DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   Walls and Ceilings (
-   -   Walls & ceiling problems & advices (

condoowner 04-15-2012 12:15 PM

Walls & ceiling problems & advices
3 Attachment(s)
Hey there,

SO Ive started doing some work in my new place, and I decided to attack the drywall issues before I start painting. Later on, I will also ask for opinions about painting and sealing cigarette smell but before, I need to fix the cracks, bulging and poke marks on the walls/ceilings.

My place has a cathedral ceiling and an upper mezzanine. The bulding is about 6 years old and the inspector who looked at the place before I buy told me that there was an issue that had been fixed with the roof trusses. As a result, the walls (2) and cathedral ceiling have lightly suffered from it with very fine cracks but most importantly some drywall tape that has bulged and some nails that are showing thru.

For the nails, I am comfortable. For the cracks and bulging, I am not comfortable right now. Thats why Im asking!

First problem:

Basically, there is a location (seems to be right on a drywall seam) where there are 2 very fine vertical cracks running up & down. They are about 30 in long. They are spread apart by about 1.5in.. I have decided to use a razor blade, and at an angle, cut the plaster from both sides of the crack in a V-groove fashion to remove the cracked plaster and re-patch. Now I am looking on the internet, and I see that the cracks will probably come back if not properly fixed. Am i screwing up? How should I fix that? See picture 2. Cracks were where its now white.

Second problem:

At the junction between the cathedral ceiling and the dividing wall (its a condo), there is a significant crack (see picture 1). Plus, the tape has completely peeled off. The crack on the ceiling/wall (at angle) seems more serious than the one running down on the wall. How do I fix that?? The inspector has assured me that there are no structural problems with the building. Was he right? See picture 2

Third problem:

At some locations (all on the ceiling), the drywall tape has bulged for several inches long. See pictures 2 & 3. How do I fix that?

Any help , advice, opinion or tips are GREATLY appreciated!

As usual, thank you!!


00Mike 04-15-2012 03:37 PM

It's hard to believe a professional did the drywall in this room. The bulging tape is caused from not getting enough mud on the back side when installed. The back of the tape must have mud on it or will bubble as yours has done. You squeeze most of it out as you go along let it dry and put your second coat on. I do one side of the corner at a time from the 2nd coat on as, although I have professionally installed drywall, I'm more proficient at wood working. As Clint would say, "A man's got to know his limitations". Having said that, I've done a lot of drywall. If it were my wall I would cut out the tape that has the bubbles and /or is cracked and re-tape. Some of the more proficient tapers on this site may have a short cut you can use instead but, that's how I do it.

There is a mesh tape (the stuff I use is a blue color) you can get that is sticky enough to adhere to the wall without mud. It's made for this type of repair. You put it over the grooves prior to applying mud. Use progressively wider trowels as you put on the successive layers of mud (I do 3 coats). The widest trowel I use is 12" for the last coat so it feathers out to about 20" making the repair virtually impossible to see.

condoowner 04-15-2012 05:14 PM

Re-taping is the only way to go?

Do I have to tear off everything (all the tape and mud) and redo? Sounds like an AWFUL long and tough job? As I understand it, the tape is supposed to take any axial load between the drywall sheets. That being said, I agree with re-taping as just adding some mud wont flex or accommodate movement as well and will crack again..

Can I just tape on top and mud over it?


It's hard to believe a professional did the drywall in this room.
Its hard to believe a professional built this place. Period....

nealtw 04-16-2012 01:01 AM

I think Mikes suggestions are on point. Things may have moved a little while drying out, or some other problem with the mud or installation of the tape. If it happens again you have much bigger problems with structure.
I would like to know what the problem was with the trusses and how it was fixed. I find that a strange statement for him to make as the trusses are designed by an engineer and inspected by others, so I don't know what correction he would have seen.

condoowner 04-16-2012 05:05 AM

All I know for now, and now that I remember, is that the previous owner mentioned the trusses problem to the inspector when we looked at the place before I purchase.. I went to the attic last week to fish a network cable and something caught my attention.

There are pieces of lumber (2x4) screwed at regular intervals between the two adjacent trusses. One of them seems to have snapped in a pretty violent way as one of the halves was flipped around and where it broke doesnt look like a clean cut but rather the kind of breakage you would see when you break a piece of wood by hand.. I am not sure of the purpose of these but I assume they are meant to take any side loads which would mean that the one which broke was over compressed (cant imagine in tension it would be way too much).

Next time I got a chance to poke the attic, Ill take a picture. Also Ill ask the other owners to get more info.. Not sure if anything has been fixed as the cellulose insulation looked original all over the place so I dont think anybody has been there since construction...

In the meantime, Id like to move forward with the taping job... Should I or this will occur again and have to be redone in 3 months?

nealtw 04-16-2012 10:57 AM

When trusses are installed, there are all kinds of extras called for. Tee braces stuffiners, webbing, cross bracing, angle bracing and boards just scabbed on for a ladder effect. Most house framers will have a pile of warped twisted cracked and broken lumber laying around and they get to use all that stuff in the trusses.

00Mike 04-16-2012 12:04 PM

I don't think it's necessary to tear off everything but you can't just tape and mud over the existing bubbled tape. The bubble would just telegraph through the new layer. Carefully use a razor knife to cut out the bubbles, make sure the remaining tape is still secure and then apply new tape and mud (note: it may be wise to moisten the area prior to installing the new tape). Use at least a 5" trowel on the last pass to feather out the mud to a smooth finish. Do one side of the corner and wait for the mud to dry before doing the other side. Do not try to do the opposite side of the corner while the mud is still soft on the 1st side or you will ruin it. Do not over sand. If you carefully apply the mud in thin layers you will be able to get away very minimal sanding. Use a drop light or work light on it's side at one end of your job to find low spots. The light will throw shadows that highlight the dips. Mark the dips with a pencil and fill them in with a final layer of mud.

If the inspector says everything is solid now you should be ok with retaping the corner in photo #1. Is it possible the crack was there before they taped the joint? Sometimes, if a small gap will be covered by the tape, the installer will just leave it. If done correctly, it doesn't show when finished. Seeing how many spots they missed in the other photos I wouldn't be surprised if they left mud off the entire back of the tape along that corner. Tape must have mud along the entire width and length to avoid bubbles! You must take time to "squeeze" most (not all, just - most) of the mud out from behind the tape when applying the 1st coat of mud. Wait for the mud to completely harden before applying the next coat.

The only exception to applying mud first is when you use mesh tape. The mud goes through the mesh as you apply the 1st coat and binds it to the wall. I've never used mesh tape in corners though some professionals may, I don't know. It's been awhile since I've done it and there may be new products out there I'm not aware of.

Good Luck.

condoowner 04-17-2012 05:37 PM

1 Attachment(s)
OK while Im waiting to hear back from the other owners and we decide to get an inspection done on the roof structure, I started the tape job.... I've peeled off one of the bubbles and this is what I could see:

there is a significant gap (about a quarter inch) between the drywall sheets
the tape peeled off VERY easily (almost on its own weight)

Seems the top sheet moved inward about an eight of an inch which caused the tape to bulge inward...

What should I do?

nealtw 04-17-2012 06:08 PM

I would continue to remove the bad tape and post pictures of all of that. This might be a bigger fix than a first timer wants to learn on.

condoowner 04-18-2012 05:39 PM

6 Attachment(s)
Ok So i've managed to remove all bubbled tape and everything that looked "odd" to me... What I mean by Odd is tape that looked bulged, swollen or not flat. There is still some of it that looks bulged but presssing on it VERY hard does not reveal any movement or gap underneath... Not sure but I think the builder may have put too much mud underneath and it looks like a speed bump now...

Anyways, here's a few pics of it all.. I've added notes in red to explain what I see

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:31 PM.