Thermal Movement describes the effects of a change in temperature whereby a material contracts or expands. Technically, every substance is affected by Thermal Movement although the degree to which they are affected varies greatly. Another factor affecting the magnitude of Thermal Movement is, as you would expect, the magnitude of temperature change.
Thermal Movement: some homeowner basics
Thermal Movement can be categorised into a further two phenomena: Thermal Expansion and Thermal Contraction.
Thermal Expansion occurs when a building's structure is exposed to high temperatures. For example, areas of wall that are constantly interacting with steam, or the floors underneath cooking appliances. By reverse, Thermal Contraction occurs when structures are exposed to extremely cold temperatures - repetitive or prolonged contact with ice is a common example.
The effects of Thermal Movement can be dramatic. As the very fabric of the walls and floor changes, the joins between them become strained. Brick work can crack, window fittings can bust open and the floor can become sloped.
This kind of structural movement is hazardous in both a safety and financial sense. Houses with these symptoms lose significant amounts of their would-be market value. If you suspect Thermal Movement on any property contact a Surveyor immediately.