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Question DetailsAsked on 10/25/2017

is it normal for my ceiling to look like this?

I bought this home about 6 months ago. I had all the necessary paperwork and inspections done etc. However, upon walking into my laundry room tonight I noticed this on my ceiling.......Is it supposed to look that way or is something wrong with the foundation? Is it just normal shifting of the foundation? I do plan on having someone come out and take a look as I have a home warrany

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2 Answers


Answered 3 years ago by marthamenefee


Check your warranty on whether it covers structural issues - might not pay for it, and of course if using home warranty you almost always have to use the vendor they choose - which is generally the cheapest and commonly least expert.

I assume you mean the squiggles at the ceiling/wall interface.

My first thought is it probably was like that originally and you just did not notice it before - check if it is painted and the paint is not cracking off, or is bare caulk - if so, likely was that way and you just did not look up directly at it before.

Second - poke it or cut into it at one spot - is it crimpled paper under a bit of paint and drywall compound - then if paper drywall tape it could be picking up moisture from the laundry room and starting to peel free. Generally, it could be redone with fiberglass tape and joint compound though the ceiling texture match would not be perfect,, especially up in the corner like that - or you could paint over with a semi-gloss or gloss water resistant latex acrylic paint to limit the moisture getting to it. This especially if occurs all across the room, not just at one spot - which might indicate a leak above or such (though that would normally also have brownish water staining occurring).

Third alternative - what it really looks like to me - a really unsteady hand trying to caulk the crack, in which case when you cut into it will be from thick batter to gooey sticky old gum consistency and likely at least a bit stick to the knife or probe, depending on age - especially if this ceiling is right below the attic. Commonly ceilings under attics commonly lift up at interior walls when it gets dry in the attic (commonly winter but can occur in summer in wet winter, dry summer areas) as the wood shrinks, shortening framing members and causing the bottom truss chord or attic floor joists to lift a fraction of an inch (typically 1/8-1/4 inch) off underlying walls, leaving a gap between the ceiling drywall (which is nailed/screwed to the bottom of the attic floor joists/trusses so it moves up with the truss/joist) and the stationary wall. People then usually caulk that joint when it is open (which caulk can be wavy like that if unsteady hand and they did not finger smooth the caulk out afterwards) - can also sometimes squeeze back out somewhat and bulge out as a ripple when the ceiling settles back down during the wetter season - though that would be directly out of the crack whereas yours seems to wander off the crack a lot of places.

Fourth alternative - ceiling drywall was put up after the walls rather than before, so it does not tuck in over the top of the wall drywall, and is settling a bit, crumpling the joint tape in the process. This would indicate inadequate fastening of the ceiling drywall and it might need a few more screws. If this is the case, with moderate force (say about 20-40 pounds or so) pushing up on the bottom of the ceiling (use a towel to protect hands from the texturing) if the drywall moves up and down a fraction of an inch as you push up and take the load off it, then probably needs a few more fasteners - then drywall compound and touchup paint at the screwholes.

What I see in the photos certainly does not scare me in the least - and would normally have nothing done about it unless the owner considered it an eyesore (like in living room say). You could keep an eye on it from time to time, but if you don't see progressive movement or water staining, I doubt it is anything to worry about.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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