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Why Are There Cracks Around My Windows and Doors?

Wall Cracks
Cracks in your walls can be normal, albeit annoying. You want your house to look good, and the last thing you need is a bunch of cracks making your house look like it's ready to keel over.

These cracks have a few possible causes, and the cause is often linked to the location of the cracks or the direction the cracks run in. Sometimes you just have to live with and fix these cracks over time, but other cracks are signs you need professionals to evaluate what's really going on with your house.

Cracks in the Trim

Cracks that are in only the trim around your doors and windows are often from humidity causing material, especially wood, to swell and contract. If that happens enough, the trim can crack near its edge and create a gap. These cracks are merely cosmetic, but you'll want to fill them to keep the house looking good.

If the cracks are inside, regulate your home's humidity, especially in dry winter months and very humid summer months, to slow or stop those gaps from forming. If the cracks are outside, though, you may just have to inspect the trim around your doors and windows periodically and fill cracks as you find them.

Cracks in the Walls

It's a different story if the cracks are in the walls by the doors and windows, and not just in the trim. Those types of cracks indicate some sort of shift in the house itself. The danger with shifting is that you don't know how bad the situation is unless a foundation company checks out the damage.

Sometimes a small crack in a wall is just in the top drywall layer - a cosmetic issue. But that small crack that you see could be hiding a larger, more severe crack underneath. In other words, the crack has been growing for a while, and the drywall was the last part of the wall to split.

Diagonal cracks, especially if they are large and in foundation walls, are a sign that your house needs attention quickly. These can stem from foundation problems that have led to the house shifting.

This shifting is different from house settling. When your house settles, it compresses the soil underneath in tiny increments. Stable foundations technically shouldn't settle because the soil is supposed to be prepared well, but minor settling can still happen. Settling can lead to small cracks around the doors and windows, as well as windows and doors becoming tough to open or close, a.k.a. sticking.

But other soil phenomena can lead to foundation and house shifting, and those can really do some damage. Southeast Texas is not immune to freezes and even snow, and that means the soil can freeze, resulting in frost heave. That's when the ice forming in the soil expands and pushes up the foundation of the house. Your foundation needs to extend below the frost line, and that's something a foundation repair company can handle. 

Another soil issue in Southeast Texas is the expansion and contraction of clay soils. True to Gulf Coast Texas weather, the region can have droughts and deluges at any time of the year. Moisture makes clay soils expand greatly; drought makes them dry up and crack. In both cases, the result is a foundation shifting as the soils move.

When you see cracks around your doors and windows that don't appear to be in the trim only, it's time to call the experts at Bonilla Foundation Repair. Let us inspect your home so that we can catch any forming foundation problems before they get worse.