Unless you’re unaware, structures and buildings move all time, due to the earth’s movement. However, most of these movements tend to be unnoticeable. The movement of a building can also be caused due to foundation failure, defects, building fabric decaying process and so on. And when a structure isn’t able to accommodate such a movement, cracking will start to occur.
It should come as no surprise that the presence of cracks or distortions can turn out to be visually unattractive and concerning for the occupants. And if the same is left untreated, the overall integrity, stability and safety of the building or structure will get affected. That’s why learning the main causes of cracking must be understood at first and then you can proceed to opt for a repair strategy.
The Main Causes Of Cracks
According to professional services for Wellington insulation, some of the main causes of cracks include:
- The ground movement is caused by clay shrinkage, vibration, landslip, settlement, heave, subsidence, sway and the like.
- Foundation failure can happen due to concrete erosion, decay of soft clay brick and the presence of chemical contaminants.
- Any decaying process in the building fabric, which is caused due to rust, woodworm, termite infestation and the like.
- Any moisture intrusion which causes materials to contract or expand can happen due to damaged drainage systems or the presence of vegetation nearby to the house.
- Any type of thermal movement can easily cause materials to contract or expand, as the temperature will decrease or increase.
- Any type of inherent defects that’s present especially in historic structures.
- Damaged sewage system.
- Growth of tree roots.
- Any suspended structures that can easily deform under load.
- Non-presence of foundation in old structures.
The Various Sizes Of Cracks
- Hairline cracks have less than 0.1 mm in width.
- Fine cracks have around 1 mm in width.
- Cracks can have up to 5 mm in width.
- Extensive damage can be up to 15 to 25 mm in width.
- Structural damage can have a width of more than 25 mm.
The Shapes Of Cracks
- Hairline cracks are found to be common in buildings & structures, especially those which are made from plaster. Plaster is prone to shrinking and is highly sensitive to any movement.
- Stepped cracks generally follow the vertical & horizontal joints inside buildings, which include the beds of mortar in-between two bricks.
- Vertical cracks are a sign that will show that structural components inside the building have failed.
- Cracks that tend to be wider at the top may indicate that there’s a foundation movement.
- Any presence of horizontal cracks will showcase that the structure is failing and it can lead to a safety concern.
Lastly, we hope you enjoyed our guide and for any additional queries, do let us know.