DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Walls and Ceilings > Textured ceiling cracks?




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Old 04-10-2012, 01:41 PM  
turneyreed
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Check as JPLSTER (is that Jet Propulsion Lab?) and joecaption suggest. It would take a significant amount of condensation in order to cause the damage that's seen in your photo. The question that follows that would have to be-Why, if the damage is caused by condensation, are there no other damage in other areas with the same lack of sufficient insulation? Or is it a patch over a plaster ceiling as joecaption asks? I'm West Coast, so am not as familiar with plaster, but have done remodels that had lath and plaster. Your photo shows a cracking pattern that suggests that the ceiling material has become wet enough to deform due to water and gravity; it's 'drooping'. Can't help but feel that you have had some sort of water leak that was significant enough to saturate the drywall to the point of losing it's integrity and deforming due to that loss and gravity. If it was only condensation involved, I don't think that it would have caused as much damage as what is shown; more likely that it would have been restricted to the paper backing of the drywall with resulting mold and mildew evidence. Check the attic side of the damaged drywall area. Does it show water stains on the paper backing? recognize and solve the source of the problem first; then you can probably place some blocking between the joists to screw the damaged drywall to and 'flatten' the 'droop'. Then a bit of new texture with a stipple brush and a coat of a water stain blocking primer. (My first post here, so- over thirty years in construction, anything and everything residential with some commercial, three years teaching Construction Trades at Community College level, now having the resulting overuse injuries affecting my body...)



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Old 04-11-2012, 10:15 PM  
hartzog86
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Let me tell you one I had that looked simular. house built in 73 and originally used electric heat in the ceilings which consisted of a layer of sheet rock, heating wires stapled on then another layer of sheet rock. I bought the house in 99 and did away with the electric heat and installed a gas pack. In the master bedroom I ran a small window AC unit to cool the room and to provide a masking noise since I work nights and sleep days. I also installed a ceiling fan and it ran on high all the time.
Now that I have set the scene, in 2010 I noticed some cracks such as yours about half way between the ceiling fan and the wall, about 6 months later I get a call at 3:00am from my wife screaming that the roof had fell in on her. Well she was half right. The lower of the two layers of sheet rock had let go and practicly the whole width and length fell on her in the bed leaving the first layer and the old electric heating wires still attached.
The insurance adjuster took samples and about a week later came in with this story. The ac unit had dried out the sheet rock to the point it was loosing its coheasiveness along with a minor vibration from the ceiling fan caused the lower layer of sheetrock to crumble around the supporting nails and falling leaving a small disc of sheetrock with a nail in it spaced about every 18 inches apart all over the room.
I have since taken samples from all the other rooms in the house and the sheetrock is fine every where else. Just a strang combination of circumstances and a unusual construction method came together to turn my wife into chicken little yelling the sky is falling.
Old sheetrock in a dry environment will try to turn back into the dusty powder it was made from, that may not be leak problem but may be a two dry problem.
Oh I have also seen a real heavy stipple coating crack with age also.



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Old 04-12-2012, 12:59 AM  
turneyreed
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hartzog86- I have to say that that is one of the strangest set of occurrences I've heard yet. I wonder what the probabilities are on your string of conditions and failures would be? I used to work on a set of late 70's condos that had electric radiant heat such as you described in all the ceilings. It was almost a steady job making repairs to the drywall cracks. But that was in a near coastal area, no problems with ever drying out too much. Typically, drywall doesn't have much of a moisture content as manufactured, around 5% or so. Are you located in an area with high humidity? If so, then the drywall could have had a higher moisture content prior to your use of your AC unit. An AC unit will definitely dry that air out though. And for the AC unit to transfer enough vibration over the years to the three or more ceiling joists and then to all the nails and basically pulverize the surrounding two layers of drywall. Man oh man! I can imagine that insurance adjuster talking your claim over with the other guys; and I have to give him credit for finding his way through to a cause. And even more credit to your wife not to move out of the house until all the ceilings were replaced! Do you remember if there was the discoloration similar to that shown in the photos? If so, then I need to dig deeper, it seems. With an over-dry condition I would not expect to see a discoloration along the crack, seemingly at it's lowest point where moisture would tend to concentrate. A trip back to the photos...

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Old 04-13-2012, 05:54 AM  
DepotProTom
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First I have a question. You state that the house was recently renovated. Did they put a new roof on the house? I have worked on numerous "old houses" with this same problem and each time it had a new roof recently put on. The old homes had a solid roof ( be it slate or shingle) and the attics were warmed "some" from the homes heat leaking through and they were dry. Really dry. Dry meaning no humidity or night time outdoor dampness. The new "better improved "roofs are ventalated at the top of the roof so as the keep the roof from building up mold and thus not rot but the problem is that they allow the outside air to directly infiltrate into your attic! This brings in the cold winter air directly to your attic causing it to now come in contact with the old lathe and plaster as it filters down! The now " really cold" wall contracts, cracks and picks up the dampness from the air causing the discolored cracks. The new roofing code requirements are wrong for older houses with lathe and plaster walls and ceilings but thats another story...
Your choices are this: Tear down the old lathe and plaster ceiling and walls and replace them with dry wall making sure to do it properly. Make sure to insulate the outlets well. Or you can place drywall over top of your existing ceiling making sure that you use long enough screws to get through both the exising lathe and plaster and into some solid wood. Do not waste your time trying to repair the damaged plaster as it will not work and only frustrate the dickens out of you... Hope this helps. Tom

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Old 04-16-2012, 02:46 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turneyreed View Post
hartzog86- I have to say that that is one of the strangest set of occurrences I've heard yet. -snipe- Are you located in an area with high humidity?...
zog wrote: Fairly humid, eastern NC


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Do you remember if there was the discoloration similar to that shown in the photos? ...
zog wrote: Yes there was some, not much but enough that when it first appeared I checked the attic for leaks, not finding any I figured it was either old damage or thick mud like bondo on a car does.
I have some photos I will try and find and post.

Zog
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:26 AM  
aureliconstruction
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I have worked with plaster for over 20 years. I can tell you that the crack is getting worse because most probably you have a calcimine ceiling. You have had a leak in that area and even if it were dry, once calcimine gets wets, it is over! Double check the roof and attic to make sure there are no leaks of penetrations. After you have confirmed that their are no holes in your roof or leaks, blue board and plaster, or sheetrock and tape over the ceiling.

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Old 06-22-2012, 12:41 PM  
turneyreed
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Aureli, I was unfamiliar with the name 'Calcimine', so looked it up. As far as a description goes, it is a chalk, glue, and water coating that was used to paint over plaster. It says that it is indeed very difficult to paint over, and that removing it is a problem. However, it does not mention that it is anything but a coating, not an ingredient of the plaster. I can see that the peeling of the calcimine coating might continue to occur, but in what manner does it affect the crack in the plaster itself? Asking about this for my own knowledge. Thanks..

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Old 06-22-2012, 08:58 PM  
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Thanks All. I suspect the issue may arise from old water damage (as suggested by several folks) and Tom's advice about new roofing. The house was built in 1951, and the roof was replaced in 2008, just before we bought it. There had been a leak in the vicinity, but it had been fixed with the roof replacement.

My problem only occurs in the winter -- rain doesn't seem to have any effect, but temperature fluctuations do. Thus, I suspect Tom's theory about moisture differences due to a "new roof on an old house with plaster ceilings" may be the issue.

Now the question is how to fix this. This is the only spot in the entire house that is cracking; it's been two years, and this one has doubled in that time. I'm not inclined to replace the entire ceiling (well, have it replaced would be more honest -- this job's beyond me, at least to do right). Any thoughts as to how to fix this?

Thanks, all!

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Old 06-28-2012, 08:30 AM  
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I'm a paperhanger and I have one solution I believe in and that is wallpaper liner. It keeps spider cracks from returning and secures the other areas. While it is wet it relaxes and when it dries it draws tight but you should float the deeper valleys before hanging.
If you use vinyl over vinyl adhesive in the pre-paste it will adhere to glass if need be, much less plaster.
They have textured wallpaper liners that are ready to paint.




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Old 08-15-2012, 02:41 PM  
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insulation(alot) ridge ventilation if not in new roof line. or louvered attic vents with power fan on each end of house. make sure you replace the darker looking insulation is has lost its complete insulation value.



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