Interior Wall Cracks: What a Home Inspector in Pittsburgh Will Tell You Before You Buy a Home
When a crack develops in plaster or drywall, putting a framed picture over the offending imperfection may hide it from view, but it won’t make the problem disappear. In addition to being unsightly, wall and ceiling cracks may indicate serious structural issues.
Before deciding on purchasing a home, it is advised to have those cracks checked by an experienced home inspector in Pittsburgh. In addition to noting the presence of cracks in the home inspection report, the home inspector will be able to let you know if they are merely cosmetic concerns or red flags of more costly damage.
Why does plaster and drywall crack?
Interior wall cracks may appear for a number of reasons, including aging plaster, poor workmanship, normal frame shrinkage, or structural problems due to movement.
In drywall, for example, small vertical settlement cracks (caused by frame shrinkage and fluctuating seasonal temperatures) that run along abutted joints generally do not warrant too much concern by a home inspector unless combined with other factors, such as water damage and foundational problems. The home inspector will note the presence of these “hairline” cracks in the report.
On the other hand, stress cracks may be an indication that structural movement has occurred. If larger than ¼ inch in width, running diagonally across a wall (often originating in corners of wall openings), and tapered from large to small, wall cracks take on a heightened sense of urgency to a home inspector in Pittsburgh.
If these internal stress cracks are accompanied by external cracks in the same area, this will call for further evaluation of the home’s foundation. Other tests, such as checking for sticking bathroom and bedroom doors and measuring to determine if floor joists are sagging, can help the home inspector in Pittsburgh gauge the seriousness of a situation.
Home Inspector Tip: Examine the area around a drywall crack. If you see nail or screw heads which have popped out of their wood studs, this may be an indication of structural movement.
The above is only a sampling of interior wall crack assessments performed by a home inspector. A thorough interior wall evaluation is included in an A-Pro 500-point home inspection. To hire a certified local A-Pro home inspector, click here or 1-724-590-0000