Cracked I need to call insurer? Advice Please!!!

1 Feb 2008
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United Kingdom

I live in a late 1980s detatched house. Cavity walls, external wall is rendered concrete block, and internal wall is thermalite block contruction.

I painted the house about three years ago, and noticed a hairline crack on the external wall. Just dug it out and filled it, and it seemed all was good. There was no evidence of internal cracking.

Now, over the last three or four months, the external crack has reaperead, and the render has blown from the wall in places - although I put this down to ingress of moisture, and then freezing in the cold weather recently.

the crack is about 2 meters long, and runs in a diagonal.

Over the weekend, I noticed a slight crack in the wallpaper of the coresponding internal wall (first floor), so pulled the wallpaper back to reveal a large (well, large to me) crack running from beneath the window cill, behind the rad and to the floor. Mainly vertical. The crack does not appear in the room below.


The external image doesn't show the crack that well, but it runs from the right hand end of the top window cill to the left hand end of the lintel above the bottom window.

For reference, no recent (in the last 10 to 15 years) building work has been carried out.

Do I need to worry about these...should I call the insurance company?

If I needn't bother the insurers, what remedial action should I take?

Oh, and please no comments about the bad taste woodchip wall paper and dodgy curtains...these were a legacy from the last owner.

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What you have there is an in-between. It' not quite serious but it's not nice either. (As a rule of thumb, insurers don't normally consider cracks less than about 5mm as at all serious) It might be wise to check your policy and see if there is an obligation to inform them about things like this. I don't think they'll immediately rush around with a surveyor but at least you've given them the opportunity so that if it does develop into something more serious they can't say you should have informed us.

The first thing that needs to be established is if the crack is active. The fancy method is to fix tale-tales to the wall, either side of the crack, and monitor over a period of, say, 6 or 12 months. The simple way is to draw a number of pencil lines across it and measure the size at the pencil marks - or you could photograph a ruler across it. Mark the pencil lines A, B, C etc. for reference.

What you do depends whether it's still moving or not? In between time you could check your drains, the land around the house for any dipping or sliding. Also check neighbouring houses - not just next door but around the corner as well. If it's a design fault it may show up in a house in the next street.
Can't quite tell, could just be the photo, but in the second pic, does the lintel look slightly bowed?
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first thing i noticed! further investigation required methinks.
Just checked the lintel....dodgy camera's straighter than Jeremy Clarkson.

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