When to worry about cracks in a house or villa?

Cracks in a house are the main issue of concern for house users. Epic company have always liked to draw comparisons with Medicine and Architecture. Luckily, we Epic’s architects are the doctors of houses. It is quite possible that the owner of a house or villa will come to us frightened by a crack. We, in our mental scheme, directly associate that crack with a zigzagging opening 1 cm thick. On the visit we will discover that the alleged pathology is a crack of less than half a millimeter. Moreover, it did not affect any structural element. 

In other words, our diagnosis differed completely from the client's diagnosis, so the latter was automatically reassured and felt better.  

Many times, any pathology that appears is magnified (which is fine, because prevention is better than cure. This logical alarmism should be put in tables of logic by the architect to reassure the user in all cases. Whether the pathology is serious or not. 

Let us narrow the scope of study to cracks, which together with dampness, are the main workhorse. When is it necessary to worry about them? If we are forced to give an answer in one sentence, our sentence is clear: 

When structural elements of the house are affected. 

Well, how do I know what the structural elements of the house are? That's what architects from the company Epic are for. In the vast majority of cases, we do not have plans of the house to solve the doubts, but we can ensure with 99% of success in our credit how is the structure of a house. Throughout the history of building and villa, there is a cultural background that not only serves to know if a capital is Ionic, Doric or Corinthian style, but if a house has load-bearing walls, pillars, mixed structure, metal structure, large spans, flat beams, one-way or two-way slabs... Each way of raising the skeleton of a house is usually linked to a certain era, and the date of construction is often the one that gives the answer, along with visual inspection. Houses more than a century old usually have a load-bearing wall structure. 

Structural elements are not affected 

Therefore, if the crack does not affect a structural element of the house, in general, keep calm. For example, that crack affects a partition wall and if you happen to break the partition wall, nothing would happen to the house because the partition wall does not intervene in the state of loads.  

Note! This does not mean that a partition wall cannot support loads. In fact, in old houses with wooden floors, the partition walls end up intervening in the state of loads over time. It is necessary to know the rules and the exceptions.  

Following this reasoning, when a crack appears in a partition wall, it is an indication that in another nearby or adjacent element things are not going well at all. An upper floor slab that buckles excessively? A settlement that affects all the walls of the house? In other words, the symptom is warning that somewhere else in the house there is some anomaly that needs to be analyzed. 

Crack affecting a structural element 

At the other extreme are cracks that arise in columns, slabs or load-bearing walls. Here it is necessary to get serious and evaluate the consistency of the walls, the time factor (if the crack has been there since time immemorial or appeared yesterday) and the geometry of the crack. A small crack of less than half a millimeter in a column is not the same as a vertical crack of 1 cm thick that leaves the reinforcement in the air.  

As we professionals from Epic company usually say from generation to generation, there are no recipes for every pathology, but there are patterns that are usually repeated. The most important thing is not to self-diagnose and to turn to professionals...because believe it or not, not infrequently the same pathology arouses a diversity of opinions among experts. To finish with this work, years ago we received through third parties the opinion of a professional who - in our opinion - to reduce his "spectrum of concern", says that when you can't put a penny in a crack, there is no need to worry.  

Epic, of course, prefer to be more categorical, and we allude again to our firewall, this time with the nuances you already know. 

When pathologies do not affect structural elements of the house, in general terms, there is no immediate concern. But you do need to evaluate what another associated element is failing you. 

At Epic Construcciones we take care of carrying out your project in the work of your dreams, we accompany clients from the conception of the first idea to the last details of its execution without any concern. We offer a personalized service for each type of work and we have the necessary resources to resolve any situation.

We coordinate and advise all types of projects and the phases that are constituted, following a well constituted process so that all the elements that are part of the creation of the work complement each other until we obtain the desired results and be able to deliver to our clients.

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More than 200 projects executed

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At Epic Construcciones, we would like to help you answer any questions that may arise, we will be happy to listen to your ideas and to hear your opinions on our work, so we can improve day by day. You can send us your requests filling out the form below or, if you prefer, you can send us an email. You can also phone us or visit our office and meet us in person.

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