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b1garloc 08-14-2011 05:10 PM

Ceiling beam cracking
4 Attachment(s)

I have a 24'x24' family room with vaulted ceilings. The boxed in beam in the middle highest part of the room is cracked. This happened over the winter and I got some ceiling repair putty and filled in the crack all the way across the beam, sanded it smooth and painted it. Over the past couple months the crack has reappeared. How would I go about fixing this correctly so the crack does not comeback? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have attached a few pictures so you can see it's current state.


oldognewtrick 08-14-2011 05:28 PM

What you are seeing is casing that was applied over the beam to finish it out. Uneven expansion has caused the joints to break loose. If you use a hard filler like Spackle or joint compound as soon as you get flex or movement it will crack again.

I'd suggest taking a 5-1 painters tool. Clean out the joint and apply painters caulk. This will stay a little more flexible should you have any movement and be more resistant to future cracking.

Oh, and:welcome: to House Repair Talk!

nealtw 08-15-2011 11:14 AM

How old was the house when this showed up the first time and what else has been happening.

BridgeMan 08-15-2011 01:54 PM

You also might want to consider shooting a few* brads through the outside vertical members into the midpoint (thickness-wise) of the horizontal piece. They will tie things back together, and minimize the likelihood of future cracks occurring.

*OK, more than a few--say, one every 8" or so on each side, alternating.

b1garloc 08-15-2011 08:35 PM

Thanks for the info guys. The house was built in 1959. The family room was extended and the vaulted ceilings added sometime during early 90s. We've only owned the house since November 08. The house was a foreclosure and trashed. Someone bought and remodeled the whole house and we bought it from them. There have been some problems since we've lived here. They opened up a wall in-between the kitchen and living room to open the house up. The archway that they created has started to crack similarly overhead. Its not as noticeable because of the beige paint.

Would it make sense to put screws in to tighten up the joints?

nealtw 08-15-2011 09:22 PM

Where is this beam in relation to the new archway they installed? Lets have some pictures of that.

Snav 08-18-2011 06:20 AM

Yeah - I agree. what's happening here might be due to improper support for the load. Though it could be purely cosmetic and easy to fix - like the facing pulling away a little (no big deal). But if it's structural there's a concern for cracking and failing of the beams overhead. The solutions for this varies depending on what the interior support structures look like.

Did this improvement pass inspection? Do you have access to an attic for a look at the overhead supports? What's under the house - crawlspace, slab?

However - sag regardless of overall strength of a beam is normal to a small degree - 1/4 of an inch in the center isn't a structural concern (usually) if it's adequate for the load - but it creates a cosmetic eyesore.

What you should probably do - I would, anyway - is take a long level and draw a perfectly level line on the side of the beam with a pencil - then monitor this to see if it's continuing to sag or if it sagged a little, once, and that was enough to crack the finished surface. . . and use that to help determine what to do next.

b1garloc 08-18-2011 04:20 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the continued advice. The house is a ranch with a full basement. The family room and master bedroom were added on to and there is a crawlspace under those. The family room is off the back corner of the kitchen, down to 2 steps from the rest of house. The crack in the archway is off the other side of the kitchen and there is basement under it. There is an attic but I can't really see any of the beams above the family room when I'm up there. I don't think the two are related. I added some pictures.

nealtw 08-18-2011 05:46 PM

Ok this is a better photo, the corner bead has come loose from the drywall and needs to be ripped down and replaced, not a big deal. The question is what has caused this and hopefull it was just a poor job when it was done. The corner bead covers the drywall for about 1 1/2" on each side of the corner. It is held on with screws, nails and some times it is just stuck there with filler.

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