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Ceiling crack - cosmetic or not? What do I need to look for?

Ceiling crack - cosmetic or not? What do I need to look for?


  #1  
Old 01-16-14, 05:19 AM
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Ceiling crack - cosmetic or not? What do I need to look for?

Hello, we moved into this home three years ago, the house is about 12 or 13 years old. The dining room ceiling has a crack, about a foot long. The room is directly below a bathroom and my first thought was either water damage or a weight problem. However, there is no moisture on the ceiling and when I put a four foot level on the ceiling, it's not unusually bowed and I'm wondering if this could just be natural settling. The ceiling does not seem like sheetrock to my very untrained eye, the outer coating is like a very thick eggshell. This outer coating is the portion that is cracking, the material just underneath seems fine, and I'm wondering if this outer shell just is not flexible enough to handle the settling of the house. Any advice for what else I should look for, what this material may be, and the best way to repair? I'd like to just scrape away the cracked area and putty or paint over it, but if there may be another problem I don't just want to cover it up. I'm not terribly experienced with removing and replacing sheetrock, or patching sheetrock, or perhaps the better way to phrase it is my past experiences are terrible. Thoughts or suggestions? Thanks, Brett

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  #2  
Old 01-16-14, 05:33 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

I'd go ahead and scrape off any loose and repair with joint compound. While it does look like more than a minor settlement crack, I wouldn't be overly concerned unless it comes back.
 
  #3  
Old 01-16-14, 03:23 PM
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Have someone bounce around in the bathroom while you keep an eye on the ceiling below and look at observed movement. My initial though is that there may be a plumbing trap set too close to the plaster ceiling. When you step into the shower, a little flex in the shower floor causes pressure to be put on the ceiling below. I had a client with a similar issue. I fixed the crack and the next day it was back. The plumbing trap was touching the drywall and cracked everytime she got into the shower.

Expect a large patch after your scraping. Tap on the ceiling with either your knuckle or some other device and you can hear where the veneer coat not adhered to the scratch coat. If extensive, you may want to call someone in and replaster. If minor, I would use a setting type compound as it is stronger than joint compound but is applied similar and dries faster/harder.

Key first is to find the source of movement or it will crack again.
 
  #4  
Old 01-16-14, 03:55 PM
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Thanks marksr for the welcome and the advice. Since the crack is right near a light fixture I think I'll first take that down and try to see what's going on up there.
 
  #5  
Old 01-16-14, 03:59 PM
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czizzi thanks for the suggestions, I hadn't considered the plumbing trap and the bathtub/shower is certainly close to this spot. There is a light fixture right at the spot too, I'll start by removing that and see if I'm able to shine my handy little mirror/flashlight up in there. Probably won't do any good with the light box right there unless I'm able to move it somehow but it's a place to start. Second course of action will be to see if the previous owner / builder built any sort of access to the tub trap upstairs, he did on the ground floor so we'll see.

Thanks again!
 
 

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