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nova 02-26-2012 10:18 AM

Textured ceiling cracks?
1 Attachment(s)
Hi All,

I'd appreciate any thoughts on how to repair some cracks in my living room ceiling. They've been there for about a year, but have started to grow substantially this winter -- they must have doubled or tripled in length.

I've completely ignored these cracks, but now that they're expanding, I wonder if what steps I can take to stop the progress.

For reference, the attached image shows an area of about three feet across.


oldognewtrick 02-26-2012 10:53 AM

How close is this to an outside wall? What is directly above this area, attic or living space, any plumbing or vent pipes near by?

nova 02-26-2012 04:44 PM

The attic is directly overhead.

I do not believe there are any pipes or sources of water in that area.

I'll go take a peek in the attic, just to make sure.

oldognewtrick 02-26-2012 06:58 PM

How close is this to the outside wall? What part of the country are you in? Go up in the attic and look for wet insulation and damp spots on the underside of the roof deck.

sandbuoy 03-05-2012 05:42 AM

If I had to guest from the picture alone, I would say you have a small leak. Just enough to dampen the insulation and get the cieling moist.

Rwh56 03-06-2012 02:31 PM

The discoloration on some of the cracks strongly suggests moisture is the cause. If it is moisture, then you will need to stop the leak and let it dry out before you can stop the spread or begin a repair.

nova 03-10-2012 07:15 PM

2 Attachment(s)

Sorry for the delay. I went up into our attic, which is directly above the cracks. The area is dry; the eaves above the spot as well as the pink insulation were both dry. (That's the area shown in the closeup picture, just "north" of the recessed light fixture. The difference in color is due to a nearby window. Up close it's all the same).

wonder if poor insulation didn't cause the cracks. As the attached pics show, the insulation in my attic leaves something to be desired. We bought this house after a renovation, including a new roof. However, it appears that new insulation was not part of the renovation. Perhaps the difference in temperatures between a chilly attic and a nice, warm house led to expansion cracking? The cracks are right next to some recessed ceiling light, perhaps also leading to some heating of the surrounding ceiling?

I'd appreciate any thoughts as to:
(1) my theory;
(2) how I can/should fix the cracks;
(3) whether/how I should upgrade our insulation.

Again --many thanks to all for your help!

joecaption 03-11-2012 10:58 AM

Check to see if it's just the drywall compound that's failing.
Is it A plaster ceiling?
Often times people try and just cover up failing plaster with a texture instead of taking the time to fix it right.

AHoward 03-19-2012 07:12 PM


It may be related to your lack of insulation in the area of these cracks though not due to the thermal expansion you mentioned. Ideally your attic is a cold air space, if it is properly insulated.
During the winter it may have become so cold that you got some condensation against the drywall causing sagging and cracking and the appearance of your moisture.

If this is the case replace the damaged drywall and plaster and also have the space properly insulated to prevent a repeat next winter.

This is just my educated guess however :)


JPLSTER 03-21-2012 06:09 AM

Yes, It does appear to be a condensation problem. The edge of the cracks appear to be discolored. If you have a sheet rock sealing. go in the attic and pull up the insulation around the offending area. Check the paper on the back of the sheet rock for discoloration, compared it to an unaffected area. You will see a water stain. Yes your attic is under insulated, unless it is on a breezy tropical island.

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