Uh-oh my house is breaking in two

wall crack, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

I’m not sure if this will show up properly in the photo but I have recently seen a gigantic crack in my living room wall. Advice please!

7 Comment

  • same thing happening at my place. during my home inspection there were similiar cracks and they replastered over it. home inspector said it was natural and that it was always going to happen to older buildings. he said settling of the house could cause it (which could be spurred by construction or other vibrations). but i do have this really long crack that looks really bad. any suggestions on good contractors?

  • You might need to go down to the basement and try and check the foundation under the area where the the crack formed to make sure that nothing is showing there.
    Easier said than done considering the configuration of your basement.

  • that could also happen if the house next to yours is under going major renovations….

  • You are going to have some cracks in the plaster. What you need to worry about is if doors start getting hard to close, there is any slope to your floors (with the possible exception of basement and bump-out floors), or cracks in the exterior brick. Those are signs of more than “settlement”. If you don’r have your basement finished out take a good look at all of the walls and the floor joists (beams) down there too. My understanding is that foundation problems in DC are not too bad due to the soil composition, but you also need to watch out for water collecting or pooling around the foundation of the house as well — in looking out houses in Petworth recently I have seen plenty of rowhouses that are not graded properly and have water which, along with causing damp, stinky, moldy conditions in your basement can also spell bad news for the foundation in some cases. Lots of these rowhouses have had their entire back yards filled with concrete graded right down into the basement(!) But if all you have are a few little cracks like that, I would carry on drinking my beer and hope the wife doesn’t notice them.

  • Best advice all year anon. Thanks! I’m going to have one of those beers right now.

  • rNo prob PoP. As it happens me and my gal just put a contract on a house in PW (fingers crossed) that has just the problem I was warning about — sloping grade into the rear of the house. The disclosures said something like “slight dampness” near the basement rear door and claimed “problem solved” by adding a door sweep. Yeah, right. Anyhoo, the lil’ gal insisted the “light was just right” so all other concerns were secondary. So, as you can see, I’m not willing to follow my own advice and cross her highness even if it means the house falling over. Besides, when the owners get all huffy about our low offer I can whine about future torrents rushing through the basement. If all works like lil’ gal has schemed yours truly will be renting a pnuematic jackhammer and drafting poor souls to lug concrete debris to a rented trash skip. I’ll probably wait until the hottest day in August to do it. You in PoP? 😉

  • Nice! I’m in. Only as a neutral observer of course…

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