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  1. #1

    Default horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    I built my own house but I had someone mud, tape, and primer/paint the drywall. They seemed to put a lot of effort into the taping and muding and everything was allowed to dry out for about 5 days prior to painting. After priming, texturing, and two coats of sprayed-on paint, it dried for a few days and now I'm seeing hairline horizontal cracks along the perimeters (where the walls meet the ceilings). This occurs throughout the house and totals probably 5 yards of cracks. I just filled them all in with a paintable siliconized caulk.

    Will this continue to happen? The muding and painting happened during really hot-humid days. Could this be the cause? The house was shrinking and settling for two and a half years before I hung the drywall. Could there be a bigger problem?

    Thanks for your help. This is my first house.

    Brett

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    1,155

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    if its wood framed, its probably normal. Did they tape the corners where the cracking is occuring?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    Is the roof trusses? My first guess is uplift from wood shrinkage. Put on Crown Molding. It looks better too

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Rockford, IL
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    Could be truss uplift. Do the cracks tend to be in center of house?

    Could be from not prefilling gaps in walls before putting on tape.

  5. #5

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    I think it is happening because of the installation of paint and mud in hot summer may be.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    I would look at the drywall installation instead of the taping and finish. What did the finishers have to say about the installation, if anything? Poor framing practices and lack of attention to screw patterns and board joint location cause more cracking issues than mud work. Truss uplift has been compensated for years ago with screw patterning and truss installation and yet carpenters still use alot of old techniques that don't work. Then they look elsewhere for the problem. That's why i'd never have a skilled drywall hanger frame my house......he does what he does and framers do what they do.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    What sort of screw pattern do you use to avoid uplift? Still seems to me that the old solution is the best solution - crown moulding

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    You don't avoid uplift, you let the drywall compensate for it. It's been a long time practice written in the USG manual to screw the ceiling 16" (at least that's the number I use and never had problems) back from the wall to compensate for uplift. This takes the pressure of the joint directly at the wall. I've gone into hang and seen truss nailed down on a dividing wall in the center of the span. This is by pro framers. We use a saw-zall, cut the nails and just block both sides of the truss. The truss can't move laterally but it can move up and down. Ask any truss manufacturer and they'll tell you the proper install procedures. Anyway, I never screw up higher than 6" on the wall from the ceiling (mainly cause it's a pain screwing the top plate and serves no purpose. Oh yeah, don't put glue on the edge areas that are supposed to float, if you do it's just like screwing it
    Don't imagine uplift being 3 or 4 inches, it's minimal and that 16 " leeway flexes enough to take the pressure off the mudded joint in the corner. 5/8" you can go back 24", remember the ceiling is sitting on the wallboard. I use the heavy (no brand names in particular but you know what they are) paper tape on the wall and ceiling joint, it's alot more structural and able to take movement better (I learned this from personal experience). Some people set it with Durabond, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Just make sure the mud is good and wet. The little extra cost for the heavier tape is compensated by less screws and labor time installing.
    I always screw butt joints between the studs with glue and OSB strips. Be on the lookout at dumpster sights for scrap OSB you can rip down to 4" strips and you stock is free. I use the cheapest glue I can find and never had an issue. The reason I brought this up is it really helps the ceiling from cracking whether they're truss or a second floor with foot traffic and vibrations. I do it on the walls to because of trashy framing lumber today and less measuring and sistering to compensate for AKA trash lumber with only 1/2 of a edge.
    Make sure you check for any framing that isn't crowned properly. Bring it up to the contractor and let him know you won't be coming back for free to fix someone elses mistakes. If you're the contractor and you did it, pay someone to fix your mistake then take it out of your paycheck, amazing how you'll never miss that detail again :-)
    The last thing I have to say is a direct answer to the question. Crown moulding is a decorative piece installed to create a look and/or enhance the look of the room. WHO considers it the 'old solution'? It's NOT mean't to cover up mistakes. If you're the Contractor it means you have no problems with hiding mistakes, BAD BOY!

  9. #9

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    You could try using Polyurethane Foam. May be it helps.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogsled View Post
    You don't avoid uplift, you let the drywall compensate for it. It's been a long time practice written in the USG manual to screw the ceiling 16" (at least that's the number I use and never had problems) back from the wall to compensate for uplift. This takes the pressure of the joint directly at the wall. I've gone into hang and seen truss nailed down on a dividing wall in the center of the span. This is by pro framers. We use a saw-zall, cut the nails and just block both sides of the truss. The truss can't move laterally but it can move up and down. Ask any truss manufacturer and they'll tell you the proper install procedures. Anyway, I never screw up higher than 6" on the wall from the ceiling (mainly cause it's a pain screwing the top plate and serves no purpose. Oh yeah, don't put glue on the edge areas that are supposed to float, if you do it's just like screwing it
    Don't imagine uplift being 3 or 4 inches, it's minimal and that 16 " leeway flexes enough to take the pressure off the mudded joint in the corner. 5/8" you can go back 24", remember the ceiling is sitting on the wallboard. I use the heavy (no brand names in particular but you know what they are) paper tape on the wall and ceiling joint, it's alot more structural and able to take movement better (I learned this from personal experience). Some people set it with Durabond, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Just make sure the mud is good and wet. The little extra cost for the heavier tape is compensated by less screws and labor time installing.
    I always screw butt joints between the studs with glue and OSB strips. Be on the lookout at dumpster sights for scrap OSB you can rip down to 4" strips and you stock is free. I use the cheapest glue I can find and never had an issue. The reason I brought this up is it really helps the ceiling from cracking whether they're truss or a second floor with foot traffic and vibrations. I do it on the walls to because of trashy framing lumber today and less measuring and sistering to compensate for AKA trash lumber with only 1/2 of a edge.
    Make sure you check for any framing that isn't crowned properly. Bring it up to the contractor and let him know you won't be coming back for free to fix someone elses mistakes. If you're the contractor and you did it, pay someone to fix your mistake then take it out of your paycheck, amazing how you'll never miss that detail again :-)
    The last thing I have to say is a direct answer to the question. Crown moulding is a decorative piece installed to create a look and/or enhance the look of the room. WHO considers it the 'old solution'? It's NOT mean't to cover up mistakes. If you're the Contractor it means you have no problems with hiding mistakes, BAD BOY!
    Thank you for info on the drywall - makes sense. However, I completely disagree with you on crown moulding. Though decorative, most moldings were developed for exactly that purpose - covering up movement joints. This is pretty easily found with some architectural history research. I don't think a non structural crack in drywall is a mistake per se. But I'm old school - I do think trusses for roofs are a mistake... Hence my lack of familiarity. No trusses equals no truss uplift...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    13

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    Not that I don't agree with you, but in what architechtural history archive would you find trim like crown moulding was made or used for cover up of issues like cracks. Plaster moulding surely wasn't so you must be talking about wood. Alot of moulding came into their heyday post WWII when the do-it yourselfers started finishing cellars, using paneling and being told by lumber yards that it's so easy to do. I was under the impression that we are professional hangers and finishers on this site and don't cover-up our work because of mistakes. I believe that's where the impression of mouldings were used to cover up mistakes.
    If its the best you can do and the homeowner/contractor accepts it, go for it I guess.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    11,339

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    Heh. Crown moldings are not quite the same as window and door trim, base trim.

    Window and door trim was/is used to cover up the space between the frames and the wall plane, as a method of preventing cracks, but also for speed and ease. It's much easier and faster to cover up the that space with trim than to get the structure to fill it. When the structure settles/moves (be it a wood or a masonry structure), the trim may hide the movement. Also, windows/doors are essentially disposable- there's a much better chance they will be broken and need to be replaced at some point. Taking trim out of the equation leads to more cost in rough and finish, and much more expensive maintenance.

    Base moldings- baseboard, etc., are to cover up movement joints, to fit between dissimilar surfaces, and to protect the walls from damage from feet, cleaning, furniture. Same with wainscot.

    Picture rail is utilitarian. It is used for both aesthetics and for the utility of being able to hang things without damaging the walls. There are some really great picture rail profiles put out by Frye and some others. It's also possible to have them bent. Some companies- like Arakawa- make some cool alarmed art hanging systems that can be used with shadow-line picture rail profiles... low voltage, pretty cool.

    Crown has always been decorative. Considering all the plaster crown, it's been a pretty good product for that ceiling/wall transition. I've worked in a lot of homes with sharp transitions in lath & plaster that haven't cracked... well, they have in part, here and there, but that's true of most plaster. Wood crown is just a material, one method for building up a wall detail. It really shouldn't be for hiding flaws. It will, but...

    Depending on the size of the cracking, it may or may not be a recurring problem. Pictures help, as definitions are so individual. It's possible they simply put too much paint on and it's the paint that has cracked, not the substrate.
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    13

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    The topic was crown and somehow ALL moudings got bunched in. I agree with every use for other type of mouldings. I do specifically plaster now and have found a solution to corner cracking that works everytime. I was doing a house where 90% of the corners had a small line crack running the lenght. I taped and mudded the cracks and it was perfect. A month later every crack was back along with me after a phone call. I spent several days talking to other plasterers and researching this problem. Since I had no real solution and the homeowner wanted it fixed to repaint it. I figured i'd try something. I got a paintable siliconized latex caulk and put a thin bead then running it down with my finger. To this day I've never had a callback using this method. My theory is these houses are so old and the plaster is so hard that the crack at this point is inherent. The caulk is flexble enough since its siliconized to withstand the little movement and not crack. If you use just a little it is not visible when painted. I looked at the initial method and tried to decide whether this was a coverup and came to my conclusion it was just another process of the finishing for long term success. I've finished new inside corners and run a bead down for future security. I've not used it on drywall now that I follow crack preventive processes that allow for wall movement not affecting the joints.
    I saw a painter caulking a coner crack a while back and saw it was a silicone product. He said "it cracks, just takes awhile". I don't know what he uses now but he considered the siliconized product strictly for outdoor use and never gave the flexibility a thought.....Hey , that's why he's a painter :-)

  14. #14

    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    Angle tape was blocked and skimmed before the angle tape had a chance to cure.
    Just because It looks dry ,,Don't mean It's cured..USG a/p Is a very slow drying compound.

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Default Re: horizontal hairline cracks in new drywall

    Quote Originally Posted by charlesaf3 View Post
    But I'm old school - I do think trusses for roofs are a mistake... Hence my lack of familiarity. No trusses equals no truss uplift...
    Wish this were true. I've seen uplift cracking on a stick-framed roof! And only seen truss lift about three times in hundreds of houses.

    Still use the "floating interior angle" technique though--better safe than sorry, and it works like a charm in cathedral ceilings.

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