Bulge in wall - who would you call?

We have a bulge in our stairway wall which seems to have grown a fair bit over the last few months, along with a long horizontal crack in the plaster which seems to be growing (albeit slowly) too. Time to call someone to have a look, methinks. But the question is, who? A plasterer, builder, some sort of structural engineer? Who would you call?

A photographer! Please show us a picture then we’ll have a much better understanding of the problem you face.


A local mason.

Ghostbusters! Sorry couldn’t resist :smile:


The only correct answer.


The bank :grinning:

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Frightening! Sorry for your predicament.

There are some wise and experienced builders and DIYer on this site, who are very kind and able to give much advice and support. Please keep checking back.

Could it be plumbing? Do you know if there are pipes inside? Is it a party wall? How quickly did it ‘emerge’ and has it changed? A pic or two would certainly help.

Depending on the above I would reach out to a builder. And I would not wait.

Depending on where you live there have been hot weather effects that in some cases are eligible for financial assistance to repair.

Fingers crossed it is not subsidence.

Not necessarily. Depends on the age of the house and the land on which it’s been built and whether the property was subject to intense drought last summer and has had loads of rain through January.

For example, our property is 300+ years old, no foundations, built directly onto a sandstone outcrop partially covered in clay. After last summer’s intense drought which played havoc with the clay - huge cracks in our field - we have more cracks than usual in our walls.

Obviously @tc123 needs to get it looked at by a builder but it could just be surface render that’s blown, or maybe there’s rubble behind it that’s moved. (Which happened in our cottage and cracked a few bathroom tiles). As I say, a lot depends on the age of the house and what it’s been built with.

So no need to panic - just get it sorted. I’d go for a good local builder first. :slight_smile:


Can you put a marker down to see if/how they grow? Or measure and photograph them?

We have a quarry not far away and out neighbours were worried about a crack in the external wall even tho’ it is only about 2cm wide along front of house. The quarry came and installed movement meters, which have not budged.

If you are worried ask your insurance company if they have or can recommend an ‘expert’ to come and look. But old houses are quite dynamic things.

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Here it is, you can see the underneath of the staircase going up to the second floor in the top right. I wonder if it has anything to do with pressure coming from there. There are no pipes in this wall and it’s not a party wall. It
has emerged very gradually over the last 4 months or so

Also those little holes you can see just appeared without anyone having jabbed anything into the wall!

I would knock the plaster off and see what was behind if you do not do it some one paid by you will


Could be wood - take the plaster off.

I am very much retired no but spent a career as an architect in the UK dealing with many elderly buildings. I have also had prop0erty in France 50 years so know a bit about the scene here. How tick is the wall? Is it external. ? Is it a party wall? many older french buildings have stone walls built as tow skins with rubble/mud/etc in between. If water gets in at the top it ill start to cause problems in the wall below. Photos would be useful.

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Didn’t know you are Irish David :joy:

I just wanted to be sure, to be sure.

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Hi David, thank you and sorry for the slow reply. I haven’t logged on here for ages. The wall isn’t external/party, is about 4 inches thick. Def not a stone wall. Pic below is looking up the stairs at the wall (you can see the underbelly of the second staircase at the top)

Looking at the regularity of the bulge, I wonder if there is a timber (or other material) lintel across the building and the plaster/render had let go? Whilst that is a bulge, is there a maching sink on the other side of the wall?

No there isnt a matching sink on the other side, neither are there any bulges

Your best starting point is a builder - it’s a picture that could have umpteen causes.

You won’t know until you knock off the plaster and see what’s going underneath. That plaster will need fixing anyway so lump hammer and see…

Or just bung anaglypta or wood chip over it they solve all plaster problems …