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Cracks In Parents' Home / Get A Surveyor Or Call Insurer?

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Parents' semi detached home was built about 1920 and is made of stone - square shaped ones front and side, irregular ones with lots of render at the back. It's on a sloping plot, back of house on the higher side / land is pretty level across the two houses. When they bought it 25 years ago they had some underpinning done but now can't remember any of the details (both getting on a bit). This is in Cumbria, nowhere near any former mining and not an area considered at high risk.

Over the last 2 or 3 years a few cracks have started to appear inside, all around the end of the house furthest away from the neighbours.

So what should They do? Go straight to the insurer or get a surveyor in first in order to get clued up? I'm aware that a lot of subsidence claims get knocked back so it might be worth getting some professional advice I guess. What do surveyors charge for this kind of thing?

Ta.

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Actually, talking to Mum today they didn't have any work done but did get a surveyor in as there were some visible cracks. She thinks they still have the report and is going to try to find it but, as far as she can remember, he didn't make any wild recommendations. They just decorated. Cracks have reappeared in the last couple of years.

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I've done work on houses passed off as fine by surveyors, they are useless. They're only bothered about the value of the land.

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Is there any drainage running along the side of the house effected ?

A 1920`s house will probably have very little in the way of footings so a broken/leaking drainage pipe can cause a lot of problems

But the same could be said about a long dry spell,this could also cause cracks to open up that were stable for many years

I could be worth just monitoring them for a few months with one of these http://www.surveyorsequipment.co.uk/shop/measuring/crack_monitoring_tell_tales/crack_monitoring_tell_tale_plus.php

it may be the old crack just showing up again due to normal expansion/contraction of the ground due to dry/wet weather (ground may have been a dryer/wetter than its been for along time)

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Are there any cracks/visible movement in the stonework/mortar visible from the outside?

What are the interior walls covered with, original plaster or modern plasterboard? modern plasterboard is very stiff and cracks easily under load, old houses can 'move' a bit without having any structural issues. Depends how big the cracks are, and if they get worse.

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You can see cracks through the pointing outside. Inside is the original plaster I guess. Yes they've grown slightly in the last 2 years or so, perhaps 2 to 3mm wide at the worst points.

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Why not put blu-tack in it! I'm hoping not to find much crack at my dad's house, but he is a naughty man!

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Ah MrPin to the rescue. Are you available for the next 25 years to stand outside and push the two corners of the house back together?

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