Understanding cracks in wallsThere is a common misconception that cracked walls are directly related to poor construction and reinforcement been applied during the building process.

 

Where there are times that this might be the case, the hard truth in general, is that cracks do happen and for the most part nobody is too blame. In this blog posting we delve into cracked walls and provide a better understanding into what causes it.

The public perception when a wall or floor has a crack is that the products used during construction have failed. The facts are that when concrete, even with reinforcing mesh applied, is used that two facts can be guaranteed, it will harden and it will crack.

 

Cracking is the result of a combination of factors. Thermal contraction, drying shrinkage, internal or external restraints or sub-grade settling and the applied load. When cracks become evident in a building the question would shift to whether the damage is structural or aesthetically an eyesore. In the case where it is structural then the best advise would be to make use of a structural engineer to review the crack or cracks, and advise on a route to remediate the damage.

 

Superficial cracks can be easily repaired by a building contractor or if you are up to it, using your own elbow grease over a weekend to break out the concrete and patch it up. Doing it yourself also gives you a great excuse to give the house a new paint job.

 

Structural cracks would be repaired based on the advise giving by the engineer. Where cracks cannot always be avoided, there are things you can do prior to starting your project to decrease the chances of it occurring later, rather than sooner.

 

  • A qualified structural or architectural engineer would be able to assist you during an onsite inspection to determine the best material and placement of the foundation reinforcement.
  • Make use of steel reinforcing mesh that is certified and has is AS/NZS 4671 compliant. This would reduce the chances of structural damage in later years due to corrosion of the building materials.

 

Corrosion of sub-standard reinforcing mesh can be noticed even before cracks become evident where exposed walls will start to show rust spots. Where the area is moist this could be indicative of a leaking pipe causing the damage.

 

Have a look at our range of industry standard reinforcing products for you next building project on our Reinforcement Section of the site. You are also more than welcome to contact us to find out about our delivery options in the Perth and Western Australia regions.