There are a number of reasons why ceiling cracking happens:
Reason 1 – Heavy Moisture
Moisture damage from above the ceiling, either from the floor above or from damage to a roof, can cause significant ceiling damage. Cracks may appear along with crumbling, discoloration or peeling paint. Also, if your ceiling has drywall tape affixed to it, the tape may separate from the ceiling and hang down in strips.
The combination of moisture and temperature fluctuations can also cause ceiling cracks. Building materials expand with warm air and moisture and contract with dry air and cold temperatures. This fluctuation between expanding and contracting can cause stress fractures in your ceiling.The most common sources of moisture are leaks from the roof after heavy rains, and leaking plumbing fixtures from an above floor.
Reason 2 – Seams and Joints
The use of inferior quality drywall tape can also lead to ceiling cracking, as well as applying the joint compound in too thick of a layer.The type of drywall installed in a ceiling and the way it was installed can have a significant impact on how the ceiling holds up over time. A textured ceiling generally requires thicker drywall to ensure the drywall does not sag or crack (5/8-inch or 3/4-inch drywall sheets are necessary). If the ceiling is not textured, 1/2-inch drywall sheets may be sufficient for the ceiling. Texture applied to thinner drywall may lead to cracking.
Reason 3 – Too Much Weight
Because your cracked ceiling has another floor or an attic above it, it’s possible that weight and force from the floor above might cause ceiling cracks. Bathrooms on a floor above need specific floor/ceiling support to carry the weight of the fixtures. Even improperly installed insulation above the ceiling can contribute to sagging and cracking in a ceiling. If it’s not possible to remove or redistribute weight on the floor above the ceiling, you will need to reinforce and strengthen the ceiling to enable it to hold the weight efficiently.
Reason 4 – Foundation Problems
An inferior foundation can cause significant structural issues and damage to a home, including ceiling cracking. Sometimes the house foundation is set without effective drainage or the ground may even move to disrupt the foundation. Substandard construction of the foundation is another common issue that results in ceiling cracking.
Ceiling cracking that occur due to a poor foundation will often occur near load bearing walls, indicating the reduced capability of the load bearing walls to support the home. If you notice foundation issues, it may be possible to repair the structural damage with underpinning.
It is important to understand that not all ceiling and drywall cracking within a home can be attributed to foundation failure. As you can see in this list provided, foundation failure is lower on the list of reasons for cracks in ceilings.
The pros at JADE Engineering and Home Inspection can evaluate the cracks in your ceiling and/or drywall to determine if foundation repair is necessary, or if one of the other reasons for ceiling cracking is the “culprit”.
Call us to book an Inspection at 256-318-0982 or contact us today.