Step Cracks in wall Florida

Hi everyone, New to the site and also now training to be home inspector. I have a question about step cracks in stucco on a concrete block house in Florida. Are the step cracks a defect if the are very small. The reason I ask is because I sold a home a few years ago one inspector says there was structural damage because of them and one said that it was normal settling. I myself after taking the structural course would not comment either way but wanted to get experienced home inspectors opinions on the subject. House was approximately 13 years old, no other cracks on the interior or other signs of structure damage. Thank you in advance


I am not familiar with Florida conditions, but in Oklahoma the cracking you described sounds like minor settlement. It is hard to give a definitive answer without seeing it though.

Hairline step cracking is typical of unreinforced block construction. Slight settling or even thermal expansion / contraction is the cause. All minor cracking should be sealed and monitored. Anything wider than 1/8", displaced, or asymmetrical should be deferred to a SE.

Difficult to say without photos. All cracks are a sign of movement of some type.

Sorry meant to post the photo, here it is

Wall Crack.JPG

"Some cracking on the block wall was noted in a few areas around the perimeter of the dwelling. These generally appeared to follow the mortar joints between the courses of blocks (stair step pattern) and are a normal occurrence found in homes of this design. We did not notice any wall deflection or evidence of racking to door frames or window openings in these areas at the time of the inspection. We recommend these be sealed and monitored for further movement. "

step cracks are covered in most study books and the nachi exterior training

Hi John,

You know you can always call me buddy. I’m just around the corner. Stair cracking is quite common in SFL block construction. The cause in some cases is from minor settlement of the foundation, found a lot on new construction because our tract home builders like to tear through new construction as fast as possible, pushing the limits of curing times. You will also notice it mostly on western exposure walls. The expansion and contraction of the concrete is highest on the western exposure because the sun hits our west walls all year long and the afternoons are hottest. Feel free to forward me pics or give me a call. Watch for stair cracks that form a triangular shape and meet a the tie beam. This can indicate heavy settlement. Keep up the questions. You’re on the right path bud.

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