Cracks in structure

We are looking to buy a 1940s house - appears very solid inside but there is evidence of crack full length of house at outside and odd one inside. question is : is it normal for houses so old to show cracks and does it mean anything or could they be there for years and still remain solid?

Nothing to worry about.

As somebody who isn’t a surveyor and hasn’t seen the property I would definately say its subsidence.

On a more serious note - hire an insured professional rather than generalising. There are no firm rules as to what age a house would have to be befre cracks could appear.

I’d suggest buying the house and if it crumbles then you can mention how someone on a message board who hadn’t seen the house had said it’d be fine and to plough ahead.
This should get you out of repaying the mortgage and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Of course… if you are one of those people, then you’d prob go away and get an engineer (or someone else who would be qualified to make an assessment)…
You know the sort… the kind who go to doctors for advice on medical conditions instead of getting it for nadda on web.


If you are thinking of buying at the moment then you need to question your sanity… not the the condition of the house.
If the house has problems of a structural nature that you are worried about then I think you already know what you should do.

Cracks in head.

As an engineer I’d say a crack the full length of the house is worrying. Get a surveyor.

Cracks have a variety of causes and not all are serious. A crack can also be evidence of past movement that has ceased. A full length crack certainly sounds worthy of investigation.

Has the main crack been filled in any way? If so, try to establish when and see if there’s evidence of subsequent widening (loose filler) that might be a sign of active settlement.

Do any of the cracks pass through the structure so as to be detectable on the inside as well as outside? Such cracks are more serious than cracks that are only detectable on one surface.

Are the cracks vertical, diagonal or horizontal?

You need to have an engineer or surveyor have a look at the property to be sure.

Why buy a cracked rickety old house when there’s a wealth of better built Irish concrete homes to choose from, with a 10 year homebond! Don’t leave it to chance, buy a CIF house today!

Aside from all the other good comments, what’s the surface of the outside? Is it brick or render? Is there any evidence of water damage? Does the inside crack appear to follow plasterwork joins?

Steer well clear of it; it will only bring you grief!
I used to own a 1st floor flat in London which came with its own (ground level) garage. The garage had a ceiling-to-floor crack in one wall which didn’t bother me at the time I bought the property, as I was given engineers’ reports by the management company declaring the structure safe and free from subsidence (I also didn’t have a car at the time, so wasn’t worried about waking up to find it buried under a ton of rubble…).
However, when I subsequently went to sell the property a couple of years later, a different engineer (investigating on behalf of a prospective buyer) claimed that it was indeed caused by subsidence and not currently fit for sale. I then had to threaten the management company with legal action before it would agree to pay for works to make the structure sound, and I had to wait months for the works to be over before I could finally sell the flat and get the f*** out of there.
The moral of the story? Subsidence is in the eye of the beholder.