Cracks reappearing after 4 months

CT_NewbieJanuary 19, 2014

Hi! We had our whole interior house painted. They fixed cracks and nail pops in the walls. However, now, just only 4 months after, we have seen a number of cracks appear or reappear.

The ones on the second floor that border the ceiling and the wall seem like new cracks. Not sure if the extreme cold caused the boards or wood in the unfinished attic to expand and contract causing those cracks. I can't recall if they were there previously, and if they were, they certainly weren't as bad.

There are a few over doorways. I am sure these are the old cracks that were repaired. One is above the master bath. We fixed the side on the bedroom but not in the bath since we plan to renovate that within 9 months. Another is in the foyer

Is there some sort of different repair that I need to request? Should I be paying the painter again for the cracks that reappeared? Or should that work some how be under "warranty." Am I going to have a problem every major season change?

Thank you.


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The cracks are being caused by the framing moving---the painters only made cosmetic fixes---and that is all most painters can do.

There are several reasons the cracks happen. Foundation settling, stressed framing members reacting to moisture changes, loose framing members, and framing reacting to unusual weather---cold/wet/dry/etc.

Fixing those cracks can be almost impossible, since repairing means stripping the house to bare framing/foundation and making the necessary changes.

Things you can do to minimize the cracks that are not being caused by foundation issues are to insulate the entire house better, add/improve the moisture barriers, use humidity control inside, and minimize the temperature swings inside.

Foundations that are moving/settling can be strengthened by several methods---done by companies who specialize in such procedures.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 6:08PM
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Thank you Handyman Mac. Not the answer that I really wanted to hear but important to know. The house is about 15 years old so it should be done settling.

When you say minimize the temperature swings inside, how wide a gap is acceptable. I think ours swings from about 65 to 71. On the program, I think the lowest that the thermostat is set for is 62 but it seems not go below 64/65, at least when I am home to check it. Is 6-9 degree swings acceptable?

Interestingly we had a crack in the inside panel of one of our new cabinet doors which fortunately is covered by warranty. I also noticed a crack in one of our new pottery barn chairs. During the midst of the renovation, the house seemed extremely dry (especially after they sanded the floors but before they put the final coat of poly on.) But to me, the humidity seems fine now and the cracks didn't appear during the driest times. How can I get a check on the humidity levels and/or swings?

When we renovate the bathroom, should we reframe the door since they will likely be taking it down to the studs anyway? Would that solve the issue of the repeating diagonal crack above the corner of the door?

Also, in terms of insulation, we won't re-insulate the house because it would cost too much. However, we could insulate the unfinished attic. Some told me that we should just do walls not the sloped part because the latter could cause too much insulation in the summer which would affect the roof tile glue and cause it to loosen prematurely. Is that true? I need to look but I think most of the attic, while having a high ceiling is sloped with very little true "wall."

Thank you!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 10:11PM
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If your mouldings are opening up, and cabinet doors cracking, that can be due to excessively low indoor humidity. Do you have or require a whole house humidifier?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 8:45AM
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We don't have one. We don't like the mold build up and maintenance required of humidifier but I suppose it is worth exploring.if there is a relatively inexpensive solution.

Is there a device that tests the humidity level and if so, what does it measure it in terms of and what is a "normal level."?


    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:31PM
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Search for digital hygrometer. The link is similar to the one I have. You want it around 50 +/- relative humidity. Definitely not in the 30s in the winter. (It's not good for your health, anyway.) Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: hygrometer

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 6:40PM
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here is more choices

Here is a link that might be useful: amazon thermometers +

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 10:46PM
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Outside temperature is 20 to 40 degrees, humidity indoors should not be more than 40 percent.

10 to 20 degrees, not more than 35 percent.

0 to 10 degrees, not more than 30 percent.

10-below to 0, not more than 25 percent.

20-below to 10-below, not more than 20 percent.

If outdoor temperature is lower than 20-below, inside humidity should not be more than 15 percent.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 1:39PM
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Thank you all for your helpful advice! I will check out those links

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 4:20PM
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