Cracking/Crumbling Drywall Above Kitchen Cabinets

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_Dan_

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The cracks shown in the pictures are around the part of the wall in my kitchen that sits atop the cabinets, near the ceiling. It's been like that since I first moved in almost four years ago, and I'm not entirely sure what caused it in the first place. What would cause that, and how should I go about repairing it?
 

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Sparky617

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It is likely caused by seasonal movement. Is this a ranch house with truss a truss roof directly above the kitchen? It could be caused by "truss uplift" which is caused by the 2x4 bottom cord of your truss expanding and contracting with the difference in heat/cool between the conditioned living space below and and unconditioned attic above. Or it could just be a sloppy drywall job. Cut out the bad paper tape, and loose compound, use some mesh or self-adhesive tape and re-mud the corners. I like this tape, makes it very easy to do both inside and outside corners for the non-professional. I can tape an inside corner with one coat using this tape, and get a nice straight corner. Much easier than just using regular paper tape. To me the added cost is worth the reduced labor and rework.



More details on truss uplift here: Truss Uplift | Carson Dunlop Home Inspection.
 

_Dan_

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It is likely caused by seasonal movement. Is this a ranch house with truss a truss roof directly above the kitchen? It could be caused by "truss uplift" which is caused by the 2x4 bottom cord of your truss expanding and contracting with the difference in heat/cool between the conditioned living space below and and unconditioned attic above. Or it could just be a sloppy drywall job. Cut out the bad paper tape, and loose compound, use some mesh or self-adhesive tape and re-mud the corners. I like this tape, makes it very easy to do both inside and outside corners for the non-professional. I can tape an inside corner with one coat using this tape, and get a nice straight corner. Much easier than just using regular paper tape. To me the added cost is worth the reduced labor and rework.



More details on truss uplift here: Truss Uplift | Carson Dunlop Home Inspection.
Sorry for the delay! Thank you for your response! My home is a two-floor condo, with me on the ground and another home above me. I feel like it could be either of the issues you mentioned, though, because I've had a few other expansion-contraction cracks in other rooms that I've been repairing. When you say to cut out the loose compound, do you mean I should actually break away the parts that appear to be crumbling? Would it just be a normal job of taping and spackling after that?
 

Sparky617

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The third picture is a bad tape seam. The tape wasn't bonded to the base coat of mud and lifted. I wet my tape before I bed it in the mud and find this helps. You need to get rid of that tape and start over. On the outside corners there is a metal corner bead installed before the mud. Break out any broken mud and make sure the corner bead is securely fastened to the wall. Adding a layer of tape can help. They make a self adhesive paper tape that works well. I find fiberglass tape to be a pain to work with, I use it occasionally but it your taping knife catches a strand it will pull it through your mud.
 

_Dan_

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The third picture is a bad tape seam. The tape wasn't bonded to the base coat of mud and lifted. I wet my tape before I bed it in the mud and find this helps. You need to get rid of that tape and start over. On the outside corners there is a metal corner bead installed before the mud. Break out any broken mud and make sure the corner bead is securely fastened to the wall. Adding a layer of tape can help. They make a self adhesive paper tape that works well. I find fiberglass tape to be a pain to work with, I use it occasionally but it your taping knife catches a strand it will pull it through your mud.
Makes total sense, and I think I might actually have all the materials I need already. Sounds like it might even be simpler than I anticipated. Thank you so much for your guidance!
 
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