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Ceiling beams twisting and gaps, Common?

Ceiling beams twisting and gaps, Common?

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Old 09-23-09, 06:23 PM
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Ceiling beams twisting and gaps, Common?

I have a nice Cathedral ceiling as you walk into my front door and the past few months I noticed what looked like straw/grass in a corner where the beam meets the ceiling. Upon looking at it closer there seems to be a gap between the two. We had birds that we would hear every morning in the front room but figured they were up under the tile roof making all the noise because any given morning there would be 50+ of them on the tree outside. After looking at the other beams I noticed another beam, which seems to have a slight twist to it. All the beams are located where I have no access to within the attic so i can't see exactly what is going on. I guess my first question is, what is the proper steps to take to fix these issues. Is it common for the beams to twist a little after a certain time? The house was built in 86'. I also assume to fix the gaps I need take off the molding that is running the span of the beams, caulk everything up, smooth out then re-install the molding?

A new roof is going on this year as well so I can hopefully see why I have birds that seem to be living right where the beam is and having their nest push out the sides of the gaps.
 
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Old 09-23-09, 07:19 PM
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You might want to wait until the roof is done before you take any steps to caulk the beams. All those guys on the roof and the added weight may shift things around even more. Once they are done you would be safe to continue.

I wouldn't say it's common, but sometimes as houses settle you will see things like that as age tends to cause lots of things to sag if u know what I mean. Depending on how the beams were framed and built there might be too few nails, too little glue, too much movement which is causing the gaps and twisting. In a dry climate I wouldn't expect any new twisting all the sudden unless there was a roof leak contributing moisture to the problem. Hard to say the best way to fix it without being there. But I don't think you can go wrong with putting a few trim head screws in wherever it seems appropriate to pull things back together tightly... then proceed with your caulking. Painters are good at that sort of thing if you don't feel confident in tackling that aspect.
 
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Old 09-23-09, 08:16 PM
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thanks for the heads up, what do you mean by using trim head screws to tighten things up? Where would they go in regards to the beam, drywall and the roof framing? I assume you mean go through the beam and into whatever is above it? The beams are prob 6-8" deep.
 
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Old 09-23-09, 08:53 PM
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Correct. Again, I can't say exactly how your beams are put together, but I would assume that they are just a 3- sided box, loosely attached to a minimal amount of framing. It wouldn't surprise me if there is a 2x6 or something nailed to the ceiling, and the sides of the beam hang from that. (This is assuming the beams are just decorative, not structural. A structural beam would have solid backing EVERYWHERE, so you could screw anywhere on the trim that is applied to the outside of that beam and hit solid wood behind. Assuming decorative beams, your screws would likely best be installed along the top of the beam, and if needed, could help pull the bottom and sides together if they are coming apart at the corners at all.

In either case, you might be able to jack the trim that is applied to the outside of the beam by using some long 2x4's that are screwed together into the shape of a T (a strongback)... cut the appropriate angle on each end of the strongback, and wedge it into place between the beam and the floor. (screw a large scrap of wood onto the bottom of the beam temporarily to help protect it from dents and scratches... and protect the floor with a piece of carpet, a rug, or similar. Once the beam it tight to the ceiling again, use some trim screws to try and hold the trim in place. Place screws anywhere it needs to be straightened out, but use them sparingly. Finding something solid to screw into might be the trick. You don't want it to look like it got attacked by a machine gun. Some large clamps might also help you squeeze the trim together on the beam. Use scraps of wood to protect the beam from dents that would be caused by the clamps.
 
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Old 09-23-09, 11:25 PM
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Thanks for the follow up, I am not sure if they are decorative or structural right now. I am hoping I can get far enough over in my attic to let me know if they are or not. I can also pull the trim off that is up now and hopefully see if it runs into the wall or stops there as well. I guess we shall hopefully see what happens this weekend. Majority of the interior is getting started on its makeover.
 
 

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