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Ceiling cracks from house shifting.....

Posted by krissie (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 17, 11 at 18:34

What is the best way to repair cracks in sheet rock ceiling caused by house shifting on clay soil? Crack goes from one side of house to the other.

Had house checked by a structural engineer and it is not caused by the foundation, no cracks. Suggestion was to keep foundation watered on regular basis.

Is there a patch that will work and not pop back open?
Will it be necessary to use plywood to stabilize the ceiling?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ceiling cracks from house shifting.....

If the foundation has not cracked why is their any relaitve movement to crack drywall?

Something does not add up.

RE: Ceiling cracks from house shifting.....

The clay soil expands and contracts according to the structural engineer causing movement.

RE: Ceiling cracks from house shifting.....

"The clay soil expands and contracts according to the structural engineer causing movement."

The whole foundation will move as a single piece unless it has cracks.

Relative movement causes cracking.

RE: Ceiling cracks from house shifting.....

That is what I thought too. I hired a well known structural engineer company and the owner came out to check the house. I did not trust calling a leveling company, they many times will say foundation is cracked just to get a job. Thought I could trust a structural engineer, he would have nothing to gain or lose jobwise.

Looks like I need to do further research.


RE: Ceiling cracks from house shifting.....

Is that crack straight or crooked?

If it is straight, it could be caused by a shifting roof truss or attic rafter.

And, how old is the house? Settling often happens in the first 3 or 4 years normally. However, settling cracks usually show up at the corners of doors/windows, not in ceilings.

Most cracks in ceilings are a truss/rafter/roofing issue.

RE: Ceiling cracks from house shifting.....

I am not sure, but, I think the small house (about 1500 sq. ft.) was built 1960.

The crack is not straight. It goes across ceiling from east side of house toward the west and a little past the middle of house it turns north. It is a long continuing crack. Did not start at a window or door corner.

Other houses in same area have the problem and were told the clay soil was causing their houses to shift. I do not know who they had to check their houses or if that was just someone's opinion. I had a professional structure engineer to check the house. He told us to water the foundation on regular basis due to the clay soil contracting and expanding.

When I used a long level in various places in the house (especially the corners and middle of house) the floors were level.

RE: Ceiling cracks from house shifting.....

The watering around foundations set in clay is not new. That advice has been around for years.

I have no idea if it works. All the information I have seen is anecdotal.

However, since other houses have the same problem, that indicates there is a soil problem.

In your case, I think I would water around the foundation---and there is probably a right and a wrong way to do that for several months and just monitor the crack. If the soil is the problem, fixing the crack not is not a long term fix, since the house might shift again.

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