Is this crack a sign of foundation problems? It is at the top corner of two windows.

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  • 1
    Most cracks like that are superficial. Are there any on the outside? How old is the home? A newer home will have settling cracks.
    – RMDman
    Jul 9, 2023 at 16:57
  • Home was built in 1986. I didn't see any cracks on the outside but there are wood panels
    – dman
    Jul 9, 2023 at 17:36
  • That's just the paint cracking. Do you have spare paint? You can scrape it off and see if it is actually cracked behind it.
    – Nelson
    Jul 11, 2023 at 2:31

2 Answers 2


Most houses move a bit. Unless you have some kind of sudden catastrophic fail, which is extremely rare, then really the trouble with foundation slippage or subsidence is it's usually so slow you can't measure it by eye, or over short periods of time.

There are two ways to approach it, the laissez faire & the intensive/paranoid.

The laissez faire approach is to fill & paint the cracks, then see if they re-appear in a year or two.

The intensive/paranoid is to get monitoring equipment. This can be as simple as a checker panel you fasten over the crack, then periodically have a look at to see if it's moved…

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All the way up to wireless monitoring systems that will 'phone home' with detailed analysis.

Here's a selection from a random search in the UK - https://www.surveyorsequipment.co.uk/inspection-detection/crack-monitoring.html

I live in a house well over a century old which has moved, at the widest gap, about 80 mm. It's still in laissez faire territory. We periodically have it looked at by professionals. No-one is worried yet. It's actually slowed almost to a stop since we cleared a dozen trees that were growing too close to the house.
By comparison, your 1 or 2 mm in 35 years is barely shifting.

  • I bought my house last year. My fear is that the house inspector was not honest about the foundation and there issues with the foundation which will hurt me on the sell price when I want to sell the house someday.
    – dman
    Jul 10, 2023 at 14:55
  • 2
    Why would a surveyor not be honest? They work for you, not the seller. That's the entire reason you never buy a property without a survey.
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 10, 2023 at 14:58
  • Inspector, not surveyor, but the same is true. They may or may not be thorough, they may or may not be competent, but they're working for you and have no reason to be dishonest.
    – keshlam
    Jul 10, 2023 at 16:56
  • @keshlam - I think we're just hitting the usual transpondian terminology differences. ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 10, 2023 at 16:58
  • Ah. On this side of the puddle, "surveyor" without qualification usually means someone who establishes geographical coordinates such as property lines.
    – keshlam
    Jul 10, 2023 at 18:44

It looks like a stress fracture caused by expansion and contractions of the lumber or possibly the windows were installed incorrectly. To tight not allowing any movement from temperature changes if they open some and a couple months later are about closed this is the cause.no true structure damage in most cases.this is from 10 plus years of experience with plaster and sheetrock dry wall.

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