expansion joint.
Expansion joints are built into the walls so that the different sections of the walls can move independently, without weakening the structure or decreasing the integrity of the walls.
The expansion joint generally form a straight line at different points to dictate where and how the cracks will form in the concrete.
An engineer designs the structure to include the expansion joints to keep the structure safe.
A gap is left in the expansion joint between the bricks with a polystrene spacer ensuring the space is kept free from mortar. This gap allows the walls to have room to expand and contract. The gap is filled with a flexible sealant making the area waterproof.
Without the expansion joints and a controlled design for expansion and contraction of the materials there would be larger structural cracks making the home or building unsafe.
Repairing Settlement Wall Cracks
Repairing the wall cracks near the expansion joint:
- remove debris
- excavate the crack to solid material
- fill crack with a flexible crack filler
- allow the filler to dry
- apply a fresh coat of paint to the repaired crack
New homes are designed with expansion joints to allow the home to settle and materials to shift. These small shifts could create small wall cracks near the expansion joint. In the big picture of the settling home, these minor wall cracks are very minor and a natural part of a new home settling.
The maintenance of a new home includes keeping an eye on these types of predictable issues and repairing them as they arise.
I hope this helps to ease your mind and be prepared with the information on what to expect, how to fix the issue, and minimize panic.