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Is it Normal for Sheetrock to Crack?

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When you discover a crack in your home’s sheetrock, your heart might just skip a beat. Is this a minor aesthetic issue or the harbinger of a much larger problem? We all want our walls to look smooth and flawless, but reality often paints a different picture. Understanding the reasons behind sheetrock cracks can shed light on whether there’s cause for concern or if it’s simply just normal settlement. So let’s delve into the potential causes and what you can do to address those pesky cracks.

Worried about sheetrock cracks in your home? Our blog investigates what causes these problems and provides helpful, homeowner-friendly tips for managing them.

What Causes Drywall to Crack?

While there are many reasons why drywall cracks, some causes are more common than others. The following are four of the most common sources of sheetrock cracks.

Poor Installation

The first common reason why drywall cracks is that the person who installed it performed the process incorrectly in some way. For instance, if your sheetrock installer decided to cut corners or they simply lacked experience, you can expect cracks to form at some point. In many cases, improper installation will cause cracks to develop shortly after the installation is complete.

Changes in Temperature and Humidity

Assuming that your drywall technician performed their duties correctly, other reasons beyond their control could cause the drywall to crack. For example, if there are any extreme changes in temperature or humidity, either of those factors could cause sheetrock to crack.

As temperature and air moisture fluctuate, drywall often expands and contracts. At times, this expansion and contraction is significant enough to cause cracks. Fortunately, unlike other causes, this one does not imply that you have a deep underlying structural problem.

Structural Issues

Sometimes, when the sheetrock in your home cracks, it signifies a structural concern. For example, if any of the wooden components of your home begin to rot, they lose their structural integrity. Rot can deform your floors, walls, and ceilings, forcing sheetrock to crack.

Crawl space

In some cases, cracked sheetrock can indicate an issue with floor and ceiling joists. If the builder of your home did not include enough joists or spaced them too far apart, it can cause them to fail. The first signs of this type of failure are floor or ceiling sagging and drywall cracks.

Other structural problems that can result in drywall cracks include truss uplift and the removal of load-bearing walls during a renovation. However, regardless of the source, the fact that drywall cracks can be a sign of a structural problem means it is always worth having a professional evaluate them.

Differential Foundation Settlement

Occasionally, cracks in your sheetrock are a sign that your foundation has experienced a phenomenon known as differential settlement, which can dramatically impact the structural integrity of your foundation and cause issues throughout your entire home.

Foundation settlement occurs when the soil below your foundation shifts or sinks. Since your foundation relies on that soil for support, it will move any time the soil moves. A small amount of uniform foundation settlement is normal following construction. However, differential settlement can have a significant adverse effect on your house.

Foundation settlement occurs when the soil below your home shifts or sinks. When this happens, your foundation and the rest of your home will move along with the soil.

Differential settlement involves uneven foundation shifts. While these uneven shifts can vary in severity, they typically lead to structural issues. Simply put, differential foundation settlement can cause shifts throughout every floor of your home, which often leads to cracked drywall.

As is true of the structural issues we mentioned above, differential foundation settlement is something that you should not allow to go unaddressed. Instead, if you notice cracks in your drywall, you’ll want to take action immediately to prevent damage to your home.

How to Deal with Cracked Sheetrock

Below are three viable paths to resolve drywall cracks, each requiring a professional to address one or more causes in the sections above.

Hire a Drywall Technician

If your drywall cracks result from poor installation or excessive humidity, there’s an excellent chance you can resolve these issues by hiring an experienced drywall technician. A skilled drywall professional can fix mistakes during installation and reinstall your drywall if necessary.

Drywall professionals can also remedy damage that has occurred due to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. In those situations, running a dehumidifier in the areas where your drywall is cracked often proves to be beneficial. Running a dehumidifier will help you control air moisture and keep it in an ideal range that does not cause sheetrock cracks.

Repair Floor, Wall, and Ceiling Structures

If your drywall cracks due to a structural problem with your floors, walls, or ceilings, the right approach is to hire a contractor to evaluate those structures and determine the ideal way to replace or reinforce them.

If your drywall cracks due to a structural problem with your floors, walls, or ceilings, the right approach is to hire a contractor to evaluate those structures and determine the ideal way to replace or reinforce them.

For such projects, it remains essential to seek professional help. While some homeowners are eager to take on DIY projects, repairing the structural elements of your home on your own is not only unsafe but likely to be unsuccessful as well.

By contrast, finding a skilled contractor allows you to understand the structural damage’s extent better. It also ensures that the repairs will be as quick, safe, and efficient as possible.

Consult a Foundation Repair Specialist

If differential foundation settlement is the source of your sheetrock cracks, you will need to find a foundation professional in your area who can help restore the structural integrity of your foundation.

One of the most common ways a foundation team will achieve this goal is by installing foundation piers. During this process, the team inserts push or helical piers deep into the earth until they reach firm strata or bedrock. After inserting the piers into the ground, the team will connect them to your foundation with a bracket.

Once the connection is formed, your foundation professional can use the piers to raise your home to as close to being level as possible. The piers will also help to give your foundation additional strength to prevent future differential settlement. After resolving the settlement issue, you’ll likely need to finish the process by patching the cracks in your drywall.

Get the Help You Need from an Experienced Pro

This article mentioned the importance of hiring a professional to fix your drywall cracks. If you suspect that your sheetrock cracks result from a foundation issue that you’d like someone to look at, HydroHelp911 is here to help you.

At HydroHelp911, we have extensive experience with repairs and waterproofing for basements and crawl spaces. If you’re concerned about your foundation and live in Charlotte, North Carolina, or the surrounding area, contact us today to learn more about what we can offer.

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