Kgomotso has a question about cracks in his walls:
Q: I have just read your article about cracks in walls and would like some advice. I have purchased a property in Krugersdorp, a relatively old house. I have noticed some cracks and a slight bulging outwards of a portion of one of the bedroom walls. Unfortunately it is an exclusion from my insurance policy. I have requested the assistance of an engineering company, which is costly. What could be the cause of these cracks and how can I best remedy them?
A: I am based in Cape Town and it is difficult to comment without seeing the problem, if you can send photographs I can maybe comment further. (I am happy to do this for any readers outside the Cape Town area).
However, I would strongly recommend that you do employ the services of a structural engineer, because if something more than a minor repair is required you need to know that the repair method has been designed and approved by a professional.
Many contractors think that they know how to repair structural damage or underpin a building and many do, but at the end of the day you need to be 100% certain that the correct work is undertaken for the correct reasons.
Krugersdorp is also a mining area, which means there tends to be a fair amount of underground movement. Again, you really need someone who is an expert in that area who can give you sound advice based on the ground conditions and what might cause changes and cracks.
The laws surrounding the sale and purchase of properties are getting stricter all the time and I cannot wait for the day when the sale of any property will go through only when every aspect of the property has been signed off by a recognised competent person.
You will then know if you are inheriting someone else’s problems. At the moment it is far too easy for a seller to get away with selling a house with defects.
If you have a question for Don, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or SMS only to 0824463859.