Walls & ceiling problems & advices

Discussion in 'Walls and Ceilings' started by condoowner, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. Apr 15, 2012 #1

    condoowner

    condoowner

    condoowner

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    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!!

    Cheers

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  2. Apr 15, 2012 #2

    00Mike

    00Mike

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    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.
     
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  3. Apr 16, 2012 #3

    condoowner

    condoowner

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    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?

    Its hard to believe a professional built this place. Period....
     
  4. Apr 16, 2012 #4

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    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.
     
  5. Apr 16, 2012 #5

    condoowner

    condoowner

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    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?
     
  6. Apr 16, 2012 #6

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    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.
     
  7. Apr 16, 2012 #7

    00Mike

    00Mike

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    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.
     
  8. Apr 18, 2012 #8

    condoowner

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    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?

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  9. Apr 18, 2012 #9

    nealtw

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    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.
     
  10. Apr 19, 2012 #10

    condoowner

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    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

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  11. Apr 19, 2012 #11

    CallMeVilla

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    Improperly applied drywall tape will do what you see. An insufficient bed of compound will allow the tape to bulge and separate. It does NOT necessarily mean a structural flaw in the condo. Remove and reapply the taping. A 1/4" gap is trivial for a drywaller but does show sloppy craftsmanship. Condos are not always the most carefully constructed buildings.

    Cannot speak to the truss issue without good pictures. I often add collar ties to truss and rafter framing in attics just for extra safety (call me an overbuilder).
     
  12. Apr 19, 2012 #12

    condoowner

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    Mmmm yeah so.. I hope there are no framing issues as its going to get more complicated and $$$$$$$$$$

    In the meantime I will see when we are getting the framing looked at, but Ill slowly start the tape job. First timer here, any step by step procedure?

    Any good tutorial? I feel comfortable to try but Id like to start right. Same for the tiling job I did last summer. I was a 1st timer too, and I asked here on Houserepair talk and got veryu good advices so I could do the job extremely well.

    So I need something like:

    1- scrape off all lose stuff,
    2-apply mud blablabla
    3-apply tape while.....
    4- mud again,
    5-let dry.
    ...
    You get the idea.

    Anybody with teaching skills here? Care to share? :)
     
  13. Apr 19, 2012 #13

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Anything loose wants to be removed. When you use paper you want to squeeze the compound and make it flat on the wall. As you won't have a flat wall I would use mesh tape that you stick on first. When filling, don't put to much on and smooth it out with the tool, don't leave it for sanding. Allow to dry and justs scrape off the highlites and use a bigger spachula on each coat. On the corners it is easier to finish one wall first and then do the otherside when the first is dry. The off angle corner between wall and vaulted ceiling will be bear, don't beat yourself up to bad, the pros have trouble with that one too.
     
  14. Apr 20, 2012 #14

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Vila: "I often add collar ties to truss and rafter framing in attics just for extra safety (call me an overbuilder)."
    If you want to overbuild trusses, just tell the truss company to design it for a house at the highest ski hill you can think of. You will be adding 500 feet of 2x4s and none of them will be coller ties. ;)
     
  15. Apr 20, 2012 #15

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    Good point @nealtw but I was referring to the many remodels I encounter where the weight loads in the attic are troublesome. I just add structure where needed as a safeguard.
     
  16. Apr 21, 2012 #16

    joecaption

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    It would be best to use this type of tape instead of reguler paper or webbed tape for those angles.
    http://www.straitflex.com/

    It has a backing in it that holds it straigher, it's just as easy to install as reguler drywall tape, it will span any of those gaps instead of leaving a bulge.
     
  17. Apr 21, 2012 #17

    Workaholic

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    Remove the loose stuff and anything that will contaminate your mud, big gaps should be prefilled, might want to drive some screws into the boards to make sure everything is nice and tight. I would stay clear of mesh for the corners as it does not crease into a nice line like the paper does. tape and apply three coats of mud, sand, prime and paint.
     
  18. Apr 23, 2012 #18

    condoowner

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    Mmmmmm ive hit the problems jackpot ... the mud job is going just fine but since a day or 2, I am hearing strange cracking noises in my bedroom. No jokes intended here. ;)

    First night it started it was not very loud but nevertheless I could hear an intermittent noise. Couldn't really figure where it was coming from.. then last night, I woke up and the noise is louder, more rapid and this time I could pinpoint the source if it.

    You see, the electrical wires (the main building power, phone and TV cable,) are attached to the building on the exterior wall just outside of my bedroom. When they swing ( due to wind) they make the wall crack. I can clearly hear this if I stick my ear on the wall next to where they are attached.

    What the h*** to do whit this?

    That's enough for me not to sleep, and anybody else will be the same..

    ?!??! ....
     
  19. Apr 23, 2012 #19

    nealtw

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    I will make a couple guesses you can check into.
    These power lines are on the gable end of the building, they are attached to the side of a truss.
    When the trusses are installed, bracess are added on top of the bottom cord of the trusses. They look like and are often called catwalks. They are put there to hold the trusses at 24" on center and hold the outside wall straight. These braces should be no further than ten feet apart. The one closest to the wire may have broke loose or one more is needed.
    At the center of the gable end truss an angle brace is installed from near the top of the trusse down to the catwalk, on really tall trusses more than one is needed to stop the wind from flexing the truss. If the wires are mid way up on a high truss you may need another angle brace just for keeping that part of the truss stiff.
     
  20. Apr 23, 2012 #20

    condoowner

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    The power lines are not tied to the building near the roof, but rather about mid-way between the floor & ceiling of the second story. You see this building has 2 condo units stacked on top of each other's. The first unit occupy the basement (below grade) and first floor, and my condo on top occupies the second floor (my first floor) and the third floor (my second floor). The lines are tied to the exterior wall right about my height (5ft 7in) from my bedroom floor. From my bedroom window, I can see the lines and where they tie to the building.

    There is a separating wall (to separate from the other condo) that happens to be one of my bedroom's walls. The power line ties about where both walls (the separating wall & outside wall) are merging. The lines might in fact be tied exactly where the separating wall is. Not sure but visually its pretty close. Last thing I will do is use a tape to measure where the lines are located. I don't want to "ride the lightning!!" ;)

    I have a small balcony on the second floor. When I stand on that balcony, I stand way above the lines. They are far from the roof & trusses.. Whatever is going on there, I think its getting worse since its now preventing me from sleeping well... A few days ago I thought it was my bed which was squeaking. The noise seemed to be coming from the mattress (you know when you move sometimes you can hear the springs moving back or the wood frame moving a bit), but last night, it was obvious it was coming from the wall where the lines are tied. Hard to describe, I keep saying "its like a squeaking noise" but in fact its more like an irregular vibration noise, kinda like a lose anchor in concrete.. anyways the noise matches exactly the movement of the lines from the wind..

    Tonight I will post some pics from outside and inside. You will get a better appreciation of the configuration.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012

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