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GSJ
07-09-2006, 23:32 PM
Hi all,

I have a Victorian-era property (c1900, single-fronted, semi-detached, workers cottage) in Melbourne, Australia and need to tap into some of your experience with these properties in the UK.

The property sits on reactive clay soil foundations and due to this and various other factors, has experienced movement over the years. The property is not expected to collape, but eliminating movement all together is unlikely, particularly that associated with seasonal climate variations. Having said, that attempts to minimise future movement eg. by removing large trees are being undertaken.

As a result of this movement, the house has a number of cracks in the internal walls, that cosmetically do not look very nice. They are up to 10mm diameter in some areas.

A geotechnical engineers report is planned at some stage, to investigate the movement related issues in greater depth (an initial pre-purchase building inspection has already been done by an architect).

What I want to find out is what techniques people have used to cover up these cracks and improve the cosmetic appearance of these properties, in preparation for re-sale/re-rental/re-valuation?

I had this discussion in an Australian renovation forum (the link to the relevant thread is as follows: http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/showthread.php?t=35613) and the following ideas were brought up:

1. Get a plasterer to fix the cracks properly (the downside of this is that if there is ongoing movement, the cracks will just re-open).

2. Use a flexible sealant and paint over (some people have said this does not look good even when painted over? have to use textured paints, but it does at least allow for some degree of future movement).

3. Put new plasterboard sheeting on top (this is more flexible and less likely to crack, but will involve removing then replacing architraves/skirtings etc. so will be expensive).

4. A suggestion from a UK company was to do ´crack stitching´, a process that is described by the company Helifix (the link is: http://www.helifix.com.au/crack_stitching.html). They use ´helibars´ to structurally re-inforce/stabilise a building, and this allows for further movement. They then re-point/re-plaster/re-paint over the cracks.

5. I had another thought, what about covering up the cracks in the walls with a strong, flexible type of wall covering? Vinyl perhaps? This would be like the plasterboard sheeting option, as the vinyl may be flexible and allow for further movement??? Maybe much cheaper though? I am not sure how it would look?

Are there any thoughts/comments regarding this???
Any other suggestions/ideas???

I am running out of ideas in Australia, so am keen to tap into your knowledge base/experiences with period properties like mine.

Thanks,

GSJ

davidjohnbutton
07-09-2006, 23:42 PM
Polyfilla? I jest not for they do in fact do a product designed to accommodate some wall movement/shrinkage etc.

Ericthelobster
08-09-2006, 06:37 AM
I should tryasking at :
http://www.periodproperty.co.uk/discussion_forum.htmor
http://groups.google.co.uk/group/uk.d-i-y?lnk=lr&hl=en

lawstudent
08-09-2006, 08:13 AM
you could try papering over the cracks :D

Poppy
08-09-2006, 10:55 AM
Why don’t you wait for the report? If your geotechnical engineer is worth their salt they should indicate possible methods of repair and estimated costs. Anything less than that you would have to ask yourself what you are paying for…