cracks in ceiling when to worry
Kristina Davis

Do you know if there are cracks in ceiling when to worry? What are the signs that these cracks are dangerous?

What do normal cracks and fissures look like?

Fret not, because, in this guide, I will give you an in-depth take on what dangerous cracks look like for you to identify them early on and restrict them from totaling your property.

Cracks, crevices, and fissures along the ceiling are normal. However, if the cracks are more than 1/6 inch wide, when you see multiple cracks rooting from different angles, and when you notice water in the basement, you need to contact a professional immediately.

What Do Cracks in the Ceiling Mean?

cracks in ceiling mean

Personally, when I see wall cracks, floor cracks, and ceiling cracks, I panic. If you’re like me, then this would have alarmed you, too.

When you see cracks on your ceiling, it will only be caused by any of the following: settling process or structural damage.

What is Settling?

Settling, in the simplest and easiest terms possible, is the natural phenomenon where soil moves downward when a load is applied, increasing vertical stress.

What this does is produce a strain, resulting in cracks on the walls and ceilings.

Usually, there’s no harm if the cracks are caused by settling as this is a natural occurrence.

You won’t have to worry about it falling or demolishing on its own.

What is Structural Damage?

Structural damage, on the other hand, is identified as any damage that affects or compromises the overall integrity of your property.

A lot of things and occurrences cause it, but the most common include weather, soil movement, lack of maintenance, termite damage, and many more.

Cracks in Ceiling When to Worry? 6 Things to Look Out For

six things to look

Structural ceiling cracks when to worry? If you are a first-time house owner, then this is one of the things you will constantly be asking.

This is especially after settling in for about a year or two (that’s when cracks start appearing).

So, I put up this guide to help you identify what cracks and crevices are dangerous, separating them from those that are not.

Tip #1: Thickness of the Cracks

The first tip I can give you is in relation to the thickness of the cracks.

If you see that the cracks are larger than about 1/6 inches, you ought to have it checked by a professional.

Thick cracks often mean that there’s an external influence that caused the cracks to happen.

I remember the first time I saw thick cracks on my ceiling, they were enormous, and it was something out of the ordinary because the cracks were all over the place.

NOTE: Small ceiling cracks that are large in number can also mean that there is a structural or architectural dilemma happening.

Tip #2: Thick Spiderweb Cracks

spider web cracks

Spider web cracks are cracks that are cracks that radiate from a single crack in different directions. They’re often long and lengthy and are usually uneven.

Usually, spiderweb cracks are harmless and would require little-to-no maintenance.

The only time you need to worry about spiderweb cracks is when the cracks are thicker than 1/6 inches and if there is a multitude of cracks that run along your ceiling.

My first time seeing spider web cracks made my skin crawl – it made me panic. 

As it turns out, it’s just part of the settling process and is normal.

Tip #3: Long Cracks With Sagging 

long cracks

Another thing you need to look out for is when your ceilings have cracks, and if there’s sagging along the cracks.

This is a clear indicator that something is wrong. More often than not, what this means could be any of the following:

  • There’s leakage in the roofs
  • Constant vibrations within the area
  • Termites, pests, and white ants
  • Ceiling or structure age
Sagging is a serious concern and is something that you need to speak about with your local expert who can assess your ceiling.

There’s actually nothing you can do yourself at this point so the next best thing you want to do is to have it checked and assessed by a qualified expert.

They will surely be aware of what the next necessary steps are in resolving the sagging on your ceiling.

Tip #4: Floors and Walls

on floors and walls

You can sense danger by looking at your walls and floors, too. More often than not, cracked or bowed walls are also signs of serious ceiling crack issues.

What this simply means is that the walls have already put on a ton of weight from the ceiling and need to be reinforced.

Another thing would be sloping or uneven floors.

When you notice that your floors are sloped and uneven, then your property could be hit by a structural problem or structural damage.

Your floors will really be uneven and sloped if your house is not leveled properly. 

This is the reason why you want to double-check if your floors are uneven along with ceiling cracks and crevices.

Tip #5: Basement Water

the basement water

The next thing is water in your basement.

Now, water in your basement won’t necessarily be a problem if it is independent or is not situated inside your home.

This is because, at any given point in time, water can go inside it through a hole in the wall, the ceiling, or even the ground.

However, if your basement is just below your home, then it’s something you want to attend to as fast and as urgently as you can.

What this means is that your foundation walls have cracks in them, and you want to resolve them because they can crawl up and under the basement.

It can even possibly weaken your home’s foundation.

Tip #6: Out of Place Moldings

out place molding

Last, and most definitely not least would be moldings that are out of place or that have been naturally readjusted.

They don’t necessarily have to be bent, curved, or even morphed.

The simple way of it not being where it should be is alarming. Why? Because this implies that the movement of the structure of your home is not in sync.

One good example, taken from my experience, would be the top molding of the ceiling in my bedroom. 

The moldings there are about 2 inches from the ceiling, and then one day, it was curved at a slight angle.

I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me until I saw it move again further the following week.

When you see at least one of these, it’s safe to assume that you wouldn’t be able to resolve them on your own.

You need to contact an expert to examine it thoroughly and comprehensively and put a stop to where the dilemma started.

When Are These Cracks Safe?

are the cracks dafe

While the tips above are the ones that are unsafe, identifying the cracks that would do you no harm is actually pretty simple.

They’re so simple that I can summarize all of them briefly:

  • The cracks are thin, usually not thicker than 0.5 cm (1/6 inch)
  • They are snot protruding in different directions, usually just a single crack line
  • The cracks do not continue to the walls or the floors

Just because these cracks are safe doesn’t mean that you won’t be experiencing anything serious.

Be sure to be on the lookout for some signs that your ceilings are up to something dangerously serious.

Read Next: How to Kill a Spider on the Ceiling Easily?

The Bottom Line

In case you’re wondering what they mean (cracks in ceiling when to worry), you need to identify the cracks first.

From there, you can deduce and categorize whether these cracks are dangerous or if they’re naturally supposed to be like that.

Don’t panic – subtle and slight cracks on your ceiling are usually safe and normal!

Worry when you notice that the cracks are thick and if they are protruding to different moldings of your home.