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  1. #1
    Chrissy Mosley's Avatar
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    Default ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Yes, our entire living room ceiling collapsed. Our living room is under the attic, so we think it was chord flexing of the trusses. Any thoughts? It was on a very hot day, all at once.

    Also, just curious, but house was built in the 70s (maybe '73?) What was code back then for putting up a ceiling? It was nailed up and I know that was normal, but what size nails? What did the spacing need to be? I'm just wondering if it fell because it wasn't done properly or if this could basically happen to anyone.

    Thanks!

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  2. #2
    Joe Suelter's Avatar
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Did just the sheetrock fall?


  3. #3
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Had somebody been up there recently? When you say the "entire ceiling" I'm trying to picture this.... do you really mean the whole thing? From corner to corner, edge to edge? Or, is it just a section?

    I don't see how an entire ceiling could collapse unless the whole thing was held up with one nail.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    I would guess the sheetrock had gotten damp at one time and got soft. Has the house ever gone with A/C for a long period of time or had some roof leaks? Was is a forclosure at one time?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Th only time I've seen entire ceilings collapse (when not due to another event) is with poorly installed or old, damaged plaster ceilings.

    Dom.


  6. #6
    Joe Suelter's Avatar
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    I doubt we'll ever know!


  7. #7
    Chrissy Mosley's Avatar
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Suelter View Post
    Did just the sheetrock fall?
    The drywall fell, wall to wall, in the living room, along with all the loose insulation above it. This shows part of it: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...4070sized1.jpg


  8. #8
    Chrissy Mosley's Avatar
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    I would guess the sheetrock had gotten damp at one time and got soft. Has the house ever gone with A/C for a long period of time or had some roof leaks? Was is a forclosure at one time?
    It had a roof leak a year or so ago when the HOA was replacing the roof and we had a storm, but this was just a tiny area and it was over a year old, and part of the area that had gotten wet did NOT fall. They ceiling and fiberglass felt dry when it fell and it was determined to be unrelated. It was never a forclosure.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Fastener spacing, moisture content in materials should be contributing factors.

    Nails or screws?

    Spacing between fasteners in field and seams?

    Visible corrosion on screw heads? If yes... what % and areas involved.

    Recent work or traffic in attic?

    Visible signs of demise prior to failure? Seams bucking / cracking etc

    If the debris is still in place and event was recent *and* you are considering that you have a need for additional documentation or additional input, hire an unbiased 3rd party (inspector) that is familiar with this type of damage and can take moisture readings where possible. If you're just curious and have or are able to get some closer and additional pics... safely.. of course, post 'em. The folks here will provide some excellent feedback.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Since the drywall has been in place for pushing 40 years, the construction defect angle isn't going to work so well. Having said that, I have seen many 70's townhomes with sagging drywall ceilings. They definitely did not believe in wasting nails back then. My guess is moisture, rust, age, softness in the drywall etc just all came together to let it happen.
    I posted pictures of a full ceiling collapse here a couple years ago. Woman had just walked out of the room and it came down.
    I would recommend checking the joists for good condition and moisture level prior to installing new drywall.

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  11. #11
    Bill Parrish's Avatar
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Hilti made some bad drywall adhesive back in the 1970's. As you may know, the main purpose of the nails in the ceiling drywall is to hold the drywall in place until the adhesive sets. Hilti's adhesive crystalized and failed over time, thus the eventual sagging.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    That must be a regional thing. I've never seen anyone use adhesive when installing a gypsum board ceiling.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  13. #13
    Chrissy Mosley's Avatar
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Parrish View Post
    Hilti made some bad drywall adhesive back in the 1970's. As you may know, the main purpose of the nails in the ceiling drywall is to hold the drywall in place until the adhesive sets. Hilti's adhesive crystalized and failed over time, thus the eventual sagging.
    Maybe that's what it was. The adhesive was totally dried out and didn't look like it was sticking to the gypsum at all. So perhaps the combination of bad glue and not enough nails to do the job alone (my dad was saying you can have less nails with adhesive, so they would have been more closely spaced in the absence of adhesive) along with truss lifting from the heat? Whatever the case, the rest of our ceilings are getting screws like 5-6 inches apart.


    ETA: Do you have any info on this adhesive issue?

    Last edited by Chrissy Mosley; 08-13-2011 at 09:47 AM.

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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy Mosley View Post
    Maybe that's what it was. The adhesive was totally dried out and didn't look like it was sticking to the gypsum at all. So perhaps the combination of bad glue and not enough nails to do the job alone (my dad was saying you can have less nails with adhesive, so they would have been more closely spaced in the absence of adhesive) along with truss lifting from the heat? Whatever the case, the rest of our ceilings are getting screws like 5-6 inches apart.


    ETA: Do you have any info on this adhesive issue?
    What did your insurance company say?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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  15. #15
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    That must be a regional thing. I've never seen anyone use adhesive when installing a gypsum board ceiling.
    Never heard of that before either. Gluing the ceilings in place? I am not a fan and never have been of 24 inches on center. I have always thought that to be some kind of joke on the main stream public. I am a believer of the minimum or 2 feet on center for the joists and 16 on center with 1x3 strapping or better than that 16 OC joists and 16 OC strapping. No sags, plenty of width for the nailing and structural more sound for the home twisting and turning . Three screws in the field minimum.

    Sometimes "the old way" of doing things IS better. Same thing with rafters. 16 inches on center.


  16. #16
    Chrissy Mosley's Avatar
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    What did your insurance company say?
    They don't cover a cent. They only cover collapse if you were in the middle of repairing it with faulty materials. Anything else has to come from the outside first, like rain/hail/wind that damaged the roof first.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    That must be a regional thing. I've never seen anyone use adhesive when installing a gypsum board ceiling.
    From the Gypsum Association GA-216 Application and Finishing of Gypsum Panels:
    - 7.4 On ceilings or if adhesive properties are such that there is no positive bridging between the gypsum panel product and the wood framing, either temporary field nailing or temporary bracing shall be provided as required to assure contact between the gypsum panel product, the adhesive, and the framing face until adhesive bond develops. Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer of either the gypsum panel product or the adhesive, fastener spacing shall be as specified in Table 7.

    (I am not sure this table will come out looking like it should.)
    - Table 7.
    - Fastener Spacing with Adhesive or Mastic Application and Supplemental Fastening
    - - - - - - - Ceilings - - - Load-Bearing Partitions - - - Nonload-Bearing Partitions
    - Framing - - Nail - Screw - - - Nail - Screw - - - - - - Nail - - - Screw
    - Spacing - Spacing -Spacing - Spacing - Spacing - - - Spacing - Spacing
    - in. (mm) - in. (mm) - in. (mm) - in. (mm) - in. (mm) - - in. (mm) - in. (mm)
    - 16 (406) - 16 (406) - 16 (406) - 16 (406) - 24 (610) - - 24 (610) - 24 (610)
    - 24 (610) - 12 (305) - 16 (406) - 12 (305) - 16 (406) - - 16 (406) - 24 (610)


    Without adhesive, the nail is 8" spacing on the walls and 7" spacing on the ceiling, with double nailing allowed at 12" spacing between pairs of nails 2" to 2-1/2" apart, and screws at 12" spacing.


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  18. #18
    Chrissy Mosley's Avatar
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Oh, thanks, that's helpful.

    My husband went in today to check on the ceilings that are still up and he said the one in our daughter's room was really sagging quite a bit. Terrible!


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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Since you're saying that the insurance will not cover the job, and it is going to cost you out of pocket; it may make sense to send a crew in there to secure whatever ceiling has not collapsed yet. I would double screw everything. Find the beams, strike lines, do every ceiling.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    The sky is falling...

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    The sky is falling...
    my facebook status update immediately afterwards...


  22. #22
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Sooo... were you in the room when it fell?

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  23. #23
    Chrissy Mosley's Avatar
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Sooo... were you in the room when it fell?
    No, we were all downstairs (myself, husband, and 2 kids). We just saw the drywall and fiberglass rolling down the stairs. That was interesting.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    No way...! Good thing you were downstairs. Must have sounded like a train in the house.

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    For the whole ceiling to fall it would need to be 4x8.
    (lets see a picture)


  26. #26
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    For the whole ceiling to fall it would need to be 4x8.
    (lets see a picture)
    I posted a picture above. Is there something else you needed to see?


  27. #27
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Did not see it in the first post.
    Amazing as if they were held with brad nails or the whole thing got saturated.

    Hard to say much from the picture though I can see where some of the nails were due to the insulation caught on them.

    Not sure about the adhesive thing as I do not see it being used.


  28. #28

    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Wow all I can do is agree with most of what has been written already. First, Add screws to all other rooms ceiling to prevent this from happening again Use a stud finder and dry line to hit the rafters do not use a chalk line or you will need to apply a stain sealer to cover the Chalk prior to painting. In the room where the ceiling fell you can upgrade the insulation and hang new drywall. Unless you are a pro I would recommend hiring someone to do the taping. (Did you old ceiling have "Pop Corn"...if it did it may have contributed to the failure.
    Good Luck

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    That old popcorn, textured plaster, may have asbestos in it, so you should be careful how you clean it all up - no dust.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  30. #30
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Chrissy, where in the united states are you. In Michigan in the early 70's some contractors were putting up two layers of 1/2 drywall on the ceilings. Over time one layer would sag (adhesive) and sometimes pull the other layer down. There used to a website that showed that.
    So...single layer on the ceiling?

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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    severe sag may require temporary furring with screws long enough to hold drywall in place (tight against joists) until new screws are securely fastened so stress breakage does not occur
    actually have seen properly laid out furring left in place, if this is your thing

    pic is an example furring screws will need to be longer than 2" as depicted


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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Chrissy,
    From what I see in the picture you provided, it would appear that you have a pre-fab truss (due to gusset plates on end of cord). Though they look like 2x6 the following seem to be true in my experience.

    The drywall was nailed to the bottom cord. Over time the temperature and moisture changes in the attic cause the cord to expand and contract along with twisting and bowing. This movement of the cord causes the nails to back out over time. Nailing was the norm and acceptable method of attachment. l have spent years reattaching drywall that has come loose due to nailing (nailing pattern did not seem to make a difference with the only exception of double nailing. nails set 1.5 to 2 inch apart ).

    I personally like to install blocking between the truss cords to stiffen the cords (not required by code or manufactures). Furthermore I also promote screwing and gluing drywall, sub-floor and sheathing.

    Newer 2x4 truss construction flexes alot creating many issues over time. Had a recent experience of a garage ceiling (partial 4x12 section) dropping. Upon inspection found that the rest of the ceiling drywall nails were backing out. The ceiling was only nailed. Even screwing and glueing on a 2x4 or a 2x6 cord that is not blocked, flexing will cause the drywall and cord to separate to some degree over time.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    most sheetrockers do not put enough nails or srews into walls or ceilings.
    code states 6 screws per stud on walls and 8 screws on ceilings.
    this is also USG manufactuerer recomendations as well.

    I know from runni9ng job sites that sheetrockers used to whine alot when I pointed out the code to them and made them comply.

    Mike


    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy Mosley View Post
    Yes, our entire living room ceiling collapsed. Our living room is under the attic, so we think it was chord flexing of the trusses. Any thoughts? It was on a very hot day, all at once.

    Also, just curious, but house was built in the 70s (maybe '73?) What was code back then for putting up a ceiling? It was nailed up and I know that was normal, but what size nails? What did the spacing need to be? I'm just wondering if it fell because it wasn't done properly or if this could basically happen to anyone.

    Thanks!



  34. #34
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy Mosley View Post
    I posted a picture above. Is there something else you needed to see?
    Actually you posted a link to a photo off-site in a subsequent post, you didn't post a photo here.

    That photo is quite insufficient regarding your quesitons and descriptions, and viirtually nothing specific can be devined from it.

    Yes, need to actually see the structure and debris. Unfortunately your photo even enhanced shows little, excepting a wall sconce and dark undetailed background superficial image of the mess.

    Strapping along the bottom truss chords to support the ceiling drywall. Dead wood at the walls.??? Nailing patterns are doubled in the field.

    Finally, ambiguous location, and reference to a HOA roof "replacement"? and damage referenced on post #8, despite having referred to as a "home" in first post. Questions abound as to if this is a "condo" type property or a "town home" type; as the former - the ceiling drywall would not be your responsibility - or your insurer's, but the HOAs - the paint forward would be yours. What type of trusses, roof, etc.

    You have also made no mention of alterations, signs of nail pops, previous or subsequent to the "roof work" or other projects.

    I think I am seeing loose blown pink mineral wool/fiberglass insulation not batt, and would not assume all is original, as early 70s insulation levels not nearly what later 70s and later was common anywhere due to the cheap perceived cost of energy back then.

    I am further curious as to the "roofing" project IIRC within the last year or so, and potential alterations associated therewith in addition to the water and/or wind damages you indicated were sustained at that time. Such as roofed over ducts/vents potential, blocking or restricting of attic ventillation, additional loading on the trusses, etc.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 08-18-2011 at 08:53 PM.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: ENTIRE CEILING COLLAPSED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Derrick View Post
    most sheetrockers do not put enough nails or srews into walls or ceilings.
    code states 6 screws per stud on walls and 8 screws on ceilings.
    this is also USG manufactuerer recomendations as well.
    Mike,

    You did not word that quite right - neither the code nor the US Gypsum Association, or the manufacturers, says anything about "6 screws per stud on walls and 8 screws on ceilings", instead they give maximum on center "spacing".

    As I posted previously above:
    - For nails on walls, the maximum on center spacing is 8 inches. Now, if you have a 48 inch wide board, you are probably saying something like 'Yeah, that's what I said, 6 nails, because 6 nails at 8 inch spacing equals 48 inches.', but ... you would be forgetting the first nail, meaning there would be 7 nails in the 48 inch wide gypsum board on the wall.
    - For nails on ceilings, the maximum on center spacing is 7 inches. Now, if you have a 48 inch wide board, you are probably saying something like 'Yeah, that's what I said, 8 nails, because 7 nails at 7 inch spacing equals 49 inches.', and that includes the first nail.
    - But ... you said "screws", and "screws" are allowed to have a greater maximum on center spacing.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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