What Causes Door Frame Cracks?

Seeing cracks around your home doesn’t bring you peace of mind. You might be thinking “uh oh” as you see the cracks around your door frames. They’re hard to miss, especially as you see them going through your home.

We don’t want you thinking things are worse than they are Those cracks might not be as big of an issue as you think. 

Dalinghaus Construction has inspected over 10,000 homes in Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada, having an eye for catching cracks around your home – especially door frame cracks. With our 100 years of combined experience, we understand why these things happen. We know when to worry and say “uh oh.” These cracks might not be as worrisome as you initially thought. 

 

Are door frame cracks normal?

For the most part, they are not normal. Cracks either on or around your door frame are usually an indicator of some type of movement.

There is not a lot of mud around door frames, so mudding doesn’t happen often. This wouldn’t be due to a poor tape job that could open up cracks. If there is mudding, it will be due to movement in the area of your home. 

You will notice the cracks around the drywall or the corners of the casing start to separate.

The drywall will crack due to the movement of your home the majority of the time. Cracks can happen due to the amount of moisture in your home, but it’s uncommon.

You can see horizontal cracks at the joint, which is still an issue of movement. That can potentially be a bigger issue at that point.

What you’re most likely seeing are diagonal cracks on the drywall at the corners of your door frame. This is a cosmetic issue.  

Also, your door frame should be installed properly. Perhaps yours isn’t and you were one of the rare unlucky ones. If the door frame isn’t properly screwed in, the doors will start shifting and the wood starts to move. 

If you can push the door and door frame over, we don’t need to go into this further. You have a problem.

(we’ve seen stranger things happen.).

 

What can cause the movement of your home?

Your house can move from foundation settlement or foundation heave. 

Foundation Settlement

Downward movement or sinking of the base of a structure. This is due to expansive soils drying out and contracting. 

Foundation Heaving

The upward movement of a foundation due to an increase in moisture causing soils to expand.

If you’re finding door frame cracks on their own, that might not be a sign of these types of movement. If you see door frame cracks with other signs and symptoms, it is more likely a sign and symptom of your foundation settling or heaving. 


Common signs and symptoms of foundation settlement/heave

  • Drywall cracks
  • Stucco cracks
  • Concrete slab cracks
  • Ceiling cracks
  • Tile cracks
  • Chimney cracks
  • Leaning chimney
  • Sloping floors
  • Doors and windows are hard to open and close
  • Water leaks

 To understand these signs and symptoms more in-depth, you don’t want to miss our Ultimate Guide to Signs and Symptoms of a Home in Need of Foundation Repair.

 

Seismic activity

Another reason for movement will be due to seismic activity. Southern California is no stranger to earthquakes. Depending on the severity, earthquakes are known to cause damage in some form. Hopefully, the extent you have to deal with is only mild cracks on your door frame. That can be easily fixed. 

Nature is a force we can’t win against no matter how hard we try. Seismic activity can affect your home. 

Types of cracks you’ll see on your door frame.

As established earlier, you’ll most likely see diagonal cracks on the drywall at the corners of the frame. 

Sometimes the corners of the door frame will start to separate.

You might notice a vertical joint above the door or a horizontal joint begin to crack. 

It all depends on how your home is moving. 

 

Do the types of door frames make a difference?

They can. Diagonal cracks on the drywall will still be the same, but the way the door interacts with the door frame may vary. 

Hollow core doors or lightweight doors can stick on the door frame. The same goes for heavy doors. 

You can notice more sticking with heavier doors on metal frames. Since they’re heavier, you might notice more sticking. If you notice the door sticking to the frame more often than not, you might have a problem due to movement. 

Read Why Do I Have Sticking Doors and Windows? (Humidity and Foundation Issues) to deepen your understanding of why these things stick. 

 

Cost of repairing door frame cracks

It depends on how the frame is cracked, resulting in varying costs.

If it’s mostly the casing that needs to be readjusted and caulked – along with retaping the joints and applying mud – a Handyman can do the work in a day for roughly around $500

It isn’t always that steep of a cost. Again, it depends on the severity of the cracking.

This doesn’t include painting. If any paint needs to be applied, it can be a two-day job since everything else needs to be set first. 

If you’re a handy person, you can also fix door frame cracks on your own. It might not address a potentially larger issue, but fixing is doable. 

 

Is there a point I should say “uh oh” with door frame cracks?

You usually don’t need to say “uh oh” to door frame cracks. With earthquakes or other natural movements, it’s likely door frame cracks will happen

When the cracks can become large sizes, it would be a good idea to start worrying. If the cracks get an eighth of an inch or above you want to start being cautious.

If you can fit a quarter in a crack like a slot in an arcade machine, you’ll want someone to take a look. 

The same goes if you see these cracks along with other signs and symptoms of a settling or heaving foundation. 

Hairline cracks won’t be anything you need to stress over. 

Fill a gap in your knowledge with Why Are There Gaps Between Door Frames, Windows, and/or Walls?

You know what causes door frame cracks. If you’re still saying “uh oh” schedule a free consultation to see if more is going on. 

You’ve learned if door frame cracks are normal, what causes door frame cracks, the cost of repair, and when you should say “uh oh.” If you’re unsure as to why the cracks are happening or are concerned about them getting worse, there’s no harm in having a professional come out and do an inspection. 

You can schedule a free consultation with Dalinghaus Construction to see if there is more to your door frame cracks than meets the eye. Our project design specialists will take a look and provide you with honest feedback. 

Read Why Do I have Window Frame and Door Frame Cracks? (2 Primary Reasons).

For any questions, call Dalinghaus Construction at (877)360-9277, or click the button below to schedule your free foundation evaluation today!

WRITTEN BY

Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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