Cracking ceiling and wall

Discussion in 'Walls and Ceilings' started by mechi, Feb 3, 2015.

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  1. Feb 3, 2015 #1

    mechi

    mechi

    mechi

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    Hi, I'm new here.
    The plaster on the ceiling and one wall of my kitchen is cracking and coming off, the cracks on the wall seem to be following a pattern (I included a photo to better explain). Would anyone know why this is happening, how to fix it and who would I call to fix it? On the other side of the wall is the garage wall made from those foundation concrete blocks.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Feb 3, 2015 #2

    bud16415

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    The wall seems to be recently painted. The cracks look to be fresh.

    Can you tell us the history of this wall? Do you live in a very cold place? How far back do you know the history of the wall?
     
  3. Feb 3, 2015 #3

    Big Red

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    That sure seems like an active crack. Do any of your doors seem to not close into the jamb anymore? Or windows too, which can mean a foundation shift.

    Is the block wall in the garage cracked as well?

    In the areas of cracking, is the plaster sagging and looking like it has separated from the lathe or wallboard?
     
  4. Feb 4, 2015 #4

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Welcome to the site. If the block wall is exposed I would like to see a photo of that. Do ytou have access to crawl space or basement where you can see the foundation under this area.
     
  5. Feb 4, 2015 #5

    mechi

    mechi

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    Thanks for the replies and welcome. The wall hasn't been painted in years. For several years the wall has had what appears to be some sort of indentations that look like thin vertical and horizontal lines crisscrossing each other, and since I would say last year hairline cracks began forming along some of those lines. I didn't notice the ceiling is cracking until today when I came across a piece of plaster on the floor.

    The other side of the wall is inside the garage, it's concrete blocks which don't have any cracks or anything unusual to my knowledge. There's stuff like shovels hanging on it. Underneath the kitchen wall is the basement, the basement wall in that area is drywalled with nothing unusual.

    Do you guys still want to see the wall from the garage side?
     
  6. Feb 4, 2015 #6

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    The fear is that something serious is happining and we would like to figure it out and hopefull find that is just a miner repair that is needed. We don't usually see a wall like that in the garage unless it wall built as an addition maybe. Can you measure how thick that wall is by looking at the door jam?
    Is there a room above or is it attic?
     
  7. Feb 5, 2015 #7

    mechi

    mechi

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    The house is a backsplit, there is an attic above the kitchen but not above the garage. I'm posting a photo of the inside of the garage. The back of the wall in the photo where you see it is stuccoed, the kitchen wall is on the other side. The part of the wall where you see the concrete blocks, there is an outside veranda on the other side with a brick wall. (the kitchen has sliding doors to the veranda). I don't know how thick the wall is.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Feb 5, 2015 #8

    nealtw

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    Do you think the garage was added sometime after the house was built, is the rest of the house concrete block?
     
  9. Feb 5, 2015 #9

    mechi

    mechi

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    No the garage was not added later, my Dad bought the house new around 38 years ago. I'm posting a photo of the kitchen wall from a distance so you can better see the indentations that look like horizontal and vertical lines going across the wall. The lines are spaced exactly 16 inches apart. I'm starting to think that it has nothing to do with the garage because I'm noticing the same kind of indentations on the ceiling in two of the upstairs bedrooms, except that they are very faint.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Feb 5, 2015 #10

    beachguy005

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    If you were down here in FL I would say a potential sink hole issue, but with your shovels, I can see you're up north. Where is the house located?
     
  11. Feb 5, 2015 #11

    nealtw

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    If the house has a roof built with truses the trusses do move up and don a little with season and today the ceiling would have thicker drywall and what you are seeing is usually why they do the textured spray.
    For 38 years we would expect to see 1/2 inch drywall but you could be looking at 3/8 and that would explain the lines but not the cracks.
    So we know the garage is a block structure,is the whole house built with block walls?
     
  12. Feb 6, 2015 #12

    Big Red

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    This whole thing looks very odd. The only time I saw something similar to this was a DIY drywall job done in a garage where the homeowner cut the drywall into small pieces for easier handling when he drywalled the garage himself. Of course, small pieces of drywall always fail because it can't support its own weight, that way.

    There was also a product used back in the 50's that was called rock lathe. It was the "new" way of taking over for the wood lathe in a plaster wall. It was made in smaller sheets than a 4x8 piece of drywall. I had it in my first house. I had cracks in a couple places in that house that sort of look like your crack. But the segments showing thru is something I've never quite seen before. However, 38 years ago is only 1977 and all houses were built with drywall----not rock lathe.

    Was this house built by a contractor or did the homeowner build it themselves. I've seen some really ODD things that homeowners have done!!! Myself--I'd be tempted to cut into a section of this wall and see what's going on. Seems the sections are not well-attached to the studs. If I had this problem I'd be tearing the wall out and re-drywalling it. And maybe the ceiling too. No matter how you cut it, that wall with all the segments needs to go.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015
  13. Feb 6, 2015 #13

    mechi

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    The house is brick, right by Lake Ontario in the Toronto suburbs. I don't know if the roof has truses, I don't even know what they are.

    Yes the house was built and bought from the contractor. If I knew what I was doing I would tear the wall down too. When I noticed those creases in the wall years ago I suspected shoddy workmanship. The house belongs to my Mom and she just wants to patch up the ceiling and the flaking plaster in the wall.
     
  14. Feb 6, 2015 #14

    nealtw

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    Just batching it is always a possibilty and is fairly dyi friendly, lots of help here for that.
    Some of us would like to know what caused it and have it fixed so it dosn't happen again.
    If you go for just patching, you would hire a drywalll guy or a good handyman, or some painters will patch things up before painting.
    And it is fair to say if we dig in and look around we not be able to figure it out.
     
  15. Feb 6, 2015 #15

    beachguy005

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    I would get a masonry contractor or even a home inspector in to take a look at it. New cracks like those in a house that old is pretty curious.
     
  16. Feb 7, 2015 #16

    Big Red

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    mechi--Oh, I understand now what your goal is. I didn't know your mom lives there and JUST wants the crack repaired. My experience with plaster cracks is that they don't repair well with something like joint compound unless the crack is totally static.

    There is a caulk called Big Stretch. I started out using this to fix truss lift cracks between the ceiling and wall in my house, and it has worked so well that I now use this caulk for everything. It can stretch without cracking, so it's very good for an active crack that is moving. A house is not a static thing--it moves around, especially under extremes of freeze and thaw cycles. When you live in very cold climes, you can sometimes get deep freezes with no snow cover on the ground and this is hard on structures.

    Get yourself some Big Stretch caulk--you might have to buy it online. Ace Hardware stores and some lumber yards carry it here in the States. V the edges of the crack with a utility blade, fill it in with the caulk--it may take a couple coats to fill it in all the way. Using an old credit card makes a good application tool. Ease the edge of the caulk to blend in with the ceiling while it's wet to make it more invisible, then paint when dry. I've been fixing cracks in houses for 40 years and this method seems to be the best that I've found.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
  17. Feb 8, 2015 #17

    mechi

    mechi

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    Thanks everyone for the helpful advice and information. And thanks Big Red for the caulking tip. My cousin is suppose to come around next week, he's not a pro but a pretty good handyman.
     
  18. Feb 8, 2015 #18

    nealtw

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    If you use the caulk that Big Red suggested, I would try some in a closet or someplace, to see if mom likes the finished product.
     
  19. Feb 10, 2015 #19

    mechi

    mechi

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    I don't understand what you mean by that. Are you saying the caulk will show through the paint?
     
  20. Feb 10, 2015 #20

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Big Red should tell us what to expect. I would be afraid it wouldn't be pretty. No I haven't used it.
     

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