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Common Reasons for Cracks in Drywall

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Cracks in the drywall or sheetrock and plaster are common. They develop over time due to stress or even minor home settlement. Contractors may refer to them as hairline cracks because they appear very thin. They are usually considered cosmetic and can be covered up when repainting.

Sheetrock cracks are most prevalent in areas of the structure that experience more pressure than others. The corners of doors, windows, and wall openings are the most common places. This applies to both external and internal doors and openings.

Another common location for these cracks is where two parts of drywall meet. At the drywall joints, these cracks typically run horizontally or vertically. Homes with high ceilings may also develop cracks in the higher areas.

Furthermore, drywall or sheetrock cracks are repeatedly detected where two pieces of drywall are elbowed together. This is due to drywall taped joints and afterward patterned with 2 or 3 coats of drywall mud. Some cracks may form because these common regions are relatively weaker than the center or field area of the drywall.

Most Common Reasons for Cracks in Sheetrock

SETTLING NEW HOMES

New home builders commonly use green lumber (new, undried wood) because it has a high-water content and reduces over time as it gets dry.

This shrinking movement creates tiny cracks in the drywall leading to sheetrock cracks. These minor, relatively harmless fractures are common in newly constructed homes.

Many homeowners wait until after their first year to repair these hairline cracks.

After a natural home settlement has completed its work, homeowners can repair drywall cracks with putty, paint, or tape without fear of further damage.

Homeowners can contact waterproofing and structural repair experts to repair the sheetrock cracks.

WATER DAMAGE & LEAKS

When it comes to causing cracks in drywall, leaks are infamous violators.

Water from a leaking pipe, ceiling, chimney, or window can cause unsightly sheetrock yellowing and browning the impacted drywall.

Like a sponge, this water soaks into and absorbs the drywall. Cracks form as a result of this absorption.

These cracks are frequently wet to the touch, and you can find water droplets dew on the drywall’s exterior.

Clearly, before attempting to repair a water-damaged crack, we recommend that the leak’s origin be repaired appropriately.

Meanwhile, see This Is Why Gutters Are Important To Your Foundation!

VACANT HOME

Choosing to leave your home empty for extended periods can cause drywall cracks.

If your vacation home is vacant for several months of the year, it might have drywall cracks.

If the house is not consistently set up for climate control, particularly humidity and temperature, the drywall will shrink and expand repetitively in response to the seasons while you are away.

This seasonal cycle can also actually impact your home’s wooden bones/frame, trying to put unnecessary extra stress on the drywall through transmission.

With today’s technology, you can set your vacation home thermostat with the touch of a button on your phone.

FOUNDATION ISSUES

Both foundation settlement and foundation heave can put undue strain on the foundation of your home.

While foundation settlement and heave are not the same things (settlement sinks the foundation and heave nudges the foundation up), their signs and symptoms are similar:

  • Cracks are more than a quarter-inch thick (and continue to expand elongate over time).
  • Cracks that form as a result of door/window frames.
  • Cracks in the drywall that stairstep (a sign of excess pressure transferred to the drywall).
  • Drywall that is protruding and bowing.

Any drywall issues caused by foundation failure should not be addressed cosmetically until the foundation has been stabilized and brought back to maximum achievable recovery. Since the home is leveled back into its original place, any drywall patched with mud or filler would spit out the stuffing during the lift.

The source of the issue must be addressed; otherwise, your drywall will be patched and repaired several times. On the other hand, if you can contact sheetrock crack repair professionals, they will offer structural repair solutions that will last the rest of your home’s life.

POOR TAPE JOB

The notches between the drywall panels are pasted with mud when sheetrock is installed. This mud has been taped over.

Occasionally, if there isn’t enough mud to abide by the tape, the tape will roll away from the drywall.

This tends to pull some of the mud away with it, leaving an inconvenient crack. If the tape has lifted in several places, it is best to re-tape the grooves to prevent this problem from recurring.

The Conclusion

According to structural repair experts, most drywall or sheetrock cracks occur at seams, where two pieces of drywall connect. Because of drywall mud and tape, the seams are usually invisible. The mud fills in the seam while the tape conceals it. Cracks form as a result of stress on the seams. These cracks are most common near high-stress areas such as windows, door frames, and corners.

A variety of factors can cause this stress. Temperature changes can cause the drywall to expand and contract, causing stress and cracking at the seams. The building is constantly settling, which causes stress in the walls and can result in a crack in the drywall. If the building is built on fill dirt, the settling can worsen. There is more settling and movement because of the soft material at the foundation.

Better construction could have prevented some drywall cracks. Improved mud or tape might have strengthened the cracked seam. However, there is nothing that can be done about some cracks. Because seams can only withstand so much stress before cracking, some stresses will be too much for the seam to withstand.

Nail popping is another issue that can occur in drywall. The nails that retain the drywall in place on the stud begin to pull out. Dimpling appears on the drywall surface as a result of this. The astonishing thing is that these unsightly issues are easily preventable or repairable.

FAQs

WHEN SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED ABOUT CEILING CRACKS?

It is determined by the size of the crack, its location, and the cause. Here are some situations in which you should seek the advice of a professional.

Ceiling cracks and sagging indicate a potential structural issue that requires immediate attention.

A single large, continuous ceiling crack that runs across the ceiling and down a wall is almost certainly a structural problem. Immediately contact a foundation professional for an inspection.

A high number of small ceiling cracks may also indicate a severe structural issue. Contact a repair specialist.

WHAT ARE THE COMMON SIGNS OF STRUCTURAL DAMAGE?

  • Imbalanced floors that sag or slope.
  • Sticky doors and windows.
  • Flooring cracks that are not limited to a single tile. Look for cracks that run in a single direction across the floor.
  • Walls that are cracked or bowed.
  • Rotation of the wall is caused by a buildup of moisture beneath the foundation. As the foundation’s outside edge sinks into the soggy soil, the inside edge lifts, causing the wall to rotate.
  • Moldings that are cracked or misaligned. This occurs because things aren’t moving in unison.
  • Cracks in the stairwell’s bricks or masonry.
  • Walls that have lost contact with the ceiling or floor.
  • Porches or chimneys that have broken away from the structure.
  • There is water in your basement which also indicates foundation issues.

SHOULD I REPAIR MY DAMAGED DRYWALL OR REPLACE IT ENTIRELY?

The answer is a resounding “it depends.” A small crack or minor damage can be repaired quickly and easily, such as “nail pops” (nail heads that have backed away from the wall studs and are crackling through the drywall). However, replacement is usually the best option in the case of a large hole or a severe problem, such as a heavy mold infestation where the microbes have scattered throughout the drywall. While you’re at it, be sure to get rid of the source of the mold; otherwise, you’ll end up with more damaged drywall.

WHAT EXACTLY IS DRYWALL, AND WHY IS IT USED?

Drywall, also known as sheetrock, is a gypsum sheet covered on both sides with a paper facing and a paperboard backing. Drywall is used to cover steel beams in the interior walls of houses and buildings and wrap columns to disguise them. It is also a simple and inexpensive way to top off masonry walls above ceilings. Drywall can also be used to add fire resistance to walls and ceilings, limiting the spread of fire and allowing people to evict during an emergency securely. However, fires require a lot of energy to burn through the drywall.

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