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Have a relatively new 5 year old double storey townhouse. There is a long diagonal slightly jagged crack extending from the corner where the door meets the wall in the ground floor. It's almost 60cm and probably extended 30cm over the last few months. The base of the crack seems to have gotten bigger, maybe 5mm wide. The builder is insisting this is just settlement of the house but it seems more worrying to me. Pretty worried about the structural integrity of the house now. Do you guys think this warrants further investigation by a structural engineer or someone?enter image description here

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    "The builder is insisting this is just settlement" - a new house shouldn't settle that much. The foundation work should have been done specifically to prevent settling and should have been appropriate for whatever kind of soil conditions you have. This sounds like they're trying to get you to "go away" and not complain. That's all the more reason to complain even louder.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 15:44
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    Cracks at the joints of the drywall might be settlement cracks. A crack in the middle of a drywall panel is concerning. A structural engineer check is cheap insurance and a good opinion to go to the builder with.
    – crip659
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 15:49
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    @NPA - What country are you in? This can be important because certain types of building failure are much more common in some places over others. If you're in a country with lax building standards it's far more likely that this is both more serious and less likely to be resolved by legal disputes, etc. In many countries the correct response to a fault this serious would be to open a legal case with the builder, but where that isn't an option you may be looking for more practical advice about how you can best fix this. More information on the circumstances would be helpful.
    – J...
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 17:24
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    It would also be helpful to see outdoor photos of the house with indications of where the wall is with relation to the outside. It would also be helpful to know the structure and orientation of the house and the wall with respect to it. This may be something as crazy as a non-structural wall that is taking load inappropriately for some reason, for example - impossible to say without more information. More detail is always better.
    – J...
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 17:25
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    @DarrelHoffman looks to me it's marking the current and former ends.
    – Reid
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 19:51

2 Answers 2

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It's a bit difficult to tell since your photo has no context. But generally cracks in drywall, especially at the joints, are common and nothing to worry about.

In this case, however, there is clearly something going on behind the drywall that has cracked it and it does not, to me at least, look routine. This is especially true as you indicate that the crack is still forming.

I'd be looking at what's under the floor near this wall. Is the foundation subsiding? Was the home improperly supported to begin with?

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    The use of metric units in the question strongly implies that the OP is not in the USA - which significantly raises the likelihood that the wall is not drywall, but brick/block masonry instead. In either case though I agree that it looks like there's something else more serious going on than what the builder suggests.
    – brhans
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 14:13
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    I noted that the OP tagged the question with "drywall".
    – jwh20
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 14:36
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    Yeah - I missed that - insufficient coffee this early in the morning. But to me that crack doesn't look like anything I've seen in drywall ...
    – brhans
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 15:42
  • That's what concerns me. It would take a lot of force and movement to crack drywall like this. But lacking more information, I have to assume that it's as they noted with the tag.
    – jwh20
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 15:52
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    In the UK, drywall is fairly common for internal walls, and to line the inside of external walls. It is also used for the ceilings. However, it's called plasterboard there
    – CSM
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 16:03
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I'd be more worried about the lintel and/or its supports by the door's top corner.

I'm here in Ireland, so if it was an old stone/block/mass-concrete house I'd say that the timber lintels were sagging. But as it's a new one, this should not be the case as lintels for traditional masonry walled houses have for many decades have been steel reinforced concrete and should neither crack not sag. With new timber-frame houses, it's a sort of timber stressed-ends beam lintel with the bulk of the stress borne at the upper and lower end of the beam.

Yet, wherever you are and whatever the way the house is built, something is out of line when a crack like that opens up. So call a building surveyor or structural engineer in immediately. They may well be able to deduce that the underlying problem has been there from the outset. In other words, it's a build quality issue and compensable if the builder is still in business.

So call the surveyor/structural engineer today.

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  • I'd be curious if the crack has propagated below the surface, into whichever material it covers. As it'll have to be plastered anyway, you could remove a little around it to see what's happening below. But yeah, chances are something structural is going on, so you'll probably end up getting a professional anyway.
    – MiG
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 16:16
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    Welcome to Home Improvement. You may want to edit your answer to indicate what locale you're in, as wooden/timber lintels (or headers) are very common in the US, and reinforced concrete ones are fairly uncommon.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 16:16
  • Thanks, Freeman. Forgot about locale, house construction types, etc. Corrected. Feel free to re-edit.
    – Trunk
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 19:53

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