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Question DetailsAsked on 12/3/2017

Is there a local expert dry waller

large reappearing crack in livingroom ceiling

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1 Answer


You are in luck - LOTS of previous similar questions in the file - links to some are provided below (some of which have further links within them - though some will be dups).

Generally speaking, if this is reappearing, unless you have VERY long-span joists or trusses overhead (as in an attic, spanning say over maybe 50-60 feet or so), and especially since you say this is a large crack (assuming you mean wide too, not just long), there is only one situation where a reappearing crack like that would NOT be a cause to look for structural causes of it.

That case is where you have overhead joists or trusses or such in an attic which is NOT part of the conditioned space - so open to outside air - AND the joists or trusses span from outside wall to outside wall without connections to interior walls. In that case, as some of the responses in the links descrivbe in more detail, moisture changes in the wood can cause the framing (occurs noticeably only with trussed framing, where there are connecting members from roof to the attic "floor" joists or truss bottom chords) to shrink and pull the attic "floor" framing upwards.Normally occurs in the winter, and can lift the framing off interior walls underneath - usually occurs most noticeably on walls which are transverse to the framing, so normally halls and bathroom and other walls near the centerline of the house (usually along long dimension) are where it usually shows up. Typically shows up as 1/8-1/4" crack at the ceiling/wall intersection.

One other common situation is sheets not properly fastened - too few fasteners, or drywall nailed and the nails are jacking out of the wood from repeated moisture changes or rusting, so they are drooping - meaning if you push upon the sheet by the crack it moves up detectably because it is hanging down loose from the overlying joist or truss. This causes cracking at the joints - and of course in real severe cases eventually sheeets or large4 pieces thereof falling down without warning - though that is REAL rare.

With the exception of the (usually winter) case above, cracks more than hairline are cause for investigation. Diagonal cracks, cracks through intact drywall rather than just along joints, cracks over hairline and certainly any over about 1/8-1/4" wide, and any cracks with visible offset - either between the two sides of the crack or with buckling or "faulting" in the drywall causing pieces to crack or bulge out-of-plane are cause for concern.

Since you say large and reappearing, I would say investigation before repair is in order.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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