Do you feel annoying when you take your new home key and found there are wall crack line? The homeowner may feel unsafe on the crack line and worry of the structure stability. This scenario is happen to the recent issue of hairline cracks found on the walls of new Punggol flats.
This issues common and yet do not make know to a lot of owner, unless there are many same incident happen to the project and issues being in attention on media. Let’s discuss about the issue of hairline crack on how is occurred and it is dangerous and the remedial steps.
Determine the type of Hairline crack
No one like the hairline crack on the new wall, if this is a new plaster wall, the hairline crack appeared due to non-structure crack or structure crack. Therefore, it is important to establish the type of hairline crack whether is appeared randomly on the surface of plastered wall, or it is along the structure column or beam.
If it is happen on the structure line, the crack line is usually more than 3 mm thk to a serious case can be up to 20 mm, and it will travel and crack through up to structure slab. The initial action if suspected the crack line is on structure members, this will required to determine the crack is on static or on dynamic movement so that remedial action can be determined. If it is minor, structure repair grouting can be done by exposing the structure members, treat the reinforcement bars and reinforced it if necessary before pressure cement grouting to be take placed. However, additional investigation is required to confirm the structure is constructed based on design, is there a damaged on the structure, the design is sufficient or it is due to workmanship.
The non-structure crack is commonly caused by shrinkage of wall plaster cement, expansion of contraction of the building material, movement and vibration due to renovation or construction activity. A major excavation or piling work happen on vicinity of the building, it also may cause excessive movement to the structure and non-structure hairline crack will appear to the wall surface. The last but not least will be the workmanship when perform the wall plastering, as the surface preparation need to be clean and free of dusty, the surface need to wet to prevent excessive absorption of water on the wall plaster cement, when shrinkage will happen.
The other cases of the hairline can be occurred when the are differentiation of temperature over a period, hot and cold temperature from outside the building and inside the room in air-conditioning, the cement plaster may shrinkage too, but just a hairline crack less than 2 mm and may in random pattern.
Who to Repair ?
When rule out there is no structure integrity issue, the remedial work of the hairline crack can then established and determine who is responsible for the making good.
If the house is still fall under defect liability period, the developer is responsible for the making good. If your house is being renovated, you may request your contractor to responsible provided the wall is being hack and reinstate or new plastering before. In some cases, new and old wall or hacking opening of existing wall, the hairline crack is likely to be happen despite good construction practice and is out control by the builder too.
Therefore, in the first place, the homeowner should not rush for repair the crack line immediate. Let the structure and movement settle and confirm the likely root cause, the hairline crack can then decide to localise grouting, patch or putty the wall and finish with new coat of painting. If the hairline crack is less than 0.05 mm, some paint can even cover up the crack line without apply the putty.
Talk to your developer or your builder to resolve the issue if uncommon hairline crack is appeared to ensure proper steps are taking place to allow a safe and peace mind to stay in.