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Walls Look Like Porcelain with Cracks

Discussion in 'Plastering and Rendering' started by WoOt, 16 Oct 2020.

  1. WoOt

    WoOt

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    Just moved in to a new house and within 3 weeks of moving in, I've noticed that most walls look like that porcelain with cracks in it. It wasn't immediately obvious, but the more we live in it, the more obvious it is becoming. Some walls have it really badly too. I initially got quite worried about this and checked all the exterior walls, which are brick, but they seem absolutely fine.

    The house was built in the 1950's or 60's. I doubt it's had any major work done to it since then and it's certainly not been plastered recently.

    Any ideas as to what is causing this? Will skimming over it solve the problem, or will this just return?

    For scale, the image below is approx. 1200mm by 700mm of wall. Interestingly, I tapped the walls all over and none of the plaster seems to be blown.
    IMG_20201016_135508.jpg
     
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  3. JohnD

    JohnD

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    Stand back and take a pic of the whole wall please.

    include something in the pic to show scale.
     
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  4. WoOt

    WoOt

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    Different wall, as it's very difficult to take a decent picture. I tried editing it a bit, but you might need to zoom/look very closely. None of the cracks are very large, the problem is they are everywhere. Almost every single wall seems to have them to some degree, with the internal walls being a little worse.
    IMG_20201017_102439.jpg

    A more detailed picture:
    IMG_20201017_103133.jpg
     
    Last edited: 17 Oct 2020
  5. JohnD

    JohnD

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    built in 1950s or 60's suggests the walls will be built in brick or block. They aren't hollow plasterboard, are they?

    I don't thnk I can see a pattern of blockwork joints in your cracks.

    Have you drilled any holes? What colour is the dust?

    have there been structural alterations, such as knocking down or adding walls, loft conversion, chimney removal?
     
  6. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    Plasterboard would show the straight lines of the edges of the plasterboard. Nor are the lines following any brick or block joints.

    Might it simply be due to the house having central heating fitted and the humidity is much lower than previously?

    I would be inclined to decorate next time with lining paper and paint over that to hide the cracks.
     
  7. WoOt

    WoOt

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    The external walls are brick, I've not drilled through in to the wall yet, but similar internal walls are built from concrete blocks.

    Neither can I, but I'm no expert.

    Not yet, will do that later today.

    As far as I can tell there have been no changes to the house since it was built, but we only moved in about 3 weeks ago.
     
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  9. WoOt

    WoOt

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    I really dislike lining paper, but I've spent the last 3 days opening up every single crack in the smallest room in the house with a triangular tool, rubbing some PVA in there and filling it with fine filler and I can't see myself doing that in every room in the house. :(

    Note, this is a picture where I have opened up the cracks. These were not the original cracks, they were far thinner.
    IMG_20201011_120639.jpg
     
  10. JohnD

    JohnD

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    I think paper may be your best bet.

    I'm wondering if the walls have been thinly reskimmed and there was shrinkage, but I don't recognise the pattern you have.
     
  11. NickB_99

    NickB_99

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    Had a bit similar in our dining room. Think it was still the original plaster from the house built in 70s. quite a few thin cracks like that. Plaster still sounded ok when tapped.
    I scrimmed over most of them (Certainly the bigger ones) and reskimmed. Sorted some but a lot have come back still.
    it may be lining paper is your best option, rather than a big job to hack off and start again.
     
  12. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    I didn't like the idea of lining paper and my walls were generally crack free, but once on and painted, the lining paper is all but invisible. It is a very cheap, quick solution for your cracks.
     
  13. WoOt

    WoOt

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    Thanks for all the advice. I've finished filling the cracks I opened in the smallest bedroom. Will give it a couple of weeks to see if any cracks re-appear. If not, I might bite the bullet and do some of the other rooms too. It they do re-appear, I guess lining paper will be my only option.

    Already glad to hear that nobody thinks it's a major structural issue!
     
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