Does A Crack In The Wall Mean Your House Is Falling Down?

Cracks in the walls of your house often ring alarm bells for people. They immediately assume that the foundations of the house are collapsing and the whole house is at risk of falling down. In some cases, they’re right and they need some serious work doing to maintain the house. But most of the time they have other causes. Understanding the cracks in your walls is key to knowing whether you’re living in a house from hell or if you’ve just got a cosmetic issue, so here are the different types and what they mean.

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Vertical Cracks

A vertical crack isn’t really a huge problem. It doesn’t look great but it can be filled and painted over, and you shouldn’t need to do much else with it. If the crack runs vertically up the wall and starts near the area where the ceiling and the wall meet, it was probably created when the foundations of the house were setting. After a while, it’ll come through and show on the wall, but it doesn’t indicate any damage to the foundations.

Horizontal Cracks

Horizontal cracks are far more serious and are often tell-tale signs of more serious damage to the house. A horizontal crack, or one that runs at a 45 degree angle, is usually caused by water damage or damaged foundations. The whole foundation of the house can shift, causing cracks in the walls. If this is the case then you need to get somebody in to have a look. One of the most common causes of structural problems is termites getting into the wooden supports in the house and eating them away. When that happens, you’ll need to get somebody like this company to get rid of the pests before you then have somebody repair the foundations. As well as foundation problems, horizontal cracks could be caused by a serious amount of water damage. The longer you leave these problems untreated the worse they’re going to get so as soon as you notice any horizontal cracks, get it checked out.

Stair Cracks

Stair cracks don’t mean cracks around the stairs, it means cracks that are in the shape of a staircase. They usually follow the lines of the cement between the bricks and tend to have one specific cause. If you’ve got a stairway crack then there’s a possibility that you’ve got soil settling underneath the centre of the wall. It’s most common in basements but it can happen anywhere in the house. The only way to tell for sure is to have somebody drill into the bottom of the wall and test to see whether there is soil down there.


Before you start calling all sorts of experts in, there are a couple of quick tests that you can do yourself to make sure your foundations aren’t collapsing. When you notice a crack, try opening and closing the internal doors in the house. If they’re sticking, that could be a sign that the foundations aren’t completely level. Make sure that it’s not paint or anything else that’s causing it to stick first, and if you can’t see any other reason for it, you’ve likely got foundation problems.

Don’t panic as soon as you notice a small crack in the wall, but always keep an eye on it in case it’s something more serious.

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