Why Do I Have Window Frame and Doorframe Cracks? (2 Primary Reasons)

Do you have pesky drywall cracks around your window or doorframes? Maybe your window and doorframes have a bizarre Alice and Wonderland tilt and are difficult to open and close? If you want to learn about the 2 primary reasons for window frame and doorframe cracks, this article is for you. 

Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has been in the foundation repair game since 2015. We’ve seen our fair share of doorframe and window frame cracks and are here to help you resolve this cosmetic issue once and for all.  

This article covers frame cracks caused by moisture and foundation settlement. By the end of this blog post, you should be able to pinpoint whether your frame cracks are caused by excess moisture or foundation issues.   

Doorframe and Window Frame Cracks Caused by Excessive Moisture

If you live in a humid, tropical, and balmy climate – like Florida – the moisture-heavy air can leach into the wood that comprises your window and doorframes. The wood swells when the moisture is present and shrinks back down as it evaporates.

The wood expands and shrinks, expands and shrinks (often seasonally) – exerting a tremendous amount of stress and pressure on the drywall and frame. This can result in doorframe and window frame cracks. Moisture cracks are particularly common in the framing trim.

Common factors that come into play for moisture frame cracks are:

  •   Humidity
  •   Temperature
  •   Rain / Precipitation
  •   Leaks

Crack Hack – If your frame crack has any type of discoloration, odds are high it’s from a moisture leak. Be sure to check your roof and or pipes to identify the water source.  

Doorframe and window frame cracks caused by excessive moisture are not a serious cause for concern and are primarily a cosmetic issue. Moisture frame cracks can be mitigated by controlling the temperature and humidity levels in your home.    

To learn more about the most common types of drywall ceiling cracks found in American homes today, be sure to read our article Why Do I Have Cracks in My Ceiling? (6 Types of Cracks to Look Out For).


Doorframe and Window Frame Cracks Caused by Foundation Settlement 

Foundation settlement is often a key contributing factor to doorframe and window frame cracks. Foundation settlement can also cause:

  •   Window frames and doorframes to appear out of square
  •   Windows and doors that are difficult to open or close
  •   Cracked glass (often single pane)

For a more holistic view of foundation settlement signs and symptoms, be sure to read our article 5 Signs and Symptoms of Foundation Issues (Foundation Settlement & Foundation Heave) and download our free signs and symptoms checklist embedded in the article.

Foundation settlement is caused by expansive soil, such as loam, clay, silt, and poor fill soils. Expansive soil is incompetent, non-load-bearing soil that is unable to sustain the load of a home, resulting in settled/sunk sections of the structure.

When the foundation begins to settle, following gravity, this exerts a tremendous amount of stress on the framing of the home, occasionally causing the internal framing to lean slightly. This structural lean can manifest as crooked, cracked, and out of square framing.

Many homeowners try to fix this by shaving down the door or calling in a carpenter to “straighten” the frame. Both fixes are temporary and do not address the root of the issue.

The best way to address window frame and doorframe cracks (and framing issues) is by repairing the foundation through underpinning. To learn more about the process and average cost of underpinning, peruse our article Underpinning Cost – Steel Pier Systems.   

Doorframe and window frame cracks caused by foundation settlement are often accompanied by several other signs and symptoms and can prove a sign of serious concern. Be sure to have a foundation repair specialist inspect your foundation to determine the origin of your framing cracks.

If you’re a visual learner, be sure to watch our educational video that explains why your door and windows are so difficult to open and close. 

Do You Need a Foundation Repair Inspection?

In this article, you learned that window and doorframe cracks are typically caused by either excess moisture or foundation settlement. You also learned the best way to address both origins in terms of mitigation and repair.  

Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has over 100 years of combined foundation repair experience. We’re glad we were able to help you pinpoint what was causing your cracked door and window frames. For more great content, continue to look through our blog or check out our Youtube channel.  

If you live in Southern California or Arizona and would like to book a free foundation inspection today, click the link below –


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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