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Homeowner's Guide to Cracks

December 2, 2021

Homeowner's Guide to Cracks

For many of us, the purchase of a brand new home-- whether it's our first home or the forever home we have been dreaming of-- will be one of the most important investments we make. When we invest in something that important, we want to ensure it is safe, stable, and structurally sound. With this in mind, new-home homeowners often have questions about the cracks that commonly occur after move-in. Most importantly, homeowners want to know why the cracks appear and if they should be concerned about their implications. 

What is causing the cracks? 

Often, homeowners are surprised to learn that small cracks are not only common but an expected occurrence associated with many of the materials used in the home construction process. Most materials used in the building process are designed to move and even crack to accommodate these expected movements. 

Because a home is exposed to constantly changing weather, soil, and environmental conditions, the materials used to construct the house will undergo natural and expected levels of movement-- usually in the form of expansion and contraction. These adjustments and movements are particularly common soon after the home is completed and tend to diminish over time as the home begins to settle and adjust to its new environment. By expecting and preparing for this movement, your builder gives your home the room it needs to safely settle into its new surroundings. That's why small, hairline cracks in materials such as concrete and drywall are generally not a cause for concern; They're your home's way of getting comfortable and adjusted. 

Should you be concerned about these cracks? 

As long as the cracks are within the expected tolerances for the materials used, they are rarely cause for concern by themselves. That's why it's common for new-home builders to wait until the end of the one-year workmanship warranty before making repairs. They understand these small cracks pose little risk and that it makes sense to give the home as much time as possible to settle and adjust. 

With that said, there may be times when a crack warrants concern and needs to be evaluated. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind. 

  • Cracks between 9/16" and 1" are generally considered severe. Cracks exceeding 1" are considered very severe. 
  • Cracks spanning the entire surface and running through the depth of the concrete may require further investigation. 
  • Cracks with enough displacement to present tripping, maintenance, or sanitation issues may require further investigation. Similarly, cracks that allow moisture seepage should likely be professionally evaluated. 
If you do encounter a crack that appears to fall outside the normal tolerances, what should you do? 

For Kindred Homeowners, you are provided the security and peace of mind that comes with a 1-year structural warranty, provided and administered by the StrucSure Home Warranty. You can find more information regarding the warranty and coverage details here, or call 1.877.806.8777