Strange Cracks At Lower Stairway & Closet Wall

Discussion in 'Walls and Ceilings' started by ray7027, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Mar 10, 2014 #1

    ray7027

    ray7027

    ray7027

    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    I have a 28 year old bi-level. In the stairway on the lower part of the stairs t the wall below the steps there is a gap between the side of the steps and the drywall. Also outside of the coat closet at the top of the stairs there are bad cracks on the corners on the outside of the closet at the steps.

    I have checked under the steps and there is no sign of the concrete floor cracking or sinking. The steps themselves are level. As you can see in the pictures the trim around the top of the steps has dropped. However there are no cracks at oint where the closet wall and he ceiling meet.

    Any ideas on what the cause could be? Note the pictures posted turned to the left except the first one.

    IMG_1689.jpg

    IMG_1690.jpg

    IMG_1697.jpg

    IMG_1698.jpg

    IMG_1696.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  2. Mar 10, 2014 #2

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    23,892
    Likes Received:
    3,117
    How old is this damage? Did you have extra snow load this year?
     
  3. Mar 11, 2014 #3

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Well-Known Member Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Messages:
    2,471
    Likes Received:
    175
    If nothing is moving then you can patch but if these change over 24 hours or 12 months then a permanent fix will be more complicated.

    So, how to find out if these gaps are expanding or contracting, how much and how fast? I guess you can use drill bits as feeler gauges so you'll be able to see small changes.
    And with what force? If you fasten them will a new crack open elsewhere?

    That last pic is strange. It can't be compression damage because the whole surface would have buckled. Maybe something is trying to get out, a pipe, maybe.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  4. Mar 11, 2014 #4

    ray7027

    ray7027

    ray7027

    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    There is nothing in that wall. I'm thinking that maybe it is just improper work by the builder. Maybe the metal corners were not secured properly. There were small cracks on the corners for a while, but recently got to this point. I guess the only way to check stucture under the coat closet is to open up the drywall below. You go under the closet when you go down the last steps into the lower level. See first picture. I don't know why the trim moved.
     
  5. Mar 11, 2014 #5

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    23,892
    Likes Received:
    3,117
    There is often a bearing wall along side the staircase. A corner like that should have 2 studs nailed together in an (L) shape and if there is is bearing from above there would be more in the corner.
    To me, it looks like some at least bent enough to stretch the cornerbead out of shape, along with that you have found thing have moved maybe lower in the staircase. Is there a floor above this wall or is that attic space.
     
  6. Mar 12, 2014 #6

    ray7027

    ray7027

    ray7027

    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    There is no second floor. Above are the roof trusses. I can access it.
     
  7. Mar 12, 2014 #7

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    23,892
    Likes Received:
    3,117
    Trusses usually end on the outside walls but with some odd shaped house they change direction and sometimes land on bearing walls or are tied into a girder ( a girder can be one or more trusses nailed together, usually have a 2x6 bottom cord and always have other trusses or jacks tied to them). If this wall isn't supporting a girder or trusses, have a good look around for broken members in the trusses near this area.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  8. Mar 12, 2014 #8

    Drywallinfo

    Drywallinfo

    Drywallinfo

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    36
    In the lowest photo it almost looks like you have metal corner bead with paper tape up to the corner? If this is the case, then you could remove that paper tape entirely and fill. If you have metal (or vinyl) corner bead on and outside corner, there is no need for tape. See http://www.drywallinfo.com/outsidecorners.html
     
  9. Mar 13, 2014 #9

    ray7027

    ray7027

    ray7027

    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    There is no tape it is just the drywall compound. I checked all 6 outside corners I have in the house and there are small crackes on all of them. Most are along the point of the corner, but two of them have small cracks the same place as the bottom picture. I think now that the problem is poor work by the contractor. I am going to clean off the loose material at the bottom picture and check if the corner bead is attached properly.

    Thanks for all the help.
     
  10. Mar 13, 2014 #10

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    23,892
    Likes Received:
    3,117
    It may be just poor workmanship, or it could be a good clue that there are stucture problems, I would at least check it out. There will be a corner bead on the outside corners and paper on the inside corners.
     
  11. Mar 16, 2014 #11

    Drywallinfo

    Drywallinfo

    Drywallinfo

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    36
    Is the corner brace that is underneath metal type fastened with screws, or it is it the type that is metal covered with paper and flaps that is mudded on? I am guessing it is the type that is mudded on. Brace that is screwed on does not come up like that.
     
  12. Mar 16, 2014 #12

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    Housebroken Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,502
    Likes Received:
    267
    Wuzzat?, nealtw and bud16415 like this.
  13. Mar 19, 2014 #13

    ray7027

    ray7027

    ray7027

    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks inspectorD for the link. That sounds like my problem.
     
    nealtw likes this.

Share This Page