Cracks in the walls of your home: what they could mean and how to deal with them

UK Home Improvement

Cracks In The Walls Of Your Home: What They Could Mean And How To Deal With Them

Owning a home is a major responsibility and one that requires dedication, time and effort. It also takes a lot of money, with the average UK homeowner spending around £848 on property maintenance per year. 

These costs could rise considerably if you don’t take care of issues promptly or if your home develops a serious structural issue. 

What Do Cracks In The Wall Mean?

One early warning sign of these problems is cracks in your walls. Cracks in walls don’t necessarily mean that your home is headed for serious structural problems, but it’s still important that you investigate the issue as soon as you spot it. If you leave cracks and ignore them, then the problem could get worse, and the cracks could become a serious problem. More serious cracking can be expensive and time-consuming to fix, so you need to be proactive when dealing with damage to your walls. 

As well as helping you to reduce the cost and time you have to spend fixing the problem, being proactive when you spot cracks in the walls of your home can also make it look more aesthetically pleasing. Cracked walls are usually associated with decaying, neglected properties, and they’re generally not nice to look at, so you should do everything in your power to deal with the issue as soon as you notice it. 

Cracks in your walls can mean different things, depending on the age of the house and the state of repair it’s in. You should always get a second opinion from a professional, but if you know what you’re looking for, you can get things moving quickly and won’t panic. 

To help you feel informed and understand cracks in your home, we explore some of the most common reasons for cracks in your walls, how to identify specific issues and what you should do to get your property looking and feeling like your dream home again. 

Temperature Fluctuations 

One of the most common reasons for cracks in your walls is a dramatic fluctuation in temperature. Significant heat, cold or damp can lead to timber in your home’s structure shrinking or expanding. The simple way to prevent these cracks is to regulate the temperature in your home using central heating or air conditioning devices. By keeping your home at a steady temperature, you can reduce the chances of further cracks appearing in your walls due to climate changes. If you’re going away from your home for some time, consider asking someone to housesit or occasionally visit to control the climate in your home. To deal with the existing hairline cracks from temperature changes, you can use a filler to create a smooth surface, then paint or wallpaper over the wall. The result will be a beautiful space that is always at a comfortable temperature for yourself and your family. 


In extreme cases, cracks in your walls could be a sign of subsidence, which is where your home starts to sink and the foundations become unstable. If this occurs, then it’s a serious problem, so you should never ignore any signs of subsidence, including cracks in your walls. Usually, small cracks are simply general wear and tear, but long, diagonal cracks that are wider at the top and thicker than 3mm could be a sign of subsidence. Be particularly aware of cracks near windows and doors and ones that are visible both inside and outside your home. If your home is subsiding, then experts like Geobear can help. They usually suggest underpinning a wall that’s showing signs of subsidence to strengthen it and stop it from sinking. Their team can review the issue and provide practical support to keep your home safe and get it back to the comfortable space you know and love. 

Failing Lintels 

One issue that can easily be mistaken for subsidence is failing door lintels. Lintels are beams that are placed across the top of a doorframe to support the property’s structure above the door. Lintels are necessary for most internal or external doorways and windows. In some cases, they can struggle to bear the weight of the bricks above them, causing cracks to appear in the wall. As these cracks are near to the door or window frame, they can be mistaken for signs of subsidence. A professional builder or subsidence expert will be able to check for other signs of subsidence or test the strength of your lintels to see if they’re the problem. Failing lintels are easy to fix and can be replaced with new lintels. You can then fill in the cracks caused by the old lintels and get everything back to normal in your home. 

Poorly Applied Plaster

For new homes or walls that have recently been plastered, you might not expect cracks, but these can appear just hours after the plaster dries. They can take a few days to develop, so watch out for them after the plaster dries on your walls before you decorate. If you notice cracks in new plaster, then this could be that the mixture wasn’t prepared properly or that it was applied without an appropriate primer. Thankfully, small cracks in new plaster are easy to fix with a wall filler product or by applying a small amount of additional fresh plaster. Also, as plaster is only the base of the wall and is usually covered with wallpaper or paint, it’s easy to hide these cracks. By filling these cracks in first, you can create a pristine surface for your wall decoration and make it look better for longer. 

A Final Word 

Noticing cracks in your walls can be scary, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. If you’re new to owning your home and being fully responsible for its upkeep, then seeing a crack in a wall can be terrifying and make you jump to the worst possible conclusion. Thankfully, in most instances, cracks in your walls aren’t a major cause for concern and are just the result of a newer property settling into its foundations and an older one that needs a little TLC. However, it’s vital that you’re proactive and work to understand the root cause of the problem so that it doesn’t get worse. This guide should help you to identify the different types of cracks you might spot in your home and offer you advice on what to do when you see them. 


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