Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney
12 posts / 0 new
Last post
60sHouse
Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney

I have a bedroom, and one of the walls is soft & squeaky. Here are the characteristics of the wall:

- the bedroom is on the second floor
- there is a window in the center of the wall
- the fireplace chimney is on the exterior of the wall
- when I press my hand against the wall, the wall gives & squeaks
- when the wind blows, an intermittent tapping noise comes from the wall

A neighboring bedroom shares the exterior, chimney wall -- the walls in this second bedroom are firm, and do not squeak.

The room is fine, except for windy days & windy nights -- the wind movement against the house or the wall, seems to cause tapping noises -- these noises coming from the soft, squeaky wall are annoying. It's hard to get a good night's sleep in the room.

Is there anyway to fix the soft, squeaky wall?

Thanks!

85 Year Old Colonial
Re: Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney

Soft & Squeaky,

First of all, when you say soft what do you mean? Is the wall/drywall itself soft as in wet or damp? Does the wall/drywall move in and out when you push in on it?

60sHouse
Re: Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney
85 Year Old Colonial wrote:

Soft & Squeaky,

First of all, when you say soft what do you mean? Is the wall/drywall itself soft as in wet or damp? Does the wall/drywall move in and out when you push in on it?

Hi 85 Year Old Colonial,

The wall is not damp - it is dry. The wall is soft - maybe because the drywall is not screwed to the studs? (Not sure) But when I push on the wall, it definitely moves in and squeaks, and when I release, it moves out and squeaks. Much appreciate your help.

A. Spruce
Re: Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney
60sHouse wrote:

Hi 85 Year Old Colonial,

The wall is not damp - it is dry. The wall is soft - maybe because the drywall is not screwed to the studs? (Not sure) But when I push on the wall, it definitely moves in and squeaks, and when I release, it moves out and squeaks. Much appreciate your help.

Sounds like the fasteners (nails ) have loosened, allowing the drywall to defect and it squeaks on the nails as it moves. The cure is to find the nails, give them a tap, then install a screw directly above it. The screw heads will have to be filled and topped with drywall compound when you're done. You may need to touch up the wall texture when you're done, spot prime the patch work, then spot paint the patches, then paint the entire wall to blend it all together.

jkirk
Re: Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney

good point

just curious though is it possible there is a leak but it just hasnt made its way to the drywall yet.. but it is rotting the framing

A. Spruce
Re: Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney

That's possible J, though not likely. Interior wall moisture would telegraph through as damp, cold, shadowed, and moldy. Fasteners will generally rust and bleed through. There is also generally signs of moisture issues/damage to the exterior of the wall as well.

From the descriptions given, I suspect a few things. Most common is that a home is built with wet lumber, or at least a very high moisture content, the drywall is applied and over time the wood dries and shrinks, creating slack in the fasteners. Drastic fluctuations in the relative humidity, seasonal temperature fluctuations, and an unsealed wall can cause expansion and contraction of the framing, also creating slack in the fasteners. Excessive vibration can loosen nails as well.

canuk
Re: Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney

I'm thinking what's confusing is the term *soft* which one would consider as soft -- punky -- usually from moisture.
When I believe the OP is meaning the wall *gives* -- not firmly secured in place.

Usually when it's a case of shrinkage you will definately see nail pops , especially if the OP is able to push against the wall and feel it give.

Quote:

- the fireplace chimney is on the exterior of the wall
- when I press my hand against the wall, the wall gives & squeaks
- when the wind blows, an intermittent tapping noise comes from the wall

It may be the actual framing around the chimney that's not fastened very well. It's unknown if ths chimney is covered or exposed but either way the framing around the chimney would need to be built around and not fastened to it --- who knows what is used and how it was framed.

Simply --- locate the *stud* nearest the point where the wall *gives* and drive in some drywall screws --- if that solves the problem then it's a simple fix. Otherwise, it's time to open the wall in this area to investigate further. Though, the mention of wind blowing and causing noises indicates to me the wall should opened anyway to seal the gaps --- and check for moisture as well.

2 cents worth.

60sHouse
Re: Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney
A. Spruce wrote:

That's possible J, though not likely. Interior wall moisture would telegraph through as damp, cold, shadowed, and moldy. Fasteners will generally rust and bleed through. There is also generally signs of moisture issues/damage to the exterior of the wall as well.

From the descriptions given, I suspect a few things. Most common is that a home is built with wet lumber, or at least a very high moisture content, the drywall is applied and over time the wood dries and shrinks, creating slack in the fasteners. Drastic fluctuations in the relative humidity, seasonal temperature fluctuations, and an unsealed wall can cause expansion and contraction of the framing, also creating slack in the fasteners. Excessive vibration can loosen nails as well.

Yes, there is a marked difference in the behavior of the wall when the temperature drops into the 30s, 40s, and below. The wall squeaks all year round when I press my hand against it. But it is only when Fall/Winter weather sets in, that the wall seems to make tapping noises on its own - without my pressing my hand against it - I can sit opposite the wall, on the other side of the room, and if it is windy outside, I'll start hearing distinct tapping, almost like a telegraph, coming from the wall.

At this point, I'm going to do as you suggest and start putting some screws into the studs. I have all winter and plenty of windy days to see if that works. I'll report back with results. Thanks very much for the suggestion!

60sHouse
Re: Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney
canuk wrote:

I'm thinking what's confusing is the term *soft* which one would consider as soft -- punky -- usually from moisture.
When I believe the OP is meaning the wall *gives* -- not firmly secured in place.

Usually when it's a case of shrinkage you will definately see nail pops , especially if the OP is able to push against the wall and feel it give.

It may be the actual framing around the chimney that's not fastened very well. It's unknown if ths chimney is covered or exposed but either way the framing around the chimney would need to be built around and not fastened to it --- who knows what is used and how it was framed.

Simply --- locate the *stud* nearest the point where the wall *gives* and drive in some drywall screws --- if that solves the problem then it's a simple fix. Otherwise, it's time to open the wall in this area to investigate further. Though, the mention of wind blowing and causing noises indicates to me the wall should opened anyway to seal the gaps --- and check for moisture as well.

2 cents worth.

This is the odd thing -- I don't see any nail pops. And it is only this room that seems to have the problem. Not sure if it's the chimney. But, most of the houses in the immediate neighborhood were built at the same time with the same configuration. So, I plan to do a little research to see if any neighbors have the same problem with their second story bedrooms next to the chimney. It's really odd that one room, and one wall in the entire house is defective. But the entire wall, from corner to corner, squeaks when I apply pressure. The chimney is exposed - not covered. Not too happy with the prospect of having to open the wall up, but if putting additional screws into the studs doesn't work, that's what we'll have to do.

A. Spruce
Re: Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney
60sHouse wrote:

But it is only when Fall/Winter weather sets in, that the wall seems to make tapping noises on its own - without my pressing my hand against it -

That would be expansion and contraction of the loose materials causing the squeak.

60sHouse wrote:

This is the odd thing -- I don't see any nail pops.

It's possible that the fasteners glanced through the side of the framing, giving it something to squeak against without having any holding ***** which would cause the pop marks on the wall surface.

When you install new fasteners, start with a small nail and tap it through the drywall every 1/2" in a horizontal line until you find the stud. Once you've found the stud, locate the edges of it, then mark the centerline, this is where you want to install your screws. If you've got more than one stud that seems loose, measure 16" over and repeat the probing to find the center of the stud.

Derfskrub
Re: Soft, squeaky drywall near Chimney
60sHouse wrote:

I have a bedroom, and one of the walls is soft & squeaky. Here are the characteristics of the wall:

- the bedroom is on the second floor
- there is a window in the center of the wall
- the fireplace chimney is on the exterior of the wall
- when I press my hand against the wall, the wall gives & squeaks
- when the wind blows, an intermittent tapping noise comes from the wall

A neighboring bedroom shares the exterior, chimney wall -- the walls in this second bedroom are firm, and do not squeak.

The room is fine, except for windy days & windy nights -- the wind movement against the house or the wall, seems to cause tapping noises -- these noises coming from the soft, squeaky wall are annoying. It's hard to get a good night's sleep in the room.

Is there anyway to fix the soft, squeaky wall?

Thanks!

I have a house with the same problem. Did you find a fix that worked?
Thanks
Derf

Pages

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.