Diagonal cracks above interior doors

I’d appreciate all of your professional opinions, Home built 1983, drywall and above 3 interior doors are diagonal cracks… Is this an issue I should flag or just mention??? Thanks

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Almost always settlement. Unlikely to be an ongoing problem on a 40 year old house but also unlikely that some structural contractor won’t try to make a load of cash “fixing” it. It’s always a tough to write up. I have a couple different “levels” of write-up depending on severity and condition. Often something like this:

Sign of settlement were noted around the xxx. The visible components of the supporting structure around/below appear intact and no other evidence of a problem was noted. A more specialized inspection from a structural contractor or engineer would be needed to know if some active/ongoing problem exists. More access to the structural elements of the house would also be needed (drywall removal, etc.).


Yup, never assume it’s ok, could have been built on disturbed soil / landfill / filled in wetlands / etc…


I think the last time I wrote this up I did something along the lines of the following:

"Cracks at openings such as doors and windows were evident during the inspection.

Cracks in these areas are often indicative of settlement.

We recommend monitoring cracks regularly for change. If a change becomes evident, we recommend further evaluation by a qualified structural engineer and action as recommended by the specialist."

Mind you this is usually on older homes, and I do what I can (when I can) to verify someone hasn’t hacked a joist adjacent, or something similar as is often the case in late 1800s construction.


Also, sometimes hard slamming of doors can cause this.


@mfellman gave a good narrative to spring board off of.

There is a list of questions we have to determine if this is a big deal.

3 cracks is not enough information. So be sure to list everything you could see and things you can’t in your report.

Example, I observed diagonal cracking over doors. Doors were racked, rubbing or sticking. Floors were sloped, sagging, heaving. Foundation had visible cracks etc.

You need to paint a picture with your narrative.


Good point. If no other issues are observed, it is likely minor. BUT if you have any of these other issues, it could be something concerning.

Biggest question would be “Is this new damage? Or has it been this way for 40 years?”

Obviously that is not our call.


Exactly - newer construction is a completely different scenerio than say early 1900s.


Where are you located @mbalmann ?

New Jersey

Here is a photo of a moderate diagonal settlement crack over an interior door. 99% of the time the crack points in the direction where the floor has settled.


A trained eye sighting the main carrying beam in the basement/crawlspace, if visible, could tell you a lot of what is going on above. :thinking:


Definitely agree… the “xxx” in my report terms bank is meant to be a “fill in/describe the situation”.


So, what is the recommendation?

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That’s where it gets tricky - if questioned I’d argue that I presented the fact that there could be an ongoing issue and I mentioned a structural contractor or engineer. I’m sure my E/O carrier would love me to recommended “further evaluation by a qualified…” every time I see a hairline crack but that won’t keep me in business.

The next “step up” with this comment is to change “would be needed” to “should be performed” and that is more firm of a recommendation. Without more information or pics from OP it’s hard to say how I’d call/write it. It’s just always the balance between protecting ourselves… and our clients… and not overblowing things.

My initial (light) write-up is generally for things that I honestly don’t think are a problem and wouldn’t have made my report 20 years ago but I now feel I must document.

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It’s a conundrum.


Without photos our opinions or other info are worth nothing

Randy Mayo’s pic and comment is good. Over the years I’ve always found that when hes sober Randy is right on


Not to be contentious, but to me, the crack in the photo does not look like a settlement crack or at the least, it is a minor settlement crack. The crack does not extend to the ceiling and it has interruptions in its line. So often, these cracks are only on one side of the doorway which is another clue that they aren’t from settlement. This is one where my first suspicion is door slamming or maybe a chinning bar was in the doorway in the past. It is a piece of a puzzle that we never find all the pieces.


Diagonal cracks above doorways and windows, are not totally unusual for a home that age. Unless you can pin point the cause of them to one of the reasons below, recommend repairs as nesesary and moniter, or/and call for an expert to survey if indications point towards an obvious structural element elsewhere in your inspection that may have caused it.

Causes of cracks

  1. Framing issues
  2. Humidity & temperature fluctuations, as well as, plumbing or roof leaks
  3. Seasonal causes
  4. Poor workmanship and improper materials
  5. Structural issues – foundation and soil movement

Good post, Marcel.

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