It is a common story – you purchase and move in to your dream home only to notice cracks in retaining walls, interior walls, stucco and even flooring after a few months. Some of these cracks are innocuous hairline cracks that happen in nearly every home as the result of natural settling and seasonal changes. Others are much more ominous and can signify serious construction defects, structural defects, soils issues, architectural and design flaws.
How does a homeowner tell when it is time to be concerned? Well, for one thing, you should look at the size of the cracks to see whether they are a hair‘s width or larger. If they are as wide as a quarter or wider, that could be something to worry about. Check to see whether there is heaving – are both sides of the crack level with each other or is one side noticeably higher? If the sides of the crack are not aligned, that could indicate a structural problem.
If there cracks in the stucco, there are a number visible signs that would raise concerns. The size of the crack and crumbling in the stucco are perhaps the most obvious signs of stucco defects. However, other indications of potentially serious problems are discoloration and dampness in the stucco. Numerous cracks, water infiltration, mold or structural weakness should all be addressed immediately to avoid worsening damage to the home.
You should contact your builder or builder‘s warranty representative immediately when you notice cracks or other issues with your home. Cracks and other damage should be carefully documented. For instance, you should photograph them and even note the size of the crack. Consider marking the crack to indicate where it stops and starts along with the date. If the crack grows quickly, this could indicate a serious problem. The same routine holds true for documenting problems other than cracks as well.
You should not attempt to repair these issues on your own. You should notify your contractor or builder. If your builder does not respond, legal help may be needed to obtain the necessary repairs and to assist you in obtaining compensation for any other damages you incur.