Ceiling/wall joint expansion and contraction

mdriveJanuary 28, 2013

I'm not sure if I am on the right forum ...but hopefully someone can respond with an answer or redirect...

I have a condo in the midwest that every winter the ceiling crown moulding 'separates' from the wall and there is a gap that is revealed...it can be as much 3/8 inch in places...

we had a structural engineer come out and look at the footing and according to him, it is solid...

so assuming that is true, the gap is created by the normal freeze thaw 'heaving' that occurs seasonally...

I would like to find a permanent 'fix' for this...we have caulked between the crown moulding and ceiling and it simply pulls away...

it 'closes' back up in spring, but like clockwork, come december, the gaps reappear....

does anyone have any suggestions on how to fix this?

doing anything with the structure doesn't seem viable since it is a condo and the engineer has said the foundation is 'solid' (meaning no mud jacking)


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Sounds like expansion and contraction of the wood during heating & cooling seasons.

Wood changes size (and shape) depending on the humidity it is exposed to.

It shrinks as the water content declines, then expands as it increases.

You might get a simple hygrometer and see how wet and dry your house is throughout the year.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 3:57PM
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Add a humidifier right now during this winter's season and see how much it helps. After you see that, then you might want to install a whole house humidifier on your HVAC. And use your AC in the summer. If you are in a location where you need little AC, then look at doing a dehumidifier in summer for those temperate but muggy conditions.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 5:21PM
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Hi, I live in Ca. I had a problem with the moulding on the kitchen cabinets. The moulding was nailed to the cabinets and showed a gap at the ceiling. I found on the internet that truss cielings and roofs expand at different rates than stud walls. My cure for the ceiling gap was to replace the moulding and secure the new moulding to the cieling and let it float on the cabinet. The problem was solved. It may Work for you.
Good Luck Woodbutcher

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 7:26PM
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That sounds like truss heave. Where the trusses move seasonally or because of differences in humidity.

The idea of fastening the crown to the ceiling trusses and letting it float on the walls is the easiest fix. The only gotcha is on the two walls that are parallel to the trusses. You may have to add nailers above the sheet rock for the ceiling.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:27PM
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Hi, I got around adding nailers. Moulding is pretty light.
I put LocTight glue on the moulding held it in place and used a air gun and shot in the nails at opposing 45degree angles. Worked great.
Good Luck Woodbutcher

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 8:06PM
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Several already replied about the trusses. Search Google for "truss uplift".

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 12:50PM
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