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  1. #1
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Cracks in ceiling reason to be concerned?

    I own a house built in 1950 but which had major internal renovations done around 2004 (central air, 3rd bedroom removed , new roof etc )before we bought it. Some time ago I noticed cracks forming on the textured ceiling in our living room and kitchen. One of these cracks runs all the way from the old rear door in the kitchen, straight through the doorway separating the kitchen and living room, and ends at the front door in the living room. There are 2 other cracks that run shorter distances in the living room and kitchen. The textured ceiling is also flaking and peeling in other areas in the kitchen and living room (don't know if that is related or not). I plan on doing the cosmetic repairs at some point but I'm not sure if I should be overly concerned about what is causing the cracks. Our home inspector didn't find anything when he checked the "attic" area other than there appeared to be evidence of previous water entry ( he wasn't too concerned with it this was 3 years ago and the roof is around 7 years old). I'm worried that something major is wrong with the house. If anyone can give me any ideas on what I should do I would greatly appreciate it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,482

    Default Re: Cracks in ceiling reason to be concerned?

    With a house of that age, it shouldn't be moving enough to cause cracking anymore. Have you noticed any cracks in the foundation that may hint of movement?

    Is the crack the start of an addition to the house? Do you know if a bearing wall was removed in the vicinity of the crack?
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Cracks in ceiling reason to be concerned?

    I checked the outside of the house for cracks and couldn't find any. The house is vinyl siding so I can only see the foundation. The renovations included a 4 season room (enclosed porch) which is entered through the kitchen (through the old rear door of the house)and this was the only addition. To my knowledge the only walls that were removed during the renovation were 2 walls that enclosed the third bedroom (this doubled the sized of the living room). The cracks are nowhere near where these walls were so I don't know how much of a factor their removal would have been. The area of the living room where the third bedroom was actually appears to be in pristine shape. I've tried to upload photos but the computer keeps telling me they are too large. I will try to compress them when I get home from work.

  4. #4
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    6,482

    Default Re: Cracks in ceiling reason to be concerned?

    Quote Originally Posted by gillaustin316 View Post
    I've tried to upload photos but the computer keeps telling me they are too large. I will try to compress them when I get home from work.
    It's because you're a new member and need something like 15 posts to be able to post pictures or links. The work around is to host the pics ****** somewhere else, then link them here. You change the link address by doing this:

    www DOT mypicture DOT com


    About the crack, I'd go up into the attic and look in the general area of the crack. Is the crack where two ceiling joists are sandwiched together? If so, the fix will probably be to remove a section of the ceiling across this crack/joint to the adjacent joist on either side of the crack. Install new drywall, tape, texture, and that will probably cure the problem permanently. Of course, the easiest thing to do will be to retape the crack first, if it's gone forever, you've save yourself a lot of work, if it returns, then you've got a backup plan.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Cracks in ceiling reason to be concerned?

    If your inspector found no framing deficiencies, then the matter is only cosmetic, and could be fixed. Drywall repairs are not that difficult.

    Your texture problem seems to be unrelated to the cracks, and can be dealt with as well.

    good luck.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Cracks in ceiling reason to be concerned?

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I will look into repairing the cracks using the tape method. Hopefully that will solve the problem.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    Default Re: Cracks in ceiling reason to be concerned?

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    If your inspector found no framing deficiencies, then the matter is only cosmetic, and could be fixed. Drywall repairs are not that difficult.

    good luck.
    His house is 1950. My house is 1965 and was new enough to have mostly have Plaster board (I have some wood lath & plaster walls).

    Coming from a 1973 drywall house, I'm finding plaster a pain in the arse to repair.

    Also, I've found most house inspectors are decent, and while they'll describe a condition as "needs further inspection by an ______" (liability protection), they either really don't know and don't want to upset the BUYER real estate agent (your person) from losing the sale or making the sale more complicated (many inspectors depend on RE agents for referrals). You're not getting Mike Holmes . . . so it is still caveat emptor.
    Last edited by Brookworld; 09-12-2011 at 09:34 AM. Reason: clarification

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,585

    Default Re: Cracks in ceiling reason to be concerned?

    I guess I have watched too many of those Mike Holmes Episodes myself! If I had a crack running the whole length of the house, I would want it investigated my either a structural engineer or at least an experienced framing carpenter.

    Unfortunately, short of breaking into the ceiling to see how the joists are configured, I am not sure if the problem can be determined. Mike Holmes frequently tears into the structure to determine what is going on, a luxury the casual home inspector does not have.

    It is unbelievable what stupid things remodelers will do. I remember working in a Victorian house where a great room had been created. A sag was evident in the middle of the room. Upon investigating, it became obvious a rear hallway with baring walls had been removed! The remodeler had sistered in splices across the gap! I told the owner, who was a friend, that it was fortunate he had not put a water bed in his overhead bedroom. Had he done so, it would certainly have ended up in the great room!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Midwest
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    37

    Default Re: Cracks in ceiling reason to be concerned?

    Can you get into the attic? If you can, find the area where the crack is running. I had a similar crack that I repaired three times and it just came back. I found that there was a headder with joist attached to it with hangers. Only the joists were just in the hangers but not attached. I moved the insulation out of the way, attached all the joists with screws. then removed the drywall beyond all my previous repairs and replaced it. The crack has not returned. Its been a couple years so I think it's good.

    If you don't have an attic, call someone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    5

    Default Re: Cracks in ceiling reason to be concerned?

    The cracks aren't wide at all. If I didn't know better I'd say someone was dragging a pencil across the ceiling. There is the one long one and a few small ones(2 -3 feet) in a couple of other spots. I've also got pieces of the textured ceiling pealing and falling off the ceiling in the same rooms (kitchen and living room). Could it be because of the excess humidity in the kitchen when we cook (the living room is right off of where the stove is)? We use a dehumidifier to control humidity because we had condensation problems on our bay window.

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