Fixing Settling Cracks So They Don't Come Back


My house has a number of stress cracks at various places (i.e. obvious joints, between individual pieces of sheat rock, spots on the ceiling & walls). I have been using Hole and Crack repair tape that has a grated design so that it holds the mud when used. I consider myself to be a fairly good with the mud when doing repairs - however, cracks that I fixed about 5 months ago are already returning. Is there anything that can be done to fix these once and for all.
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On 7 Nov 2006 18:59:16 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I am not familiar with the term that you used Hole & Crack repair tape. We normally use mesh tape that is self sticking to the wallboard. If this is what you are using and the cracks are returning, then something else might be going on. Cracks can be caused by water, this is normally associated with a stain but not always. Is the drywall secured in place (no movement if you push on it)?
-Lee
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

No.
Your house has a sructural problem and from your description it is ongoing. You may need to hire a structural engineer to find out whether it is a sinking foundation or simply poor construction. Once you know what it is you can decide if repairs make sense or moving on to a better house would be the best use of your money. You might get lucky and discover that is only a bad drywall job, with joints in the wrong places, or similar amateur mistakes. HTH
Joe
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

No.
Your house has a sructural problem and from your description it is ongoing. You may need to hire a structural engineer to find out whether it is a sinking foundation or simply poor construction. Once you know what it is you can decide if repairs make sense or moving on to a better house would be the best use of your money. You might get lucky and discover that is only a bad drywall job, with joints in the wrong places, or similar amateur mistakes. HTH
Joe
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yes, The one thing that will work to fix those problems once and for all is to fix the reason for the cracking.
If you have a new home, it is not unusual for there to be problems the first year and maybe two. Many builder use cheap wet wood that is going to move as it dries out over the first year or two. In other cases it is a design flaw or a foundation problem. Those will not go away and you need to fix them . It is very difficult to tell from here.
In some homes it seems that it is a bi-annual issue. With the change of each season the home dries out in the fall and picks up moisture in the spring.
--
Joseph Meehan

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My house is on a hill and the previous owners had warned that with the change of seasons, the cracks tend to reappear in certain places. Let me be more specific:
First to clarify my use of terms - I am using mesh tape as well which can be used to repair cracks and holes. Sorry for the non-expert term use :-)
Second - I may have exaggerated the cracks a bit...
A number of the cracks are located at places on the ceiling or walls where the sheet rock meets with an outward pointing each (i.e. making an L shaped ceiling where the corner of the L is not inward but outward). If I chip away at the putty that is already there, I find a metal brace.
Some other cracks are in places where the joint seems a bit odd. Such as upstairs in my stairway the ceiling slopes upward at the same angle as the stairs and doesn't end at a straight line edge - instead the ceiling curves to smoothly meet with the upstairs ceiling. There is a somewhat jagged crack leading from the left wall about 1/4 the way across this joint.
One crack that was considerably bad when I first moved in has now reappeared as a smaller crack. This crack can be classified as one of two horizontal cracks at joints in horizontally placed sheet rock. The 2nd crack is in the stairway and there appears to be a slight buldge in the wall.
This is a 23 yr. old house. At inspection, a considerable amount of attention was placed on inspecting the foundation under the house for structural changes as I was concerned about some of the cracks I had seen during walk-throughs. My report indicates no structure changes but the inspector noted that the stress cracks are normal for a house of this age.
This is not a contemporary home as there are a lot of weird angles and joints in the walls of this house - one of the things that I liked when I bought it. If I had to guess, I would think that the cracks have something to do with the odd placement's of the sheet rock and the age of the home. I was just wondering if anyone had ideas on strategy for fixing these cracks. If not, I will just continue to re-repair them each year and then make sure they look great when we decide to sell the home.
My parents have a similar problem with some of the cracks in their home in NJ. I live in VA.
Joseph Meehan wrote:

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You should be able to caulk them up then paint over the caulk. Think of it as an expansion joint for drywall.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

DAP makes a product for cracks that;s supposed to remain more flexible than regular joint compound.
In my experience, having some of these small but persistent crack problems is normal in many houses and isn't a sign that a structural engineer is needed or that the house has a structural problem. Houses expand and contract due to temp and humidity variations and it's not guaranteed to be exactly uniform. If you let you house experience wider extremes, like lowering the temp to 40deg while on vacation, that can be a factor too.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Do you mean this:
http://www.dap.com/product_details.aspx?product_idd
I
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Now that I've looked at it more, I fail t se any difference between it and caulk.
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AWESOME!!!
Thanks for the link. I think the difference between this and caulk is that this can be spread and then sanded to be flat to the wall. Caulk would be paintable if you buy the right kind but when it dries it may not dry flat and I would think that it is difficult to try and straighten out.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I don't believe the above referenced product can be sanded. Sandable and flexible are (broadly speaking) mutually exclusive.
I've found the same problem with some of these highly flexible patching products -- shrinkage as they cure. You think you've got a nice flat and smooth surface but after a few days a significant dimple starts to become apparent.
I recommend waiting 5-10 days before painting just to be sure you've really got the surface you want.
My "perfect" ceiling repair became rather less than perfect after about a week. Now I wish I had waiting considerably longer than 24 hours before painting :-(
--
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

Was this the realtor's inspector or an inspector not hired by you?
I'd hire an engineer to take a look at the foundation and the whole structure. One thing that's particularly important is whether or not these are seasonal changes or if there is continuing movement.
I had to repair my foundatation (frost, prolly not your problem in Va ...) and one of the problem signs was openings in newly hung drywall as the ground thawed in the spring. On original inspection, we paid a lot of attention to the foundation; it was judged to have some original but stabilized settlement issues. Similar kinds of statements were made as what your inspector said. And - no sign of any problem for years after that. But then, after 10 more years of age on the house, some continuing movement was begining to break up part of the block.
It may or may not be a big deal. But it doesn't make sense to be chasing cracks around year after year until you really assess this.
Cheers, Banty
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It sounds to me like it is a construction-design issue. After 23 years it is not likely to get better. However keep one thing in mind. Maybe you can turn the lemon into lemonade. Some decrative moldings may be great.
--
Joseph Meehan

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yeah you should use tape when un repair the cracks and 2 or 3 layers of plaster but maybe its a problem in the foundation
ILL virginia handyman www.remodelinginvirginia.com snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com
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Yes. Fix the settling.
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yeah you should use tape when un repair the cracks and 2 or 3 layers of plaster but maybe its a problem in the foundation
ILL virginia handyman www.remodelinginvirginia.com snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com
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