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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Default Bouncing Sheetrock

    I am looking at a house to buy and all of the upper floor's ceilings appear to be bouncy meaning if I press up on them from the floor below it you can see that there is some give to it. Additionally in almoast every room there is some minor cracking and some decent nail pops and settling at the ceiling/wall edges. Most that was noted seemed to be more towards the center of the house. I looked in the attic and it appeared to be regular 16OC construction however I was not paying attention to the possibility of trusses. Could the use of roof trusses cause this type of condition? Is this just normal settling that can just be touched up with spackle. Is the bouncyness of the ceiling normal with trusses? I am assuming that this type of construction if it is trusses would not be capable of storing items in the attic? I obviously will get a home inspector if we decide to go any further with this house but would be nice to know if what I have already discovered is normal settling or if its something to run from.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Boston
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    821

    Default Re: Bouncing Sheetrock

    from what you've told us so far i say "run".

    how old is the house? a couple of thoughts are going through my head. #1 is that they covered over an old lath and plaster ceiling with 3/8" sheetrock. #2 is that they covered over some other type of old ceiling with 3/8" sheetrock. #3 is that they replaced the ceiling and didn't properly secure the strapping to the ceiling joists. #4 is that the ceiling was nailed up instead of screwed up and it's sagging from the nails slipping out. #5 is that the ceiling joists are grossly undersized. #6 is that they installed a semi-suspended ceiling below the actual ceiling.

    none of these should be a major deal breaker unless this is a structural issue that might be common throughout the house. installing new ceilings properly can be done for a few grand. the thing you have to find out is why this is happening and that can be done via a good home inspection done by a good home inspector.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
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    2,363

    Default Re: Bouncing Sheetrock

    was a structural wall removed?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    3

    Default Re: Bouncing Sheetrock

    Sorry should have added that the house is built in 1998. Its definetly single layer sheetrock, not lath covered over. It does not appear that any structural walls were removed. Nothing that screams that out to me. It looks like most of the taping jobs were pretty poor. Almoast every single seam is visible (by bumps not cracking) including the ones that "should" have had 2 tapered edges facing one another. Part of me wonders if it was a homeowner GC type situation and the sheetrock was not properly installed IE not enough screws only mostly towards the edge? Or maybe only 1/4 inch sheetrock was used.. Its apparent it almost every single room on the top level so its not just in the area of one spot. In other words I'm not suspecting a load bearing wall was removed and thats where all the damage is noted. But if the removal of one load bearing wall could make all the ceiling sheetrock seem springy then its possible. Its possible the springyness was just being observed by the one joist and the 2 adjoining joists to where I was pressing. I guess if I push up inside one joist the 2 adjoining joist gaps would flex in the opposite direction a bit? I guess I was mainly asking if this type of behavior is normal if the ceiling was made with trusses rather than regular joists?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,363

    Default Re: Bouncing Sheetrock

    Generally trusses are far stiffer than dimensional lumber.

    Your joists seem to be undersized or of low grade lumber. Opening the ceiling or pulling up the plywood from above will give us more answers. Do you know the joist size, grade, species, condition and unsupported span? We can calculate the deflection if we know those answers. The builder may have cheaped out with sub-par lumber.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,089

    Default Re: Bouncing Sheetrock

    Physical inspection is needed. Drywall must be removed to expose joists.

    If seller says "no need", skip this house.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Bouncing Sheetrock

    Thanks Guys. If I decide to look any further at this house I will definitely look closer at the joists from up above and post what I see. I am still waiting for a response from my agent to see what the current owners explanation is. Silence concerns me, its been a few days but we'll see. More than likely I will take this one off my list. Even if it were just the wrong sheetrock, replacement of all the ceiling sheetrock is quite a job in itself assuming nothing is wrong structurally.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    5,089

    Default Re: Bouncing Sheetrock

    Quote Originally Posted by snoop168 View Post
    Thanks Guys. If I decide to look any further at this house I will definitely look closer at the joists from up above and post what I see. I am still waiting for a response from my agent to see what the current owners explanation is. Silence concerns me, its been a few days but we'll see. More than likely I will take this one off my list. Even if it were just the wrong sheetrock, replacement of all the ceiling sheetrock is quite a job in itself assuming nothing is wrong structurally.
    I think you are being reasonably cautious. Seller who is silent is not a good sign. Let us know what happened.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,101

    Default Re: Bouncing Sheetrock

    Trusses on 2' centers don't support sheetrock ceilings as well as 16" centers do. Plus ceiling joists are usually room-span and attached at those plates, while clear-span trusses often 'float' in the middle due to built-in camber which is supposed to settle flat but often doesn't. Now the expansion and contraction length is larger so it moves even more. Excess humidity can also cause what you describe- that can be a big issue in many other ways so it needs careful attention in checking out a property for purchase. Those causes are too numerous to list here, just check for it. Were it me, I'd re-screw the ceilings and reset or remove any screw or 'nail popped' fasteners already there.

    What likely happened here is laziness- the hangers did not use enough fasteners or they didn't push upward hard enough as they screwed/nailed to ensure the rock was tight to the framing. If the rock can move you get 'nail-pops'. That's what happens when people place cost as too high of a priority and forget that quality is what makes things last, even if it cost a little more initially. People who work cheaply do that because they aren't doing the job as well as the guy who costs more, perhaps not doing the job properly at all- you don't get what you don't pay for

    Having worked on several 'contractor-self-built' homes I would look this one over very carefully. What usually happens is that the contractor put his guys to work when there were no other jobs for them to do (Warning one- why wasn't the contractor busy- is his reputation that bad?). So Joe the landscaper became Joe the sheet-rock hanger and he didn't really have a clue as to the right way to do the job (Warning two- unskilled tradesman). Often the job is done with leftover materials which were not stored properly or were rejected for use on the contractors paying jobs (Warning three- substandard materials). Sometimes things are pieced together from whatever is on hand (Warning four- excessive joints where none should be). And more often than not, the work done never had a permit pulled or a government inspection(Warning five- illegal and uninspected work). I've seen scabbed together wall studs, undersized joists (also scabbed), overspan conditions, and all manner of crappy practices in these places which were done by people who thought the idea would work well enough that way- and I get called in when it all begins to fall apart. This house might not be like this but you'd better look it over very carefully and either make your offer match the true situation so you can do the repairs after closing or so that you can leave the headaches for someone else and buy another home that is built correctly.

    Phil
    Last edited by Mastercarpentry; 07-20-2013 at 09:05 AM.

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