cracking tiles and cracks in drywall


Folks,
I have been losing sleep and my head over cracks in drywall and a dozen tile cracks. I live in North Dallas and have experienced this over some period of time. All of the drywall cracks are about 1/8" or less. There are some cracks at the corners of the windows that have stayed the same for about 15-16 months now. There is one crack that runs horizontally in the ceiling of the houses which is about 6 feet in length. This crack is about 1/8" at the start and then decreases. I have not noticed any problems closing any windows or doors (atleast not so far, knock on wood!!) All of the tile cracks are about 1/16" or less. Some are hairline that can be barely seen. Others are about 1/16" inch. I have walked around the house and seen some minor cracks in bricks in 1 or 2 places. I do not see any cracks in the foundation. Ours is a slab on foundation (without any basement). Ours is a 2 story house. I have seen some hairline cracks in the garage concrete floor. I will be calling an engineer for an evaluation, but before that wanted to get an understanding about what this all means. What do the cracks in tiles mean, what do the cracks in the drywall mean? Some of the windows have vertical cracks at the place where caulking and drywall meet. Not all windows have this pattern, like for example the windows closest to the corners seem to have the problem but the interior ones seem not to much of cracking. I have seen some caulking cracks. The tile cracks all are in the center of the house and seem to run 1-2 tile at some spots. Please help with your opinions. Meanwhile, this house is 7 years old and still under warranty with regard to foundation and structural elements like framing etc. Thanks for your help.
stony
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Since you will have an expert to give you your answers you do not need us. It sounds like your house is settling which is common enough but not in such a new house. Ideally it should not happen so you may have a claim against the builder. That can be difficult to pursue. If a bit of repair and paint is all that is required then that might be easier than pursuing the builder.
Be sure to check your plumbing and make sure there are not any unoticed leaks in the walls or slab. My sister had some plumbing in the wall behind the clothes washer that leaked for some time without being noticed.
By the time it was noticed her slab had failed and a gigantic amount of work was required. They had to move into an apartment while the work was being done. It can sometimes be hard to find a leak when you have a slab but some plumbers will try. If it is is a leak then the builder probably won't be liable.
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wrote:

Thanks. When I said that I would be calling an engineer for an evaluation, I meant that would be the last step of this agonizing exercise. I need more information from people like you that have some experience or knowledge about something like this. Calling an engineer is a $500 job and I will have to clearly educate myself before I do that in order to ask the right questions or be knowledgeable enough to absorb what he says. If I am equipped with the right information, I might make some preliminary analysis with more attention to things and what is being discussed here instead of trying to kill myself with this mental stumbling block. Therefore, its imperative that people like you respond and give me the ideas. After all, that is what the usenet forum is about, isn't it? Thank you for your response. I will carefully look around the water lines and other possible places for any wetness or condensation.
stony
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Could be lots of things.
Minor sheet rock cracks could be cause by structural problems or just extreme humidity change. Did you recently install a new ac which is better at dehumidfying the air?
Tiles fail if the subfloor isn't perfect or thick enuf. You didn't mention which floor the tiles cracked but if the second floor it could be inadequate subflooring. One joist put in low (like my house) will screw up a tile floor. Slab cracks are common and can cause tiles to crack. Brick requires maintenence. It has to be pointed out every few years. Yours is due. Also it is possible that the mason used inadequate brick ties to tie the brick wall to house frame.

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On Sat, 24 Feb 2007 06:14:07 GMT, "Art"
Thanks for your reply. The tiles are on the first floor concrete floor. The cracks are in the foyer which is a 7'x15' area. The cracks travel thru 1-2 tiles, some via the grout and some via the tile crack itself. A couple of tiles next to the cracked ones have a hollow sound when I tap on them. This leads me to believe that the adhesive on the bottom of the tile is either deteriorated or receded. Considering that a bunch of tiles have cracked like this, I am afraid that I might not be able to find similar tiles.
stony

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New tiles will never match unless they are from the same batch which is unlikely. If it were me, I would pull them up and see what is going on with the slab before deciding what to do next.

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Cracks in tiles. Since you said that some have a hollow sound when you tap on them, that is NOT deteriorated glue or anything like that, it is a lack of it. I wonder what kind of adhesive they used? Since you have a concrete slab, they should have just used thinset mortar like stuff. If you have tile in other places on the slab besides the foyer and they aren't cracking, you might get lucky and the only problem you have is a poor installation job. This happened in my new house which is on a wooden floor, I have a crawl space. A majority of the tile had to be replaced because they didn't use enough glue. The tiles will crack when you walk on them if there isn't or mortar like adhesive on the entire underside of the tile and the same thickness under the tile. You will also see that the grout joint starts deteriorating from the minor movement of the tile.
Its really hard to say if you have a slab problem. If your brick on the outside doesn't have long cracks, many feet and there are no cracks in the visible concrete footer/slab, then you likely don't have a foundation problem.
What kind of soil do you have, is it clay?
Your house will actually shrink over time because everything it was built with is drying out. If it is stick built, which I imagine it is in Dallas, not much modular construction up there, then it was rained on. All the 2x4's got wet. If they didn't dry real well before it was closed in and drywalled, then the timbers are slowly shrinking and voila, you have cracks showing up.
If I were you, I wouldn't call an engineer, at least yet. get the tiles pulled up, heck, take a hammer and break them out your self. Another excuse to buy another tool, I love those opportunities. Get a 2 inch wide brick chisel and chip away and clean up the adhesive on the slab and look, do you see any cracks? If not, get the tile installed correctly, fix the cracks in the walls with some drywall mud and your index finger, watch for doors or windows sticking and live life. Some may say you have to use drywall tape or mesh over those cracks but if it were me, I'd go the easy route first with the spackle and finger. You could use a pointed can opener and v-shape each crack first so you can get more spackle in the crack areas, this would probably be better then just trying to dab/force some in the crack.
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wrote:

Thank you for your message, dreamchaser. I wish I had the courage of so many people that go thru with these type of situations in life. I hate to say that I am kinda weak when it comes to situations like these. I have been worried sick ever since the full force of the possiblities that could be happening hit me. I did not know of foundation issues or drywall issues or tile over slab issues until I start investingating why my walls were cracking. Then, the more I read, the more it started bothering me. Then I started reading about how the foundation has to be underpinned in the event of a foundation problem. I honestly did not know of all these until this investigation began about 3-4 months ago. This house is about ~7.5 years old and still under structural warranty by the builder. I have read horror stories about how the builder will not honor his warranty. I have heard about how they try to shift blame etc. All this has me completely depressed with thoughts of killing myself. Its a horrible thought but that is what emotions and depression make you feel. Please don't mistake me for a depressed individual to begin with. But these cracks in tiles and drywall along with the horror stories have me thoroughly depressed and confused. My thoughts every minute are about which crack is widening or which new cracks surface or what sound the subfloor makes when I walk on them etc. I go to sleep thinking about these and wake up thinking about these. I wish no one has to go thru these experiences. That is my sad state of life with the situation as it is.
stony
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wrote:

Thank you for your message, dreamchaser. I wish I had the courage of so many people that go thru with these type of situations in life. I hate to say that I am kinda weak when it comes to situations like these. I have been worried sick ever since the full force of the possiblities that could be happening hit me. I did not know of foundation issues or drywall issues or tile over slab issues until I start investingating why my walls were cracking. Then, the more I read, the more it started bothering me. Then I started reading about how the foundation has to be underpinned in the event of a foundation problem. I honestly did not know of all these until this investigation began about 3-4 months ago. This house is about ~7.5 years old and still under structural warranty by the builder. I have read horror stories about how the builder will not honor his warranty. I have heard about how they try to shift blame etc. All this has me completely depressed with thoughts of killing myself. Its a horrible thought but that is what emotions and depression make you feel. Please don't mistake me for a depressed individual to begin with. But these cracks in tiles and drywall along with the horror stories have me thoroughly depressed and confused. My thoughts every minute are about which crack is widening or which new cracks surface or what sound the subfloor makes when I walk on them etc. I go to sleep thinking about these and wake up thinking about these. I wish no one has to go thru these experiences. That is my sad state of life with the situation as it is.
stony
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All this has me

Hey, it's not that bad. If you are depressed then you need to tell your doctor. Lifsaving medication is available for those who have negative thoughts. Please look into it.
If you tell a doctor or other liscensed professional that you want to kill yourself they are required by law to make a report to public health officials. For most, that is worth avoiding since some of these officials will not hesitate to have you commited to a hospital. So when the doctor asks you if you want to kill yourself heres what you say: NO, but I have felt very deperate at times.
When you go to the doctor and complain of depression you will get a prescription every time. No doctor want to take a chance with a disease which when untreated can lead to a terrible consequences .
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Take things a step at a time.
People swap horror stories all the time - the worst of them get repeated more, so you hear about the worst possibilities more. That does not depict real life. Real life is a mix of such problems being everything from trivial and inconsequential, to needing a little repair, to needing some moderate repair, to more serious problems and remedies. MOST of reality is on the trivial to moderate side of that spectrum.
You're lucky that you're still under warranty. Builders are not all crooks, most of them are not crooks.
I went through a bit of a phreaky period after I noticed some imperfections in my house. Then I thought about why I bought it, its location, how much I enjoy the imperfectly built (before code was in force in my semi-rural area) addition. And over the years went about some refurbishments and repairs. Almost all making the house more fun to live in and/or more valuable compared to other hosues in the area. And I stopped losing sleep over it.
The house isn't going to fall down. All houses have imperfections. Just take this step by step, by consulting an engineer. Make an appointment Monday. Knowledge of the real facts will give you assurance. Keep the warranty in mind if you need to take that as the next step. But you may well find out that your particular problems aren't because of any serious structural problem. Even if there is, the remedies aren't necessarily hugely expensive and scary.
Banty
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Lawrence and Banty, thank you for your responses! Truly appreciated. As I said before, this is never my natural demeanor! Only caused by the unknowns in the cracks equation that I am trying to solve. I wonder how serious the situation is if there is cracking in the drywall and the floor tiles. Will post here once I have some engineer or someone take a look at 'em. Thanks again.
stony
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| Folks, | | I have been losing sleep and my head over cracks in drywall and a | dozen tile cracks. I live in North Dallas and have experienced this | over some period of time. All of the drywall cracks are about 1/8" or | less. There are some cracks at the corners of the windows that have | stayed the same for about 15-16 months now. There is one crack that | runs horizontally in the ceiling of the houses which is about 6 feet | in length. This crack is about 1/8" at the start and then decreases. | I have not noticed any problems closing any windows or doors (atleast | not so far, knock on wood!!) All of the tile cracks are about 1/16" or | less. Some are hairline that can be barely seen. Others are about | 1/16" inch. I have walked around the house and seen some minor cracks | in bricks in 1 or 2 places. I do not see any cracks in the | foundation. Ours is a slab on foundation (without any basement). Ours | is a 2 story house. I have seen some hairline cracks in the garage | concrete floor. I will be calling an engineer for an evaluation, but | before that wanted to get an understanding about what this all means. | What do the cracks in tiles mean, what do the cracks in the drywall | mean? Some of the windows have vertical cracks at the place where | caulking and drywall meet. Not all windows have this pattern, like | for example the windows closest to the corners seem to have the | problem but the interior ones seem not to much of cracking. I have | seen some caulking cracks. The tile cracks all are in the center of | the house and seem to run 1-2 tile at some spots. Please help with | your opinions. Meanwhile, this house is 7 years old and still under | warranty with regard to foundation and structural elements like | framing etc. Thanks for your help. | | stony
the problem is probably the 2 story house you have on a slab foundation. it should only be 1 story on slabs unless they put in footings around the perimeter and 12 inches of concrete floor.
where the tiles cracked is it near a lally column or post?
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