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I bought this house a few months ago and haven't had any rain yet here. But we are seeing some cracks in a window that make me suspicious of settling. The cracks are only on this window but on a perpendicular wall with 6 windows there are no cracks. The other perpendicular wall has a few small ones but nothing like this. I'm trying to understand how they formed. There are corresponding cracks outside in the stucco on the same location. House was built in 1954 with this room added in 1968 on a slab and is next to the garage. Rest of house was completely remodeled in 2006. Also, they completely repainted the whole house a few months before we bought it.

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  • Chances are those are very old cracks that were textured over for the sake of selling the house. Unless you're having some very non-typical weather lately, they probably didn't form recently. – isherwood Oct 2 '17 at 21:03
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I almost always agree with isherwood, but in this case, my take is a little different.

Diagonal cracks at the corners of doors or windows is characteristic of settlement due to doors and windows having double framing, which makes them strong spots. The question is whether the settlement is old or new. Even if it is old, cracks don't open unless things are moving or under stress.

The texture finish is the kind of thing someone might do to hide repairs, so this could be an old problem. If they just skimmed an old crack without taping it, vibration from trucks going by or the garage door opening and closing could break up the old repair. The lower drywall crack looks wider than just a hairline, though. I wouldn't expect an old repair to open up that much.

The stucco crack would worry me more. It isn't as easy to crack as drywall, and it's hard to make invisible repairs. If it was previously repaired, you are likely to be able to see it if you look for it around the crack. That's less likely to be an old problem with a disintegrated repair.

Even if this is an old problem, that's only relevant if it was initial settlement that is now stable. To me, the signs seem more likely to be an active problem. I would expose the slab along the cracked area. You don't need to go all the way to the footer, just enough to see what's going on in the area. Look at how continuous and level the top edge is, and how serious any cracks are. Use your judgment as to whether it would be prudent to have an expert look at it. You could also post pictures of the stucco cracks and slab here.

  • Thanks. I just uploaded a couple more pictures. It looks worse than it did a month ago. I am pretty sure they painted over this to hide the damage and I believe they redid the stucco also to cover this. Sounds like I should get a structure guy over to know what is going on. – Shygar Oct 3 '17 at 15:43
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    @Shygar, the separation of the exterior window trim looks like new damage, not an old repair, and I would definitely have a foundation specialist look at it. Consumer protection varies, but in many places, even selling "as-is" requires disclosure of known problems, and hiding them means knowing about them. The seller may be on the hook for the repairs. Talk to the real estate agent, and possibly a lawyer, to learn your options. They may recommend getting a professional opinion in writing as to the extent of previous repairs. – fixer1234 Oct 3 '17 at 17:47

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