building valuations

My Building has got cracks in it


Cracks In My Wall


Independent Surveyors

If you have any problems in relation to cracking please phone us on free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat.

We are experienced, professional independent building Surveyors who are knowledgeable in carrying out structural surveys on all types, styles and eras of buildings. If you are moving house or having any property issues then an independent Surveyor can help provide a comprehensive survey report on a building whether that be residential or commercial.

Free phone 0800 298 5424

What do the circles and ovals mean in our building surveys on our photos and sketches?

In our building surveys and structural surveys the circles and ovals are a scheme that we use to highlight property problem areas so that you are not left wondering what the property problem is. In addition to this if the survey photographs do not we believe explain the property problem enough together with our survey report we also add in one of our own survey sketches like this one shown to the right.



Cracks in plaster

Our Executive Summaries make things simple




Our Good, Bad & Ugly Surveys!

Furthermore we would also like to introduce to you what we call our Good, Bad and Ugly survey which is a building survey, sometimes known as a structural survey, and is something that we have developed over many years, in fact several decades. We have listened to feedback from our clients and amended and altered our surveys to make them easy to read and describe issues clearly. The key factor we believe is that our surveys are easy to understand in plain English.


Problems with cracking in properties

We thought an example of a problem that we have come across would be a good way of showing you what we do as independent Surveyors and what cracks can mean.


Structural cracks overview

The property is a 1920's built semi-detached property. Its construction is:

A pitched roof clad with a concrete tile

The walls have a painted render finish

The windows are plastic double glazed

Fascias and soffits boards are painted timber

Gutters and downpipes are cast iron and plastic


Blown or hollow render

Cracking problem

Recently whilst carrying out gardening work the householder noted that there was cracking in the property, which they had not seen before. Concerned about this, they therefore called us to give an independent assessment. We pride ourselves on our professional standard and easy to read reports which we have been carrying out for many years on every age, type and style of property across the UK. As independent Surveyors we are working for you with your interests at heart and will give precise and informative information regarding your property issue.


Inspection of the cracks

Initially we carried out an external examination of the cracks, photographing the cracks and recording their position and sketching them. Whilst we were carrying out all this surveying work we were thinking about what the property problem could be. We carried out the same exercise internally and noted that the cracks were predominantly around the windows. The cracks ranged from hairline cracks to cracks of a few millimetres wide. The action required is that we would recommend anyone with an older property to think carefully before having plastic windows installed.

Cracking to render


Cracking to wall around window


Question and answer session with the homeowner

We then had a general chat with the homeowner and a specific one about the cracks and about the history of the property. This, combined with our general knowledge of 1920's properties, brought us to a conclusion, but before we give you that let us explain a bit more about the thought process.



The thought process behind the survey conclusion

1920's buildings or around the war year buildings had many characteristics, one of which is that there was a limited supply of tradesmen at the time and that materials were rationed. Defects in both are common and often houses were built in, what we would term as, a lightweight style, utilising the minimums due to the rationing that existed. Since that time there have also been major alterations and additions in most houses, the first relating to how the property is heated. Originally in years gone by the heating would have been via coal fires so there were coal store houses, and also over the years central heating has been added to properties, which had meant that floorboards have needed to be lifted and cut into to run the pipes, etc. This means that construction that was already lightweight may in addition have been cut into, causing further problems.





Also at the time the properties were constructed it was not standard to treat all timbers, accordingly woodworm is more prevalent in this age of construction.


Characteristics of older properties

There are many other, what we would term as, characteristics of this age of construction that we could mention but we hope these examples give you an indication of the type of things that surveyors look for. However, in this instance due to the way the cracking was being formed pointed to there being problems around the windows. This was confirmed when we did what we refer to as a property timeline.


Property Timeline explained

The timeline that we carry out, as independent Surveyors when we look for that specific defect is a history of as many alterations and amendments as the householder can advise us of. We then also add into the items that we have noted that may be the householder is not aware of or has forgotten about or that happened before they came to the property. This builds up a picture and a history of the property construction, so in this case we were very pleased when the householder advised that they had had the windows replaced about a year ago.


Plastic double glazed replacement windows

The original timber windows had been replaced with plastic double glazed windows and whilst this had benefits on the thermal properties and acoustics, (as they had some noise issues too), they certainly did not help the structure. This is because the properties original timber windows (as we did check they were timber windows previously) also had structural properties, which meant in part they supported the structure. They were also flexible and moved with the structure as it moved throughout the year, because all properties of this age have some element of movement.
These two factors meant that the building adjusted over the different seasons and therefore the cracking didn't occur. With the new plastic windows that are much more rigid the wall and the render couldn't move as much and therefore cracked and this is the hairline cracking that the owners was getting concerned about. In this case it was just surface cracking.

Casement windows


Action required with the property issue

We would recommend that the surface cracks are sealed with a filler that allows for movement (a hard filler would simply fall out sooner or later) and then redecorate. We also recommend that one of the cracks is opened up and the render hacked off, just to check that it doesn't carry on through the brickwork beneath.



Please see our other surveying articles on cracking:


Cracks to my Plaster

How, in our experience, Insurance Companies deal with Cracks in Properties


Foundations and Underpinning

Please see our section on: Specific Defects Reports


Meet our building surveyor at the property

We recommend that should you decide to have a building survey with us you meet our qualified independent building surveyor at the property during the survey to discuss further any issues such as cracking that you have. This also gives us the opportunity to show you what we have found. Please free phone us on 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with one of our surveyors.


Examples of our building surveys

You may like to see some examples of Building Surveys we have carried out. You will see that our surveys contain photos, sketches and definitions that help to explain the specific problems that we find within the property. There is also an Executive Summary at the start of the survey report that highlights the main issues that we find with the property. Please call us and we can email you some of these examples.


Surveying articles

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).


All rights reserved by

All rights are reserved the contents of the website is not to be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or part without the express written permission of


building engineers



Home Buyers Reports Property Surveys - why we're the best. Engineers Reports
© Copyright
Site Map

1stassociated-logo-for-footer IVSA-badge IVSA-putting-client-first call-us-for-footer

We have thousands of free property articles to help you - or call us freephone on 0800 298 5424

We have been working in the property industry for many years and have been
providing free property articles for over ten years. All for free and to help you with buying your next property.

House and Home Surveys and Useful Information

All you need to know about Building Surveys

Building Control, what do they do?

Designers and Architects will they save me money or will they cost me money

Enviroment, Your Building and Garden Gnomes

Estate Agents help sell houses and work for the vendors

Have a Structural Survey to protect you against structural problems

Home improvements, builder problems and ideas for you on how to solve them

How a Surveyor values a property, Chartered Surveyors and Regulated Valuers

How Chartered Engineers and Building Engineers can help you

Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

NHBC National House Building Council

Structural Surveys and How We Can Help You

Traditional and Non-Traditional Houses and Mortgage Problems

Valuations and how much is the building worth?

Whats the difference between a Chartered Building Surveyor, Chartered Surveyor and an Independent Surveyor

Useful property problem articles by Chartered Surveyors explaining building issues to avoid

External - Helpful information on building problems on the outside of the property

Chimney issues and problems

Cracking and Movement Problems and Surveying Solutions

Flat Roof Problems, how we can solve them

Foundations and Structures and Settlement and Subsidence and Underpinning

Pitched Roofs Problems and Solutions

Roof Problems

Wall Problems

Windows and Doors and Fascias and Soffits and Wet Rot and Dry Rot and other problems

Internal - House problems we have investigated inside

All you ever need to know about floors

Asbestos in your home, what you need to know

Ceiling Cracks and Structural Problems

Condensation, Damp and Black Mould Problems

Cracking and Movement Problems and Surveying Solutions

Windows and Doors and Fascias and Soffits and Wet Rot and Dry Rot and other problems

Woodworm is it a problem or not? Is it active or not?

Services - Building help and advice on costly services

Drainage, what's underground can affect what's above ground

Heating; I just can't get my house warm enough or alternatively I just can't get my house cool enough

You can't mess around with the electric, you need an expert


Commercial Property Services

Building Terms Explained and Directories

Commercial Property Surveys

Commercial Structural Surveys

Leisure Facilites

Offices Large and Small

Shops and Retail

Warehouse and Industrial Buildings

Dilapidations Help and Advice What is a Dilapidations Notice?

A Beginner's Guide to Dilaps

Damp Mould and Condensation

Dampness Rising Damp Mould Black Mould Condensation

Dilapidations and Negotiations

Dilapidations Claim by a Landlord

Energy Saving what can I do?

Finance what is a Financial Adviser (We are not Financial Advisors)

Fire Risk and Help

Health and Safety Risks

Insurance how do I get the correct property insurance?

Landlords Surveying Advice

Property Investment how can I invest in property?

Property TV Reviews by an Independent Surveyor

Schedules of Condition Leasing a Commercial Property

Scotts Schedule and Section 18 Valuation

Tenants Surveying Advice

Weather how does weather affect my property?



Snow and Ice

Strong Winds

Reviews from clients on Commercial Building Surveys

Churches and Charities, helpful reviews from our clients

Industrial Buildings and Warehouses and what our clients say about us

Offices Large and Small, reviews and feedback from our clients

Pubs, Restaurants, Hotels and other Leisure facilities we have surveyed over the years

Shops and Retail, helpful reviews from our clients


First Time Buyers

Buying a Leasehold or Shared Freehold Home

Buying and Selling Houses for the experienced house and home purchaser

First Time Buyers how do I go about buying my first house and home?

Improve your property knowledge with our presentations on house, homes and commercial property

Building Surveys

Building Surveying Useful Information


Dilapidations Presentations in Detail

Final Year Building Surveying Exams for University Students or those that would like to know more

How old is your Building? Which era was it built in?

Party Walls

Surveyors and Design Tools

Disputes and Party Walls

Boundary Disputes

Building and Property Disputes

Party Wall Book Reviews

Party Walls Your Rights and Responsibilities

1stAssociated Surveyors Review for Structural Surveys and Building Surveys

Building Surveys, reviews and feedback from satisfied customers

Buy to let property clients, what they say about our structural surveys

Buying at auction, review of the survey

Buying bungalows and retirement properties and how our surveyors can help

Both at work / busy couples, how we can help and some 1stAssociated client reviews

Families with a young person flying the nest, reviews and feedback

First Time Buyers, what they say about us

Listed buildings, structural surveys

Older buildings, a review of buying an older house

Families with children looking for a new home, feedback and reviews

Buying a Non-Traditional Property

Residential Surveys

House and Home Surveys

Commercial Building Surveys

Commercial Surveys

1st Associated Surveyors Are Also Available in the Following Areas:

East Anglia and East

South and South East

West Country and South West


North and North East



London Markets

London Parks



Areas of Britain

1stAssociated Independent Expert Property Surveyors

Specialists in Home Buyers Reports, Building Surveys and Structural Surveys and Schedules of Condition

All Surveyors are Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors qualified and RICS regulated

and are Members of the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association

Putting the Client First

We do not accept service of documents by email or fax