Cracking Houses – Its an epidemic!
The recent article by ABC News of January 10, 2020 “Houses are cracking in dry, hot weather, but when should you start to worry?” discussed the rising occurrence of cracking in houses across Australia due to the recent drought and lack of rain generally.
Houses are cracking due to a lack of rainfall
The article discussed that the lack of rainfall around Australia generally is causing the soil under and around many houses to dry and shrink, leading to cracking of the houses. The article is mostly informative and correct, but it doesn’t actually give you much information on when you should start to worry.
Cracking can be hairline width (less than 1mm wide) to 5mm or wider. Any wall cracking 5mm or wider is classified by the Australian Standard AS2870 “Residential Slabs and Footings” as severe.
Crack rapidity is the worry…
Any cracking is a concern, but the rapidity with which it appears and develops is a larger cause for worry. Some cracking is slight and only shows minor seasonal change (getting wider over summer and then closing up over winter). It tends to remain generally constant over the years. Other cracking however may be rapid and severe, going from no cracking to cracks 10mm and wider in the order of 3 months. This may indicate a severe and worsening problem with the underfloor plumbing, or another cause. This type of rapid appearance of cracking should be investigated urgently.
With any cracking, investigation to find the cause and remedial works undertaken in a timely manner are likely to result in a cheaper overall cost, rather than putting the problem off by ignoring the issue for several years.
It’s cheaper to fix a smaller problem…
It is always cheaper to resolve a smaller problem earlier rather than wait until the problem is larger, requiring more extensive and expensive works to remediate it.
Hence, if cracking:
- has suddenly appeared
- is worsening slowly over time
- is causing you to worry or stress
Magryn strongly recommends that you seek professional advice from a suitably qualified and experienced engineer.
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