All of a sudden this morning I saw about a 14 foot crack on a wall facing the outside (no neighbours) and I'm freaking out. I'm sure I would have noticed it before. The fact that it probably appeared overnight worries me. Should be I concerned or is just a cosmetic problem?

Background: it's a condo which is only 1.5 years old on the 17th floor. It's been -14 to -20 °C (7 to -4 °F) for weeks if that helps.

It seems to be a very superficial crack in the paint but I have never seen something like it. The crack is a straight line starting 2 feet below the ceiling and goes in a straight line down. I'm used to seeing cracks that are crooked.

Is this type of crack common and what is the cause? Does it require professional help? Is the place going to crack? How do I find out the cause?

enter image description here

  • 1
    It looks like a crack in the seam between two pieces of drywall. This is not very unusual and, by itself, is not an indication of serious structural damage. However, if there were structural damage,it might first appear this way. Is there any sign of cracking or shifting on the outside of this wall?
    – bib
    Mar 6, 2014 at 17:26
  • That's Celsius temperature, right?
    – DJohnM
    Mar 6, 2014 at 17:47
  • yes, Celsius. @User58220
    – verve
    Mar 6, 2014 at 18:08
  • I'm on the 17th floor of a building. Can't see outside.
    – verve
    Mar 6, 2014 at 18:09
  • 1
    In general, drywall cracks are limited to the 4x8 panel involved and do not spread. The only thing that could affect people above and below are major building issues that you cannot control. Call management. They will either take responsibility with a structural problem or tell you its cosmetic and put your mind at ease.
    – bib
    Mar 6, 2014 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


If this is also a very new building, quite possibly the building is settling. Don't forget, after you add all the drywall to a building frame, it becomes extremely heavy and starts settling into the ground, and depending on how large the building is, different parts may settle at different rates.


Cracks are almost always caused by shifting, vibrations or impacts. Cracks in walls that are perfectly straight usually follow a seam where two pieces of drywall meet. If the crack is just in the paint or the drywall then its unlikely itself to be a structural problem though there might be a more serious underlying problem.

Assuming it is drywall here, repairing it is the same as any other drywall repair - mud, sand, paint.

  • Hmmmm..this reminds me...for the last few days the people living above me have been making noise like hammering or something...could it be the vibrations from their stuff caused it?
    – verve
    Mar 6, 2014 at 18:24
  • Very possible that could be the cause.
    – Steven
    Mar 6, 2014 at 20:05
  • 1
    Could it have caused it: yes. Was it their "fault": no. Moderate hammering would not itself be enough unless the original install was weak.
    – Bryce
    Mar 14, 2014 at 16:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.