Causes of Cracks in the Plaster Along Exterior Walls of the Home


There are numerous reasons why the plaster along the exterior walls of your home will crack making the interior walls look very unsightly. It is important to determine the cause of any cracks you find so that you can repair them effectively. Some of the most important causes of these cracks are listed below.
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1. Structural Cracks

Structural cracks, as the name implies, are caused by structural weaknesses in a building which are worn further by certain conditions, such as the bathroom shower. A steam shower or steam bath enclosure should be properly fortified with tiling.

The most important structural cracks include:

o Settlement resulting from inadequate or improperly located footings, the use of undersized or improperly spaced members, omission of bracing, or shrinkage of lumber
o These cracks are usually large and well defined, extending across the surface and through the plaster
o They may start near the corner of a door or window, or run up and down the corner where two walls join, or along the joints between walls and ceiling

2. Map and Shrinkage Cracks

Inferior workmanship and the use of poor quality of plastering materials are the main causes of what are known as “map cracks and “shrinkage cracks;” that is, shrinkage in the plaster itself. There are ways to distinguish between these two types of plaster cracks:

o Map cracks are usually caused by improper bonding between the plaster and the base
o They are less noticeable than structural cracks and go through the plaster, but do not extend entirely across the surface, as do the latter
o They are made up of a series of cracks running at various angles and embracing areas usually 6 inches or more across
o Shrinkage cracks, on the other hand resemble map cracks, except that the cracks themselves and the areas they enclose are much smaller
o They differ from the map cracks inasmuch as they do not go entirely through the plaster and are usually confined to the finish coat

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