How to Fix Cracks in the Most Common Home Surfaces
Homes are considered safe havens for people to celebrate holidays, commemorate special occasions, and simply to unwind after a long day. To make this all possible, keeping up with maintenance, including sealing cracks in your home's foundation, can ensure these moments never have to end. "No matter how big or small a crack on the floor or wall may be, you'll want to address this problem sooner rather than later to avoid more significant damage around the home, like mold or structural damage," says Joshua Miller, the vice president of technical training at Rainbow International Restoration, a Neighborly company.
It's not just your foundation that you need to worry about, though; be sure look to other areas of the home that could have cracks, like glass. "Cracked glass poses a great safety risk for guests," notes Brad Roberson, the president of Glass Doctor, a Neighborly company. "A chip or a crack in the glass can easily spread and create major issues if left ignored; It's also important to remember that the risk of the glass shattering and whether the glass will need full replacement is different for every situation, so it's best to connect with a glass replacement professional to properly address the best-case scenario for your cracked glass." Ahead, discover common home surfaces that can crack and how to fix them.
If you see cracks in your walls, Miller explains that there's only one cause: movement. "Movement in the structure of the home can potentially lead to bigger issues than homeowners may realize," he says. While small cracks usually don't pose a major problem in the long run, as they can be fixed easily, large cracks could mean that there is more movement inside of your home and could end up costing more to repair.
In terms of the different types of cracks, ones found in exterior walls creates a space for water to seep into the home's frame. A simple fix for this situation? Fill in weak cracks in walls, floors, and foundations where water could come in from any summer and fall flooding or melted snow from the winter. "This simple preventative measure can also be the difference to help prevent heat or air from escaping your home, saving a great amount of money in utility bills," adds Miller. "If there are any areas of the home you believe may have been affected by flooding, including cracks in exterior and interior walls or leaks in the roof, double check for mold growth." He notes that if your home has water stains, discoloration, bubbling, cracking, or peeling paint or wallpaper, then mold growth is likely the case in the foundation of your home.
"Wood rot is a type of decay that forms from moisture and fungi," Miller explains of this type of crack that can ultimately lead to expensive repairs if not treated as soon as possible. "Floods, natural disasters, a plumbing accident, and humid environments can all lead to wood rot in your home and potentially, cause health concerns for those living in the home." The rotting will look like deep cracks in wood, create a yellowing on the surface of your floors, and cause musty smells, wet walls, and black fungus. Miller says minor wood rot can be addressed by digging rot out yourself and adding clear hardener to the boundary or border of leftover wood in addition to applying a wood filler. "However, if there is significant damage from the wood rot, it is highly recommended to remove the wood altogether and replace it with the proper materials," he adds. "This may likely include contacting a professional to assist as it may interfere with the structural features of the home."
Vents, Flues, and Chimneys
Don't overlook other common areas where cracks can form in the home, like in vents, flues, and chimneys. These can feature rubber seals or metal flashings. The cracks form due to water, snow, or moisture getting into the home in mild or severe conditions, like from snow or excessive rain. You can prevent these cracks by sealing openings before mold and water damage spread. The best time to do this is after a snowstorm. Also consider having a professional check the chimney and outside vents for cracks.
Several types of cracks in glass can pop up, but the most common include bull's eye, star break, and half-moon cracks, which happen based on impact. "Bull's eye cracks are circular with a cone in the outer layer of the glass, while half-moon cracks are not completely circular," Roberson says. "Star break cracks come off the impact point with short radical cracks surrounding, resembling a shape similar to a star." Stress cracks, on the other hand, are created based on extreme changes in temperature or even if a door is slammed in your home. The crack will start close to the edge of a window and make its way across the glass. Lastly, pressure cracks are the least common glass crack, as they are most seen in insulated glass or double-paned windows, but they are still ones to keep an eye out for in your interiors. They form in the shape of a curve and are caused by drastic temperature changes or when windows are installed at the incorrect elevation level. These will usually result in full glass replacements.
"There are ways to prevent the crack from spreading immediately, however it's not recommended to wait it out, as cracked glass can be dangerous and unpredictable," Roberson says. "Once a crack grows, the more dangerous it becomes so it's essential to replace it immediately upon identifying it." In the event that you can't get glass replaced immediately, you can follow a couple of rules of thumb to ensure cracks don't spread. One: Using a strip of masking tape on each side of the crack can also help slow down the process. Two: Keep temperatures in your home consistent since glass will expand and contract when it heats or cools, causing more stress and pressure cracks.