I purchased a 2008 built home 6 months ago and now I am seeing some cracks throughout the house. I been using chalk to cover up but don’t know what’s causing this. I have my heat set to 66-70 degrees Fahrenheit during winter. I noticed this during winter including bathroom on main level, living room, basement.

Any help would be appreciated. I am little freaking out.

[![enter image description here][1]][1]

[1]: https://i.sstatic.net/J2Fu5.jpg![enter image description here](https://i.sstatic.net/PtHby.jpg)

  • Please edit your question and post the images inline. Stack Exchange hosts their own images and that keeps people from having to go to 3rd party sites.
    – jwh20
    Commented Feb 14, 2021 at 21:40
  • First picture just looks like the caulk is drying out and pulling away from the wall. This can be fixed by removing the old caulk and re-caulking. Second picture is fairly typical of what happens in corners, with the trim changing length very slightly as it dries out and as the temperature changes. Neither are cause for concern. They are both aesthetic issues, not indications of anything structural.
    – SteveSh
    Commented Feb 14, 2021 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


It is not unusual to have some shrinkage of wood in the winter, and also over time. Both the cold temperature and the dry winter air will cause materials, especially materials that hold water like wood, to shrink. Framing lumber will react this way, as well as your base board itself, especially if they were not at a low moisture level when they were installed.

If you had much larger gaps, I might begin to wonder if something more serious is at fault, but your picture doesn't concern me in the least. It is just one of those things that houses go through.

I wouldn't use chalk to fill the gap however, unless that was a typo. "Caulk", or rather a paint-able latex sealant is the way to go. Use painters tape on both sides of the crack (to avoid cleanup), and press the sealant down into gap a bit, wipe it flush. Touch up with paint if necessary, but with a white baseboard and masking off the sides during install, you may not need to.

  • Does that mean in summer it would come back to Normal and I wouldn’t see the crack?
    – Jay Gandhi
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 22:28
  • 1
    It might get slightly better, but most likely you will still see the crack. Wood swells most perpendicular to the grain (i.e. sideways) as opposed to parallel (i.e. long-ways). Your crack in the photo is at the end of the trim, so long-ways. It would have to be quite moist to swell in that direction very much. I doubt the wood will swell enough in the future to close that gap now. (Unless you live in a very humid environment, and leave the house open in the summer. ) Best thing to do is caulk that crack and if it opens up again, you have larger issues.
    – Blobfish
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 3:47

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