Cracks Above Door Jambs

I purchased a townhouse that was built in 1979. It is three levels. On the top level is the master bathroom that has diagonal cracks emanating from the door frame. Also, the door is not plumb and neither is the door to the bedroom. The floor on this level slopes to the master bathroom. This is most noticeable right around the bathroom and not as noticeable the further away.

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I repaired the crack on the outside of the door (bedroom side) and in over a year it has not returned (nylon tape and mud for the repair). On the inside of the door (bathroom side) I put a mark on the wall. The crack grew in length at a rate of about 1/2 inch in six months.

My question is, should I be freaked out enough to call a contractor/engineer to determine if there is a structural issue that would compromise the soundness or safety of the house? The basement/foundation has no cracks (two stories down).

The load bearing wall under the floor joists in question does not sag or otherwise appear to have any problems with it visually. Could this be just a sagging floor joist that happened when the house settled or something more ominous? I wanted to remodel the master bathroom, but am concerned about what I might find should I do this.

By VAragtop from Vienna, VA

Answers

July 27, 20100 found this helpful

It is better to contact a reputable contractor to look at this than to lay awake nights waiting for the whole house to collapse! I would only trust the opinion of a professional in this case--one recommended by friends who've personally used him/her. Don't wait too long, do it now. Good luck.

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July 20, 2010 Flag
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What do cracks in the wall over door jambs or on walls mean?

Linda from PA

Answers:

Cracks Above Door Jambs

The house could be settling if it is an older home. It could have been shoddy construction if it is a newer home. You don't say where you live. If the climate is really dry like the desert, the wood could be shrinking. If you live in an earthquake area it could have quake damage. If the damage is only above the doors I'd be inclined to think it was bad construction to begin with. You should check your foundation and around the windows and under the eaves of the house.

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Hope it's not too bad. Good luck. (09/19/2006)

By Carla

Cracks Above Door Jambs

I would get ahold of a good, honest contractor and have him/her check out your house. Don't try to guess at this. It could be something small, but on the other hand, it could be something big and dangerous. My house (northern WI) is way over 100 years old and I haven't seen the cracks like you have. I still have a very small amount of settling, but that's normal around here. I wish you the best of luck! (09/19/2006)

By MamaJude

Cracks Above Door Jambs

The dry year probably is the culprit here in Oklahoma. If you heard "pops" and such, late in the evening, it's the house cooling off and settling. I learned to water the yard around the house when it's really dry. In fact, I have a in ground sprinkler system on a timer for the front and the "pops" came from the back of the house. Hello! Watering the back stopped the "pops".


Oh, my older house, the noise was from drywall nails popping out of the ceiling joists. That house had a bad leak in the bathroom and kitchen, hidden for way too long. So it can be lots of reasons.
Good luck. (09/22/2006)

By 2oma

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