Cracks in 1940's Ex-council house

Discussion in 'Building' started by AlwaysWorrying, 31 Mar 2021.

  1. AlwaysWorrying

    AlwaysWorrying

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    Hi!

    I purchased this 1940's ex-council house a few years ago with the intention of bringing the 1960s/70's decor up to date. Since I've moved in I've become more and more concerned with cracks appearing in the walls and ceilings.

    To cut a long story short, in the summer of 2018 (i believe with the very dry spell?) i had the insurance company do a survey on the building as some 5+mm cracks appeared in one of the doorways and up the stairs. These have since closed back up. The survey read that it was normal of a building of this age, that the different materials used in the building construction expand and contract at different rates, that the door frames & windows are quite plumb. The course of action stated was to redecorate the house basically. There is wallpaper/artex that seems to have curled/folded up a bit and im guessing this has been movement over many years?

    My question is, do the attached pictures look like any cause for concern to you? I have had the living room, bathroom and kitchen plastered and all have at least one crack. They seem to appear in summer and then almost disappear in the winter. Speaking to my neighbours, one chap waters the foundation of his house to stop the clay from shrinking and cracking the walls? Mine just appears to be worse than the other houses i've seen on the street, although some exhibit external cracks between windows and door frames.

    Does this look right for an old council house built on clay foundations? Am I loosing sleep over nothing and should I just continue to do up the house and patch in/paint the cracks when I come to sell the property or should I call the insurance company and state that the house is clearly moving and that something should be done about it?

    Thanks 20210331_132548.jpg 20210331_132557.jpg 20210331_132604.jpg 20210331_132651.jpg 20210331_132700.jpg 20210331_132712.jpg 20210331_132743.jpg 20210331_132837.jpg 20210331_133135.jpg 20210331_133616.jpg
     
  2. KenGMac

    KenGMac

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    AlwaysWorrying, good evening.

    From your description of the movement and the report from insurers all point to Thermal and Moisture movement of shrinkable clay and the material used in construction, even a very, very small degree of movement of either of the above could conceivably cause your issues.

    Did insurer undertake any " Monitoring " of any sort? crack monitors using stick on pins? or a Level monitoring exercise?

    Are there any significant cracks on external walls?

    Ken.
     
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  4. AlwaysWorrying

    AlwaysWorrying

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    Hi Ken

    Insurers didn't monitor the cracks with any sticks etc. They just said to contact them if it got noticeably worse. It hasn't got any worse but it does seem to move back and forth depending on what season we are in.

    It's difficult to assess the exterior of the house as it is covered in a textured finish (terylene i think it's called?). There are two cracks, which do not seem to be that significant and do not seem to line up with internal wall cracks but they do seem to open up a bit during the hotter summer months. There is evidence of historic cracks that have been repaired in the past.
     
  5. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    The biggest concern is that the textured coating may well have some asbestos content. Has it been tested?

    The cracks do seem 'normal' and the insurers assessment correct.
     
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