Structural Cracking

 

I am often asked to survey houses within the area that have developed some form of cracking within the walls. Naturally most people jump to the conclusion that their property is falling down and turn to their insurer for compensation which is usually met by a brush off. It is normally then I am contacted to give my opinion, recommendations and a report.

Mainly due to Spanish constructional methods together with the summer heat there is probably no house in the Costa Blanca without some form of minor cracking. This being said there is also a large number of houses with more serious cracking and I thought it would be useful to outline the various types of cracks found and their cause.

Horizontal Cracking

These are usually found above window openings and can travel all around the building. This cracking is caused by differential thermal movement between the reinforced concrete lateral ‘U’ beam in the wall and the block work. Generally these are of little consequence and no action needs to be taken.

Vertical Cracking

These are usually found on long expanses of walling and caused by thermal expansion and contraction of the wall. A long wall will expand during the summer months and contract in the winter months, the cracking is the walls way of telling you that there should have been some expansion joints introduced during construction. Again if the cracking is minor no action needs to be taken however if the cracks opens up to more than 1mm. there may be a more sinister reason and the problem needs to be investigated.

Diagonal Cracking

If you see diagonal cracking in the walls of your property this usually indicates that you have subsidence and the property may need underpinning. Subsidence is normally the result of foundation failure or a poor ground bearing strata below the foundations. The ground bearing strata is the ground on which the foundations are sat. To the untrained eye the ground may have looked quite natural when excavated but possibly due to its shallow depth, poor consistency or high water table may now be compacting due to the weight of the building above. This type of cracking is quite common in Spanish property mainly due to human error and lack of building knowledge (after all we can not blame coal mining). If you have this type of cracking in your property my advice is to take action immediately, have the property surveyed by a professional and once remedial works are identified have this carried out by a professional builder.

John Phillips (F.I.A.S. F.A.B.E. M.I.B.C.O. F.F.B. M.R.S.H. C.M.W.O.B.O. M.B.I.M)
Construction Buena Vista

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Urb. Palmeria. Orba 03790

 

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Buena Vista Villas s.l.

Urb. Palmeria. Orba 03790

 

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0034 965 577 464 (office)

 

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