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Tip of the week: Keep a sharp eye on cracks in the wall

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Tip of the week: Keep a sharp eye on cracks in the wall

I am getting more and more requests to visit people to look at cracks in their homes. After checking with a few engineers, I realised there is an upsurge in this occurrence and, with the odd exception, has something to do with the drought.

As the ground dries out, support under your foundations is less. Most insurance policies don’t cover this. I popped in to see Pat last week, who had no cracking until she was  woken in the middle of the night, to see a crack across her ceiling and down the wall.

Another longtime reader of the column Angela has also noticed the cracks in her home are getting worse. The chances of your home collapsing around your ears are slight, so don’t panic and it might well be when the rains do come some cracks might disappear.

It is important to monitor cracking. The easiest way is to draw a line across the crack with a pen and see if the line edges adjacent to the crack move apart. This will show vertical movement only. A better test is to glue a small piece of 3mm glass across the crack, obviously glued either side. If the glass cracks, the wall is moving. I recommend monitoring cracks until the weather changes. If there is no improvement or they get worse, contact an engineer. I can supply names.

Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to don@macalister.co.za or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB: facebook.com/thehandymac
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