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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Drywall separation

    The drywall, where the ceiling meets the wall, in the center most rooms of my house cracks and separates in the fall and winter. However, it goes back together in the spring and summer! What's going on here?!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,919

    Default Re: Drywall separation

    I'm going to take a wild guess and say that you turn the heat on in your home in the winter.

    Your house expands and contracts with the seasons. In the colder months your house is smaller and shrinks. When it contracts it does so unevenly as there are warmer spots and better built spots. You can use a latex caulk in the winter, and paint over it. Hopefully the change in size of the house will not mean a huge bulge of caulk in the summer when the house swells back to its summer size.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Drywall separation

    Sounds like a condition called truss uplift.
    If you have engineered roof trusses the bottom cord ( which is your ceiling rafter ) located in the cold attic is being *sprung* upward which pulls the gyprock with it.
    During the warmer months ( spring and summer ) there is no truss uplift which is why the gyprock returns to it's relatively normal position.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,741

    Default Re: Drywall separation

    Leonard Homes is dead on with his reply. I have seen this several times over the years in homes with pre-stressed trusses. The gapping occurs toward the center of the span in the middle of the house. I witnessed this in my own house where I had added a new fireplace with a full course of face brick butted up to the ceiling. When I first observed the crack up at the ceiling, my initial fear was that the weight of the brick had caused the slab foundation to settle. I was actually relieved to find it was the ceiling lifting with the seasons upward from the brick!

    I remember one job where the entire ceiling line in an interior hallway had cleanly broken from the wall, leaving about an 1/8th inch gap. We re-taped the entire ceiling line, not knowing whether the new tape would have enough elasticity to hold. Fortunately, it did.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Drywall separation

    Thanks for the great advice! But what can I do about it??

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,741

    Default Re: Drywall separation

    As stated above, I had decent results by re-taping the corners while the gap was at its greatess. Rake out the old drywall mud and apply new mud and tape, forcing the mud deap into the crack.
    Unfortunately, this is a messy job which forces you to re-paint or do extensive touch up.

    A crown molding might be able to hide this unsightly gap and be able to camoflage any movement. It might also be the less messy of the two, as it requires much less mess in the room. I would pre-stain and varnish or prime and paint the wood before it goes up. Again, to lessen mess in the living space. Also, pre-treating the wood prevents any bare wood from showing should the parts move.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Drywall separation

    Crown will hide the gaps, but you only want to nail the crown to the ceiling surface and let it float on the wall.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,919

    Default Re: Drywall separation

    Crown will hide those gaps, but will create new places for cracks to appear; above and below the crown where it meets the drywall, and at the joints in the crown. Excellent crown installation will need to be in order if you opt for this route.

    Choose wisely grasshoppah.

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