Cracks in ceiling

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  #1  
Old 03-03-03, 03:46 PM
shadytree
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Cracks in ceiling

I have an older bungalow house that has plaster lath ceilings. They are smooth and overall not to bad of shape. I have three rooms where the ceilings are starting to crack in several places. You do not see the actual crack but a bubble in the ceiling surface. I thought about trying to fix the cracks but wonder if it will just continue to keep reappearing? (I've done it to the walls and it seems to show up again) Can I screw drywall directly to the plaster ceiling?
Will it hold? Or do I have to find the joists and make sure I screw the drywall in to them? If I can do this what thickness is best to use? I have a floored attic with vermiculite insulation( A mess!) Whats the easiest way to find the joists?
Thanks for your input.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-03-03, 06:22 PM
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Location: Taylors, SC
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I have plaster over sheetrock. When a crack appears in the ceiling, I have found that only repair that lasts is to tape and mud. This 60 year old house seems to be in constant motion, so that some cracks in the walls and ceilings open and close all the time.

The plaster and sheetrock combination lends itself to sagging so that the walls and ceiling are not flat any more.

The mesh tape holds on better than the regular paper, it seems.
 
  #3  
Old 03-03-03, 08:15 PM
bungalow jeff
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The crack description of a bubble sounds like a leak or other water damage. The cause of the crack has to be investigated and corrected or even the best patch will reopen.
 
  #4  
Old 03-04-03, 06:12 PM
shadytree
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Cracked Ceiling

It is not a water leak. The bubble i described i believe is a smooth paper film that must have been applied to the surface when they plastered the ceiling. Three of my rooms are doing the same thing. i may try to dig out the crack and apply tape and joint compound. My concern was it would just crack again. I thought if I screwed the drywall to the ceiling it would cure the crack problem. I have rooms that are 21x9 - 14x14 and 12x12. There are 4 or 5, 2-3 foot cracks in each room.
 
  #5  
Old 03-04-03, 07:37 PM
bungalow jeff
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Covering cracks hide them, but does not cure anything. While it is possible that a bad mix was applied to the ceilings, the fact that it is happening in multpile rooms suggests that this isn't the case. Except for the occasional hairline crack at corners and stress points (like near slamming doors), cracks are caused by something. Whether it is a leak, moisture, house settlement, or the upstairs room overloaded with a waterbed.

Search the archives and the main site for detailed how-to steps.
 
  #6  
Old 03-05-03, 12:17 AM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
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Cool

"More permanent" repair for plaster cracks.
Trick used by a pro painter friend of mine with over 40 years experience here, who paints a LOT of older homes.
He uses 6"-8" wide strips of black vinyl plastic screen as "tape", and muds the strips over the plaster cracks just like you would drywall mesh tape, but it works MUCH better.
He says that he never has to go back to repair the same crack twice. Give it a try.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
  #7  
Old 03-05-03, 10:38 AM
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Interesting idea there Old Guy, been at the trade quite a few yrs now in the midwest & never seen it done with the type of tape you're describing. Is he possibly using a product used by auto body guys who do fiberglass work? I've seen some vinyl tape like you're describing, but the brain can't seem to zero in on where just now. Bit of an old guy myself.


shadytree,

Yes you can go over your existing plaster & lath with new rock, either 3/8" or more preferrably 1/2" rock is what I'd use. I suggest using as long of sheets as you can handle to minimize butt joints. I would look into the foundation system to make sure everything is ok, & see if anything can be done to to alleviate future settlement. Best of luck with the bungalow.
 

Last edited by awesomedell; 03-08-03 at 06:53 PM.
  #8  
Old 03-05-03, 09:36 PM
bungalow jeff
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Tom Silva patched a ceiling on Ask This Old House. He used black vinyl plastic screen. Same stuff as window or door screens.
 
  #9  
Old 03-06-03, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
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Cool

Jeff is right. Same screen that goes on windows and doors.
Mike
 
  #10  
Old 03-06-03, 07:28 PM
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OK, never seen that material used for that purpose, but it would work, same principle as fibertape, but wider. Personally I'd still opt to cover up the plaster & lath with sheetrock, JMO
 
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