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Plaster cracking in traditional buildings is very common. They can be a sign of plaster damage, and can show structural weakness, which can lead to further problems that cannot be fixed. However, plaster cracking can add to the history and heritage of a structure, which historians favor! Here at JC Plastering and Lime, we always want to maintain the best possible retention when it comes to our plastering services, which is why we use the best resources, and have a bucket load of experience!

Traditionally, cracking tends to happen in older buildings, and there are several reasons why it can happen, whether this be due to thermal movements or moisture build up. The main reasons for cracking are listed below.

  1. Shrinkage of plastering – this describes the conditions where the moisture levels in the walls or ceilings drastically drop in a short period of time, this can also be known as dehumidification and can cause the walls to crack.
  2. Structural cracking – these are caused by the foundation movements, shrinkages of bricks, moisture expansion in the building itself, etc. These cracks tend to be in the form of straight lines, whether that be diagonal or vertical.
  3. Expansion of plaster. This is also a moisture related problem, which can actually be prevented in the early stages of plastering. If moisture is on the walls when the plaster is initially being placed, it can cause high humidity in the structure, causing it to crack.
  4. De-bonding – this type of cracking occurs when the inner layer of plaster shrinks faster than the outer layer, which creates bad ventilation throughout the wall or ceiling. Therefore, it will cause the wall to sound hollow, as it allows an air pocket to form.
  5. Dry Shrinkage. This tends to happen when materials such as cement or lime tend to shrink when drying, which can be stabilized if caught and filled out once initially dried. However, if these small holes aren’t filled, they can become worse over time.
  6. Softness of materials used. It is important to use high-quality materials when plastering, as low-quality materials can cause cracking to happen faster. It can also occur if the initial mixing of the plastering material is mixed with poor quality, and with too much water.

Other reasons for cracking in plaster tend to include grinning and popping, which both describe the appearance of the wall itself. Certain mistakes made during the initial plaster application can be shown to have a detrimental effect on the life of the plaster, and how long it will last.

There are ways to ensure that plaster doesn’t crack, which can be made during the initial application. Firstly, it is important to use high-quality paints, which can provide good adhesion to the wall itself. Secondly, it helps if you work with smaller layers, which can make the wall of a higher quality and help it dry a lot faster! Finally, find yourself a top-quality plasterer, which has a pristine reputation and that uses high quality materials – like us! For a quote or any more information on our plastering services, take a look around our website.

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