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Drywall Cracks- Should I Be Alarmed?

Very frequently we get questions on home inspections about cracks in drywall, typically near the corners of interior doors or at the base of windows. You may have seen cracks like this- they start at the corner and emanate outward at a 45-degree angle. The buyer’s question essentially boils down to this: is my house falling down?

OK, maybe it’s not quite that anxious, but it is a question that seeks to determine if there are any serious structural issues that may be present.

In Kentucky (in Louisville in particular) we do not see lots of homes with serious structural issues. Make no mistake, they are out there, but the good news is that cracks like these usually are not much cause for alarm.

These types of cracks are very common, and they rarely indicate anything of structural significance. We look at them as one clue of many. When we see a crack like this, we check out all sorts of other indicators, including some of these: we check the door to see if it shuts properly or rubs. Is it out of rack? If so, is there a “leaning” in the room or in any adjacent rooms that may indicate a problem either below (floor structure) or above (roof or second-floor)? One crack by itself is not troubling, but several cracks may point to a more serious problem, and they certainly point us in the direction of further investigation.

Ultimately, we look at a variety of clues, including interior and exterior cracks and others, to determine if a structural problem may exist. Your home inspector takes a multi-faceted approach to assess the home as a system, so to speak. Most drywall cracks are simply cosmetic, but your inspector has the training to help determine if further investigation may be warranted.

So- don’t worry. More than likely it is not something serious, but a professional assessment will be able to tell.

Check us out for more information or to schedule a home inspection online.