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homehelp123 10-08-2010 05:13 PM

new ceiling cracks
Hi, I have a question about ceiling cracks that I've noticed recently. We live in a 1970 ranch house with a crawlspace. Since we've lived here (11 years) there have been two long cracks that haven't changed at all in size (and look to have been patched by previous owners). Those seem stable.
What I noticed in the last few weeks are small straight ceiling cracks in a few different rooms. They start at the edge of the corner of a wall, and appear to be just along possibly a tape line. It's possible they've been there a long time and we hadn't noticed, because we haven't painted those ceilings for years. Previous owners scraped popcorn ceilings and we've repainted them years ago when we bought the house. I'm wondering if these are something to be concerned about or if it could have something to do with paint?

oldognewtrick 10-08-2010 08:02 PM

Post a pic of the area if you can.

budro 10-09-2010 05:52 AM

could be you just never noticed them. it does bring up an issue in the construction business i have not found a definite answer on. i would ask for comment from the pros here too. over the years i have been called to houses where the spray ceiling and sometimes the tape is coming off of garage ceilings. in some houses maybe three to five years old, in some twenty years old. the great debate is how come? we have guessed it was from people leaving their garage door open and moisture coming in, then drying, then again, weakening the mud over time. another guess is the ceiling initially was worked in cold weather and the water in the mix froze that night compromising the integrity of the mud. could it be a combination of the two? everyone has probably seen this problem in someones garage over the years. anyone have a for sure answer? budro

inspectorD 10-09-2010 08:29 AM

I have found the combination of the hot to cold in winter, and the heat of a garage unvented ceiling in the summer.
Also contributing to the effect is the garage door openers that rattle the rafters and the weight of the doors themselves.

That's been my experience.:)

homehelp123 10-09-2010 11:28 AM

I haven't had a chance to get a picture yet, but these cracks are actually in the house not in the garage although I have noticed the same thing in the garage. I was less concerned about the garage although I guess the weather could contribute to both.
The cracks are just inches long (so far) but I've marked them to see if they get any bigger and definitely seem to follow a line like the tape. I guess I always worry that it could be something more serious than the change in weather causing ceiling cracks.

commonsensehandyman 10-12-2010 01:01 PM

If you have a humidifier in the house in the winter, it could be putting too much moisture. Also, check the insulation in the attic to determine if there is insulation over the ceiling area where the cracks are. If there is a soffit vent right in the area on the outside of the house, it could have blown insulation away from that area and moisture could be getting in the sheetrock. It's more of a moisture problem, not a structural problem.

homehelp123 10-12-2010 01:24 PM

Thanks all for your input. commonsensehandyman we don't use a humidifier in our home. We are actually having someone out to check our attic insulation anyway to see if we need more added. The cracks aren't near any soffit vents. The only change to our attic area would be a new roof almost 4 years ago, a new ridge vent was installed at the time. We thought that would improve the ventilation up there.

binahweb 10-12-2010 11:51 PM

Maybe your house has shifted and the underlying framing is showing the stress at the cracks.. Any new homes or other construction, flodding etc. in your area that could cause shifting or settling. Also have seen this in really old homes where rot has caused members to sag and stress other parts.. (hopefully its just moisture, but maybe have to look deeper)..

nealtw 11-08-2010 10:35 PM

were the joints taped or did some one cheat with popcorn. the ceiling joist have probably sagged over time and this woud pull the joints find a long staight edge hold it against the ceiling and see the sag. probably not serious but should make sure you don't have something broken in the attic, joist or rafter.

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