Have you spotted drywall cracks around your window frame(s) or noticed that the frame itself is cracked? It seems like these sneaky cracks show up and reappear when you least expect them (like ninjas).

These cracks can be unsettling, and it’s natural for concerns to pop into your head, leaving you wondering if it’s just a minor issue or a sign of a more significant problem.

We want to share our insights with you to help you understand why these cracks are appearing in your home.

Are window frame cracks a common thing?

You may or may not see cracks on your window frame, depending on the material it’s made from.

For instance, hardwood frames can crack, leaving visible gaps. Aluminum frames might also show gaps, while you probably won’t see cracking on vinyl window frames – unless it’s low-quality vinyl.

However, you will likely see cracks in the drywall around the window frame.

Hairline cracks are normal and can occur regardless of foundation issues. These cracks result from the moisture content in your home.

On drier days, you may notice more hairline cracks, while on more humid days, you might question if those cracks ever existed.

Wood absorbs moisture, causing it to expand, and when it’s dry, wood shrinks. In either case, excessive moisture causes these cracks. Wood will expand and contract depending on the season, leading to stress on the drywall and window frame.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Rain/precipitation
  • Leaks

If you notice any discoloration, it’s likely due to a moisture leak. 

Window frame cracks can also result from foundation settlement

What is foundation settlement?

Foundation settlement is a phenomenon caused by expansive soils that are unable to support the weight of your home, leading to parts of your home sinking.

This often results from the moisture content in the soil. If the soil lacks moisture, it will condense, break down, and naturally shift.

Gravity adds stress to your home’s framing, typically causing cosmetic damages, but it can lead to structural issues if left unaddressed.

Foundation settlement and window frames

Window frame cracks often stem from foundation settlement, causing:

  • Windows becoming difficult to open and close
  • A “stickier” feeling than usual
  • Frames appearing out of square
  • Cracked glass

Window frame cracks alone don’t necessarily indicate foundation settlement. Your home might be moving due to moisture fluctuations. However, you might notice multiple signs.

Common signs of a home with foundation issues:

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

When should I worry about window frame cracks?

Hairline cracks aren’t usually indicative of more significant foundation issues. However, if you can insert a quarter into a crack like an old slot machine, you have a serious problem.

You should not leave larger cracks unaddressed.

Addressing window frame cracks

If you notice cracks in your drywall, you can use drywall repair techniques, such as caulking or applying drywall mud.

Caulking is elastic and forgiving when there’s movement, while mud is rigid and resistant to movement once it’s dry. Any movement can cause the mud to crack again.

For either of these solutions, you should open up the crack and fill it in. Merely caulking over the crack doesn’t necessarily get inside, and any movement can expose the crack again.

Think of it like treating a cut on your leg after a hike. Applying a band-aid won’t clean the wound. You need to wash it with soap and water before using a band-aid to protect it.

Pro tip – don’t apply dirt to an unclean wound. It doesn’t fix the problem.

However, these solutions might only be a temporary fix for a more significant issue.

If your cracks result from foundation settlement, mud or caulking won’t address the underlying problem. Foundation settlement doesn’t improve over time, and if your home continues to settle, those fixes will become undone.

In such cases, you should consult a foundation repair specialist.

Your home is moving, causing areas to separate and resulting in cosmetic damage.

If you have a hairline crack, you’re fine. But if you can fit a quarter into a crack like you would to play Street Fighter II on an old arcade machine, you have a serious issue with movement.

If you’re unsure about movement, place a piece of tape on the crack and date it. Give it some time and observe any changes.

Fun fact – You can purchase crack monitoring devices online or at your local home improvement store.

Foundation repair specialists can prevent further foundation settlement

This is a permanent solution.

Companies stabilize your foundation using galvanized steel underpinnings, such as helical piers, push piers, or a combination of both.

These piers are attached to your home’s foundation for stabilization and are hydraulically driven into the soil beneath your home until they reach competent soil or bedrock. This ensures your home won’t experience further settlement.

Choose professional window repair with GoodWindowWorks.com

The window repair experts at GoodWindowWorks.com pride themselves on delivering exceptional service and top-quality workmanship. We guarantee customer satisfaction by completing your window repairs with the utmost care and attention to detail, protecting your home from the elements.

Before attempting a DIY window repair project, consider the benefits of trusting the professionals at GoodWindowWorks.com with your home’s window needs. Contact us today, and let our experienced team help you restore your windows to their original beauty and functionality while providing you with peace of mind and a stress-free experience.