Our last blog on cracking in houses was very popular and as such we are now going to write a series of specialist blogs on specific types of cracking in houses, starting with shrinkage.
In many houses, we see cracking at the junctions of walls and ceilings and at the changes in angles of walls. This also occurs at the junctions of wooden door surrounds and frames and the walls and all these types of cracks often have something in common, shrinkage.
Shrinkage is a process of initial drying out of materials after construction works are undertaken. A remarkable amount of water is used in construction, there is water in the mortar that binds bricks together, water in wall plaster, water in tile adhesive, water in paint and the list goes on. Timber when it is first installed within a house normally has a moisture content of up to 18%, sometimes higher dependent on how the material is stored and once installed in a dry, weathertight environment it will often dry to 13% moisture content or less.
Therefore, as newly installed material dries out, it contracts and cracking will often find its way to the weakest points in a building; wall junctions, ceiling junctions and timber component junctions.
This type of cracking is rarely worrying and should be simply re-decorated once fully dry. There are sometimes complications that require further investigation and if you are worried, feel free to call The Hopps Partnership Chartered Surveyors.