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  1. #1
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    Default Unexplained crack in drywall

    I was called out to give an opinion on why this drywall cracked like it did. Anybody have any ideas on why this drywall cracked like it did? This is the interior drywall corner of an exterior wall. I pulled up the carpet and there are no cracks in the concrete slab floor. I checked the exterior foundation and it is solid with no cracks. The exterior siding is tight with no cracks or seperations. I'm at a loss.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Based on the info supplied a little more insight would help

    Age of house?

    On which facing exterior wall was this on?

    Based on what I can see in the pics i believe this is nothing more than at best poor insulation or a breach of the vapour barrier.

    I had same situation in one of the second floor bedroom of my newly build hous in 1994 it was the corner facing north east and was just due to drying of drywall 1st paint job after contractor white fixed it and hasn't re-appeared since.

    cheers


  3. #3
    Vern Heiler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    From the pic's it does not look like there is any tape in the joint. No tape = cracks.


  4. #4
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Hard to tell from those pics and not much more descriptive info, but I suspect that it may be as simple as truss uplift. Looking at the 4th pic, there appears to be a tearing of the drywall tape in the corner as if the interior partition to the left has been lifted by the trusses.

    Knowing how old the home is and how long ago this happened would be good info.


  5. #5
    Rick Hurst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Bet it is a 20 yr. old plus home. Look at the baseboards. They have already been painted over and the corner is not even mitered. Looks like a poor job and probably the tape and bed joint install is substandard work.

    rick


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Daugherty View Post
    I was called out to give an opinion on why this drywall cracked like it did. Anybody have any ideas on why this drywall cracked like it did? This is the interior drywall corner of an exterior wall. I pulled up the carpet and there are no cracks in the concrete slab floor. I checked the exterior foundation and it is solid with no cracks. The exterior siding is tight with no cracks or seperations. I'm at a loss.
    "Popcorn/cottage" ceiling, probably 1970s house. Like Rick said, bad taping job. If that is all that has happened in (what I assume to be) 35 years, I would guess that taping and painting would correct it.

    CREIA CCI & Evil Genius
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  7. #7
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    From the pic's it does not look like there is any tape in the joint. No tape = cracks.
    That's what I noticed too.

    Rick suggested "Looks like a poor job and probably the tape and bed joint install is substandard work.", I agree because ... no tape = "a poor job ... substandard work."

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Thank you for your comments and input gentlemen, it confirms what I was thinking as well.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Cracks in wall coverings are usually the result of movement. Movement can result from soil conditions (cut & fill, adobe, etc.), drainage conditions, seismic conditions, wind & truss uplift, and load conditions. Then there’s just crappy workmanship, which looks like the root cause in the photos posted, and FWIW agree with the majority of the opinions offered.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  10. #10
    Phil Brody's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    There is some conflicting info with the pics. One shows a crack above a doorway yet another shows the crack at the base molding without a door ? Also the carpet tack nails look rusted perhaps indicating a moisture situation. A crack appearing after 35 years is not poor workmanship but due to movement. You can see tape pulls at the base molding but not above the door. Maybe the tape was omitted above the door. In any event an easy fix.


  11. #11
    Christopher Gorton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Caulk and paint may be an acceptable fix for that no tape inside corner.
    If there was any seasonal movement it could then move without cracking.


  12. #12
    Rick Hurst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Brody View Post
    There is some conflicting info with the pics. One shows a crack above a doorway yet another shows the crack at the base molding without a door ? Also the carpet tack nails look rusted perhaps indicating a moisture situation. A crack appearing after 35 years is not poor workmanship but due to movement. You can see tape pulls at the base molding but not above the door. Maybe the tape was omitted above the door. In any event an easy fix.
    Easy fix includes scraping out the old paint and tape. Sanding down the drywall. Applying tape and bed material and then floating out the drywall with joint compound. More sanding, more floating. Reapply texture. Then you can paint. Easy fix.

    rick


  13. #13
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Gorton View Post
    Caulk and paint may be an acceptable fix for that no tape inside corner.
    If there was any seasonal movement it could then move without cracking.
    Ah-mm

    How about fixing the seasonal movement. Homes are not designed to move enough to crack the drywall corners. If the were they would invent a no tape, no solid fill corner for all corners in the home. Homes breath, expand, contract but should be minimal. If it is more than minimal then a fix should be in the works. If it is a drainage issue outside then fix it. If the home needs foundation stabilization, fix it. But don't just run a bead of caulking up the corner and paint over it. That is what is recommended with tile work in the corners of showers and tubs but not for the semi flexible drywall and drywall compound and tape. I am sure in this case it is something minor and maybe nothing more than a lousy original tape job or just from natural settling to the home. In that case re-tape the corner and all done. As far a texture on walls. What is that anyway. I never saw so much wall texture and not just smooth walls in my life until I moved to the south. Yeah, I know, cheaper, faster crappy looking walls is what everyone has been sold on. How about a nice smooth finish, elegant looking home. Something that says great workmanship. Not this is the house that the slobs built. Jeez. I better stop that. I have lived in the south long enough that I am almost considered a southerner.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
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  14. #14
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Cracks are (obviously) from movement.

    However, when gypsum board properly taped (or taped at all), minor movement is taken up in the tape and does not show as an open corner.

    Movement significant enough to open a crack that far, if taped properly, would show up in the exterior wall (and Micheal reported that "I checked the exterior foundation and it is solid with no cracks.").

    That indicates to me, based on the limited information we have, and the limited photos we have, that the joints probably were not taped (no tape is visible).

    Those globs in the corner are (I suspect) joint compound. For those to be "tape pulls", that would mean the two walls would have had to have moved vertically in relation to each other, and have moved significantly (looks like an inch or so). Being as that is highly unlikely given the other information presented, I suspect that "the movement" was minor and that the reason for the open corners is no tape (or someone cut through the tape while finishing - it has been done frequently, just not all the way up and down, which leads me to suspect "no tape").

    The only way to suppose what is going on would be to first check the corners for tape, and, if taped, was the tape torn or cut?

    Walls do not move an inch or so vertically in relation to each other without something major going on, and evidence of that should be visible elsewhere too.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  15. #15
    Christopher Gorton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Ted, in this case the best looking finish would be to caulk the corner to avoid the crappy workmanship of a corner patch job. That would include applying tape and skim coating and feathering out the mud in the corner over the spray textured wall.
    If the existing wall has been painted more than once the texture depth is shallower than the new patch.
    Lets not forget to cover all the carpet due to drywall sanding.
    Then try to get the same consistency of the orangepeel texture as a patch, priming and painting not just the patch but both walls... then, likely painting the whole room so it will all match.
    I'm with Rick on the easy fix comment.
    Its an easy fix from my house.


  16. #16
    Rick Hurst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    I forgot to add in the 7 trips to the Home Depot or Lowes to keep picking up materials.

    rick


  17. #17
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Gorton View Post
    I'm with Rick on the easy fix comment.
    Except that the question was not about "the fix" and if it was hard or easy.

    The question was about ... "I was called out to give an opinion on why this drywall cracked like it did." ... "the why" it happened.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  18. #18
    Rick Hurst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Jerry,

    Seeing that this house is in CA. could it (the crack) have been contributed to that "seismic activity" those Californians refer too?

    Don't you like the way they never use the term earthquake?

    rick


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Yes you are right, we do get the occasional shaker, perhaps the house got "shook" and the foundation sustained its integrity.


  20. #20
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexplained crack in drywall

    Rick,

    I thought about those earth moving events, but, if the house was shaken, not stirred , enough to do that, then I would suspect that there would be visible evidence on the exterior walls/foundation/somewhere.

    Regarding their use of "seismic activity", I often use the term "high wind events" for those ... er ... um ... you know ... high wind event thingys we have here.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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