Q: My 1979 post-and-beam house is made from pine timbers. On the ceiling, the drywall fits between the timber rafters, and a bead of sealant was applied where drywall meets wood. The sealant seems to be pulling away, leaving ugly gaps everywhere. Any ideas for a simple fix?

— Siri, New Durham, N.H.

A: Tom says: Given the age of your house, the timbers have dried out as much as they're going to. But even the most well-seasoned wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity, and trying to seal gaps between drywall and timber is a lost cause. Instead, I'd cover the gaps with ¾-inch quarter-round molding, fastened to the timbers — not the drywall — with 4d or 6d finish nails every 12 to 16 inches. Don't put it too tight against the drywall; you want the molding to move with the beam and not to scrape against the ceiling. To make that molding "invisible," paint it the same color as the ceiling before installing it.
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