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Question DetailsAsked on 8/21/2017

What would cause sheetrock separation in the middle of an 8 foot wall?

It's been unusually hot here in Oregon. The roof is fairly new. The damage is adjacent to a flood light mounted on the outside of the house that was left on for hours unintentionally. It has rained only once in the past 2 months. So it's hard to believe it's water damage. I don't see a way to upload a photo.

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To post photo(s), or to respond back to an answer or provide more info in the same thread, click on the Answer This Question yellow button right below your question. That takes you to a page with a Your Answer box - in the gray border right above the response text block there are little yellow icons - use the left one to attach photos. GIF, JPG, PNG are acceptable formats.

If you mean cracking, especially if on a sheet seam/joint, probably just shrinkage of the framing - especially if it got wet (likely in most of Oregon) during reroofing or just because you are in a normally wet area (like coastline) so framing got damp, then dried out and pulled the sheets apart. Normally will occur on the joints, but if the studs wetted and dried and the walls were boarded with vertical sheets then there is no midwall seam so you can sometimes get a pretty straight (wthin 1/4-1/2") horizontal but slightly jaggy crack across the boards. Simple drywall compound recoating may take care of it if the joint tape is not peeling loose, though the proper way is to retape cracked joints, or to form a joint groove if in the field of the sheet and then joint compound and tape as for a normal joint - using high-strength fiberglass joint tape, not paper.

I can't see the light being involved - unless water got in there around the box or conduit and swelled the wood around the fasteners, and now in drying out they are loose. When framing wood get wet it swells quite forcefully, so can cause drywall nails to pull partway out as the wood swells against the drywall - or can pop the heads loose on drywall screws if they are cheap ones (the reason I ONLY use Grabbers).

If you mean the drywall is pulling away from the wall, meaning if you push in on it there is a bit of slack between it and the wall (though pushing in may cause drywall popouts at the fasteners), couple of likely causes:

1) drying shrank the wood, and cheap import drywall screws sheared off (some drywall screws these days are shearing at about 20 pounds force - a small fraction of what they should be able to carry)

2) if nailed, wood swelled and shrank (especially through repetitive dampening and drying of the framing) worked the nails, causing them to pull out a bit. Eventually this usually results in popouts exposing the head of the fastener - especially if the wall is leaned or pushed against, pushing it back tight to the framing while the nail sits in place a bit further out than originally, so it pops out the drywall compound covering the head.

3) cheap fasteners (especially nails) rusting, which very commonly causes them to back out as the rust forms (because it expands as it forms) - again, creating slack in the drywall fit and eventually nail head popouts and/or rust spots in the wall.

If the drywall sheet is loosening up, I would try to expose a couple of fasteners in that loose part of the wall and see if they are loose or rusty headed - if so they may need to be replaced with Grabbers or similar good quality ones (in your area I would use cad-plated or stainless if rusting), then the fastener holes patched with drywall compound or Spackle and repainted.

If not a DIY type, then a Drywall contractor for the drywall repair plus a Painter for repainting - or maybe an Handyman if you know a conscientious one.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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