All drywall cracks do not point to foundation failure. But, it’s important for the structural integrity of your home to accurately determine whether your drywall crack is due to cosmetic damage or foundation problems.
Replacing drywall costs less than fixing structural issues, but if you’re not solving the root problem, it will be more expensive in the long run.
Interior drywall finishes are used for both structural and decorative reasons. Your drywall walls help brace your wood walls against buckling and racking due to foundation settlement. They also conceal the wood framing, insulation and piping. Inadvertently, drywall can also conceal serious structural damage due to foundation settlement or water damage.
If your interior walls become powdery or cracked, it’s important to first ascertain the source ofthe problem—cosmetic or structural—before replacing the wall. Slapping a decorative fix atop a structural problem might hide it, but in the long-term will allow the underlying damage to escalate.
To determine whether you need a cosmetic fix or a structural repair, you need to know the source of the crack or water damage. At Helitech, we offer free consultations to take a look at your walls and evaluate the extent of the problem and whether it’s dormant or active. Once we detect the source of the damage, we’ll give you a free estimate for how much replacing your drywall might cost.
Before you replace the damaged wall, learn about the cause of the problem.
Cosmetic and non-structural problems are typically isolated to one area or wall. If a crack in your drywall is due to widespread foundation problems or water damage, it will be visible in more than just one wall. Your walls will be uneven or sag. There will be gaps between your wall and floor. Here are some signs of interior wall damage, and how to best fix them:
Since drywall conceals piping, it’s often difficult to spot water damage within an interior wall before there is significant damage. Chronic, slow leaks will saturate wall studs and floor joists long before leaks are visible in the drywall. This is especially true in recent years with the vapor barrier’s rise in popularity. Vapor barriers are sometimes installed between the framing and drywall to protect your interior finishing from water damage. In practice, however, vapor barriers can sometimes conceal signs of moisture problems beneath the drywall finish.
If your drywall feels soft to the touch, or you spot a leak, you need to call a waterproofing professional immediately—the structural elements of your home are likely weakened by the water and rotting. If this is the case, we will need todo more than replace the damaged wall; we’ll need to treat the water damage at its source. Click below to learn about other common signs of water damage
Drywall finishings help prevent your home’s framing from buckling or bowing due to foundation settlement. But, if your foundation is settling beyond the normal amount, drywall doesn’t stand a chance of protecting your home against structural damage.
A crack or two doesn’t immediately indicate structural damage. But, if you also notice cracks, bowing walls, sagging floors and foundation cracks, then it’s likely your home has sustained serious foundation damage. If it looks like foundation problems are the source of your damaged wall, we’ll need todo more than replace the wall in question. We’ll need to ascertain the cause of the foundation settlement and fix the problem at its source.
We’ll get back to you with a cost-effective solution.