Cracks in Your Property

Cracks are a common occurrence in most properties throughout the Sydney metropolitan basin. Whilst they are unsightly and cause concern for owners, small hair line cracks are nothing to be concerned about.

The entire Sydney Metropolitan basin is formed of a reactive clay substrate that expands & contracts with the weather conditions that we experience.

During dry periods the moisture is being drawn out of the substrate which causes it to shrink. When we experience wet periods we find that the moisture enters the substrate causing it to expand.

As most properties are built on this substrate they are affected by the expansion & contraction that occurs due to foundation movement.

An interesting trend that occurs is that cracks open up during a dry spell and then close back up during a wet spell.

As soon as cracks appear it seems to set off fear & panic within home owners, however this needn’t be the case unless the crack exceeds 5 – 10mm in width.

The time to start panicking is where you notice a crack forming and gradually get excessively larger, and where it continues to grow beyond 10mm in width over a short to medium length of time. At this point of time it is definitely worth having a builder inspect the property to determine if there is an underlying problem.

It could be an issue with stormwater lines underground near the foundations that have cracked or dislodged and causes the foundations to subside each time it rains. In these cases the source of the problem needs to be repaired and once this has been done, the wall with the crack should then be repaired.

If you have hair line cracks (cracks 1mm in width and under) these would be deemed normal settlement cracks which should be monitored to ensure they do not bet bigger.

When it comes time to repaint the walls the painters normally fill these with no more gaps as this product has flexible properties which expand & contract with movement. The painters will then paint over the wall and the cracks will no longer be seen.

In essence there is no need to panic when you see a crack in your property, even if you have only just recently painted. The best thing to do is get a ruler and take a photo of the crack with a date stamp on it, then monitor over the next 2-3 months to see if it continues to get bigger or remains the same width, or even closes up.