Ceiling drywall joints bulging and cracking

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Old 09-14-14, 04:36 PM
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Ceiling drywall joints bulging and cracking

Hello all,

I have a home which has an addition (built est 1987) that is having ceiling issues. The addition is roughly 21'x21' (includes an in law suite, bathroom and lots of closets. There are cracks/bulges between what seems like every drywall joint. The in law suite room where most of the problems occur is about 21'x11.5'. The ceiling joists are 2x6s. In the main room the joists are running the LENGTH of the room unsupported (21'). It seems to me that this span is way too long and causing the issues.

I could not tell how long the joists were due to insulation being in the way but I believe there are 2 12' joists running the length of the room nailed into each other and unsupported from below (I will try to investigate the actual lengths of the joists when I am ready to get dirty lol). I saw 3 2x6 joists running on top across the joists every 7 feet or so. It seems to me that the joists are fastened to these 2x6s which run perpendicular on top of them which is holding this ceiling structure together. You can see from my pictures that those joists on top are bowing. I also hear noises of wood moving in my attic from time to time especially creaking noises when its windy outside.

What do you guys think of this ceiling framing and do you agree it is responsible for the drywall problems? I have attached pictures.
 
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Old 09-14-14, 05:03 PM
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What do you guys think of this ceiling framing and do you agree it is responsible for the drywall problems?
IMO no. If it was sheet rocked with 1/2", that would be too far of a span for 1/2", it should be 5/8". Most of the joints appear to be poorly taped.

The attic could use some lateral bracing. And don't get me started on that exhaust vent!
 
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Old 09-14-14, 05:20 PM
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I measured the drywall and its 1/2". What do you think my options are here to fix the problem? I have some can lights I want to install but I don't want to go through all that work if I need to rip things out to fix this issue.

Yes that attic vent is not only crappy flex plastic but its being vented into the attic. It was like that before I moved in. I need to replace it and duct it outside.
 
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Old 09-14-14, 05:40 PM
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Yes the lumber is clearly overspanned. Yes it should have been 5/8" rock. Looks like something my dad would build. There is pretty much no hope for that ceiling.
 
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Old 09-14-14, 05:56 PM
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What are my options to get this fixed?
 
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Old 09-14-14, 06:00 PM
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Is there a wall below this flat 2 x 8? Ideally, there would be, and it would run in same direction as noted 2 x 8. If your room is totally open beneath this, we'll need to look at options.

Attachment 38262
 
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Old 09-14-14, 06:11 PM
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Its totally open under that. Also I think its just a 2x6.
 
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Old 09-14-14, 06:26 PM
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Let's start with the obvious. Ceiling drywall should be totally replaced with 5/8", ensuring long direction goes on perpendicular to ceiling joists, and try to eliminate as many joints as you can. Even if you have a problem with support, a lot of the ceiling looks like poor tape and mud.
Me personally, I would have it professionally taped and finished.
I would wait for more input from some of the pros here.

I would like to ask an opinion from them also:

Do you think purloins would help in this situation??
 
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Old 09-14-14, 06:29 PM
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In picture #1 there are what appear to be 2 hallway walls. if those could be made load bearing, 2 headers would need to be installed (one on each wall) that would sit on those walls and extend to the exterior gable end wall. that would divide the 2x6 span into shorter sections. It would be an awful lot of work and would surely need an engineer's input and approval.
 
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Old 09-14-14, 06:43 PM
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I'm not sure if the bad mudjob was original or someones poor attempt to fix the bulging tape seams.

Sounds like my earlier suspicion was correct and I should definitely NOT put any can lights in this ceiling until it is repaired.
 
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Old 09-14-14, 06:50 PM
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Yeah,
Check back for some advice early this week. There's some guys here that are very good at this stuff (including sleeper).

It's not your main concern right now, but I would stop using that fan until properly vented outside. The last thing you need is to introduce moisture into the attic.
 
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Old 09-19-14, 09:25 AM
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I have not seen any more posts so I'm wondering what my next step should be. What kind of contractor would I need to ask to look at the issue, a structural engineer?
 
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Old 09-19-14, 09:46 AM
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Yes, or an architect/designer.
Many of them do small jobs like this. Hopefully it will just be figuring out how to place a beam in middle and then redo drywall with 5/8".
It may not be a huge expense, these calculations and the design is pretty straightforward.
 
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Old 09-19-14, 09:06 PM
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It would be an awful lot of work and would surely need an engineer's input and approval.
Yes, a structural engineer. Some architects might be willing to do it, but your best bet is an engineer. Some designers might be qualified but certainly not most of them. Call and ask for an estimate of what they charge before they come out. Don't be surprised if there is a $250 - $500 minimum charge... even if they are only there for 30 minutes. You are paying for the piece of paper they sign that your building department will want/need... plus the peace of mind that you're doing it right.
 
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Old 09-20-14, 09:10 AM
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I went up to the attic and measured things. My house has 3 components. The main building (not being discussed here) and two additions. The family room addition looks like it might have been built when the main building was originally built.

There are 17' long 2x6s going across the family room ceiling. The drywall in that ceiling shows the drywall joints (see picture below) but no where as bad as the in law suite. The in law suite addition (which is where the major problems are) has 20.5' long 2x6s going across the ceiling.

These are the longest pieces of lumber I've ever seen (both rooms use a single 2x6 going all the way across). I also noticed when I was crawling in the attic that over the 20.5' ceilng I was hearing a lot of wood squeaking. When I was crawling over the 17' family room ceiling I heard only a little bit of noise.

1) I'm not sure if I can find 20.5' long lumber today but would sistering more lumber help the situation in the in law suite?
2) Is the 17' span in the family room good enough? Should I be able to put some screws in that ceiling and skim coat it to make it look good long term? (see pic below of ceiling)

Attachment 38588
(Family room - the bottom line is where the wall meets the ceiling. The vertical line is between two sheets of ceiling drywall)
 
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Old 09-20-14, 12:17 PM
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While over spanned, all I see is a really crappy mud job. Joint compound cracks, it doesn't bulge. The fact that the light is set right at the ceiling makes the defects jump out at you. Installing can lights and removing the ceiling flush mount, will actually make the ceiling look better.
 
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Old 09-20-14, 04:05 PM
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I agree that the mudjob looks bad but I also can make the ceiling make noises if I push up on the drywall so I don't think the mudjob is the only problem. The joists seems to have some deflection.

Does anyone know if sistering the 20.5' 2x6s might help at all?

Also is the 17' 2x6 run in my family room considered bad as well or could I get away with screwing the drywall and skim coating it?
 
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Old 09-20-14, 04:21 PM
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No ipman that will not help. you have been given a good solution, I suggest you look into whether or not its feasible. Even sistering 2x12s would probably not be a solution in your case.
 
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Old 09-20-14, 04:33 PM
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The solution you suggested, would the 2x6s be cut and the cross beam on the hallway wall be connected to the existing 2x6s using Simpson brackets or are you suggesting to put the cross beam under the 2x6s?

Also could you let me know what you think about the 17' joists in the family room? Is that good enough where I can just skim coat the ceiling to hide the imperfections?

Thanks.
 
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Old 09-21-14, 05:39 PM
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Yes, the 2x6's would be cut, and set in joist hangers on each side of the cross beam / header. The headers that would sit on each hallway wall (likely LVL's properly sized by your engineer) are intended to carry the load of the ceiling and reduce the span of the existing 2x6's so that they are no longer overspanned. The 2x6's that are currently laying flat on top of your ceiling joists aren't doing much for the structure of the ceiling... other than perhaps preventing it from totally collapsing under its own weight. I'd be scared if I was a fat man walking around up there.

A #2 SPF 2x6, when used as a ceiling joist, should probably span no more than 10'3" when placed 24" on center. (you didn't tell us the spacing of your ceiling joists either). So like I said, I think that entire ceiling is unbelievably overspanned... including the 17' spans. If you were to try to sister something to those joists, it would have to be "select structural" grade SPF 2x10's, which could span 17'8. Sistering may be pointless as the existing joists aren't just going to just spring back to straight after so many years of becoming bowed.

The figures above are from the following span calculator (Maximum Span Calculator for Joists & Rafters) and as mentioned earlier, you should have a structural engineer help you decide how best to size the framing and fix this problem... these are only possible/plausible suggestions.

To do the repairs suggested above, it would probably make the most sense to completely tear the drywall off the entire ceiling and pretty much start over. At a minimum, you'd open up a wide path a few feet wider than the hallway so that you could cut and insert the headers and put the existing joists in hangers on each side of the headers. IMO it's pointless to fix the drywall when the framing is so poorly constructed. But I guess that's your call.

I'd be interested to know how much that ceiling actually bows- if you took a string line (like a mason's line) and pulled it super-tight... and held it a couple inches below the ceiling on each end of the room, someone in the middle would be able to tell you how much it sags.
 
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Old 09-21-14, 06:45 PM
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The joists are 2x6 16" on center.

I actually met a structural engineer today and discussed the situation. He suggested that I try tieing in the ceiling joists with the roof joists to see if it reduces the movement enough where I wouldn't have to tear everything out. He said that I should use a temporary 2x8 to go under and perpendicular to the joists under the ceiling and jack it up until the ceiling is straightened out (though I do not see a noticeable sag). Then a third of the way on the ceiling joist I should bolt a 2x6 to the roof joist and another 2x6 bolted at the 2/3rds point to the opposite roof joist. Then a 2x6 between the two new 2x6s at the roof joists. I made a quick sketch of what he suggested I do. The red is what he suggested. Do you think this is worth trying?

Attachment 38689
 
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Old 09-21-14, 07:09 PM
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Sure... although that will be a lot of work too... and will involve a lot more lumber.

Imo his plan is missing a couple supports. The center trapazoid in your pic should be turned into triangles by adding additional supports bolted at the middle of the horizontal one.
 
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Old 09-21-14, 07:52 PM
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Well,
This could be good news. The engineer signed off on the 21' roof span and that's all that matters.
You have a problem with your ceiling sagging, but rafters are more important.
Sleeper has the answer (again) Couple that with 5/8" drywall and a professional drywall job.
It's always good to DIY, and that's what this site is for, But if you want your ceiling looking real good, a Pro can do it a lot faster.
(I refer to taping and mudding)
 

Last edited by Handyone; 09-21-14 at 07:54 PM. Reason: Mud
 

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