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Question DetailsAsked on 6/5/2017

I just noticed that the drywall on my 2nd floor ceiling has a crack, which is about 1/8'' wide and 5/8'' deep.

just wondering what are the possible causes. Is it a serious problem, do I need emergent repair?

Thank you!

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1 Answer


Likely not an emergency - especially if straight, and most especially if along a seam. Certainly, if you hear creaking or groaning sounds (more than just normal faint daily expansion and contraction sounds), it is running jagged across the ceiling or at an angle to the walls, plaster starts falling, or it visibly keeps widening then you should get a Structural Engineer (the Search the List category to find a well-rated and reviewed engineer) to check it out.

If you can get into the attic, I would go up and look for obvious signs of distress - popping metal truss fastening plates, broken framing, rot or water damage, or wet insulation which could be weighting down the ceiling joists.

Barring any of the above warning signs, and especially if your 1/8" is a bit too generous and it is actually just a hairline crack, one would normally patch and touch up the paint (or even leave unpainted for a while) and see if it grows or not. This sort of crack, if straight and on a seam, is common after unusually heavy snow loads, and in newer homes where the framing is drying out after being wet during construction - though also in cases where you have water getting into the attic. Certainly any orange or brown staining around the crack (or elsewhere in the ceiling) or nail popouts in the ceiling (if nailed rather than screwed into place) would be an indication to go looking for water issues - from roof leak, or from overflowing/leaking air conditioner condensate or leaking water pipes if A/C or water heater is up there, for instance.

Here are a number of previous similar questions with answers FYI:

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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