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Ceiling Cracks

Friend, purchased home built in the 50's recently with NO apparent cracks in ceiling sheetrock.. Now, within the month CRACKS have appeared, running all over the ceiling.. Think the SELLER did a fast texture job on the ceiling to hide the cracks, but NOW, need to KNOW what caused it in the first place.. SO, What is the cause of this????? I'm sure there are many answers, but would like an opinion..

Re: Ceiling Cracks

Is there an upstairs living space above this ceiling with the cracks?

Re: Ceiling Cracks

Sounds to me like your friend has plaster ceilings....correct?
If so than thats exactly what happened. Someone skim coated the cracks without scraping them open first.

I have a 326 yo house and I've done a whole lot of cracked ceilings here.
What he has to do is scrape each crack open with a screwdriver or the corner of a spackle knife. Clean all the cracks out with a damp sponge and make sure all the shnitzels are brushed off so its real clean.

I like using the light weight joint compound like Red Devil that comes in small containers. I think its the gallon sized I use.


I pack it in good and the next day I skim coat the entire ceiling with regular joint compound and sand it all smooth then prime and paint.

Its been 2-3 years now and not one crack has reapeared

Re: Ceiling Cracks

Thanks for the reply.. NO, there is not a upstairs above the rooms that are cracking.. Could you, please tell me what you think has caused the sheetrock (which is textured)to start the cracking????? Is it structural????

pbran830 .... if you don't mind I'll reply to your private message in this thread .. this will help others that may have similar issues as well anyone else with suggestions.

Like Andy pointed out sounds like the cracks were improperly repaired to begin with.

It's difficult to say what the issue is over the internet as there are many variables that can't be seen. If the home wasn't evaluated before purchase by a home inspector for example .... it might be a good idea to have one or a general contractor come out to evaluate the situation. This way if there is a structural problem or caused buy improper renovations done ... at least they can point the cause and repairs needed .... also there may be some recourse for a non-disclosure complaint if applicable.

There is the question if the ceiling is sheet rock also known as gypsum board or drywall. The ceiling maybe plaster with either gypsum board backer or lathe.
Sheet rock is a lot more forgiving than plaster and usually will crack at the seams between each sheet with the cracks appearing to be linear. Plaster is more brittle and less forgiving allowing cracks to migrate at times being more random.

Where and how the cracks appear may help to determine what's causing the cracks.
If they seem to start at a door or window on an outside wall this might indicate a foundation shift. If they seem to originate at an inside wall might indicate the center support structure may be the cause.

There may have been a renovation done where a supporting wall was removed or opened and improperly supported.

The ceiling may have been drywalled without the seams having tape and joint compound applied before texturing.

The ceiling joists may be sagging or twisting causing cracks.

There might have been someone adding insulation up in the attic and disturbed the ceiling joists.

This may be an addition built onto the home that may be improperly done or supported.

It would be beneficial to have someone come out to see first hand what the situation is.

Hopefully this helps. :)

Re: Ceiling Cracks

Thanks for all the different variables.. Will let friend know what some of the different causes might be.. Now, at least we know where to begin.. :)

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