Cracks in ceilings
Ceiling cracks are simply gaps or openings that form in the drywall or plaster of a ceiling. They can be caused by many things, such as water damage, movement in the home, settling, or even something as simple as a change in temperature.
Types of Cracks in Ceiling
Ceiling cracks can be classified in several different ways. The two most common types are horizontal and vertical, but ceiling cracks can also be diagonal, flat, or elliptical.
- Horizontal Cracks: This type of crack is horizontal and runs across the ceiling from one side to another. It often goes unseen because it occurs above eye level in most rooms.
- The most likely cause for this type of crack is excess moisture in the room below, causing either drywall seams to separate or the plaster to contract. In some cases, they may appear after a renovated home due to structural movement that occurred during the renovation process.
- Vertical Cracks: Vertical cracks occur between walls on opposite sides of a room without continuing onto another floor or wall. This type of crack is often a result of settlement or movement in the home. If the problem causing the movement is not addressed, the crack will continue to worsen over time.
- Diagonal Cracks: Diagonal cracks run from one corner of a room to another, usually caused by movement in the home.
- Flat Ceiling Cracks: Flat ceiling cracks are horizontal or vertical cracks less than 1/8″ wide and do not extend more than 2″ into the ceiling.
- Oblong Ceiling Cracks: These cracks are similar to horizontal cracks but are more elongated in shape. They can be caused by many things, such as water damage, movement in the home, or settlement.
Causes of Cracks in ceilings
There can be several causes for ceiling cracks, but the most common are water damage, movement in the home, and settlement.
- Water Damage: One of the most common causes of ceiling cracks is water damage. Water can cause drywall seams to separate or the plaster to contract, which will create gaps or openings in the ceiling. This type of damage is often easy to see because water stains accompany it on the ceiling or around light fixtures.
- Movement in the Home: Another common cause of ceiling cracks is movement. This can be caused by something as simple as seismic activity, changes in humidity, or wind pressure. If this type of movement is not addressed, it can eventually lead to structural damage.
- Settlement: Settlement in the home can also cause ceiling cracks to form in ceilings over time. If the house settles, it will pull away from the supporting structures underneath it, leading to cracks in the plaster or drywall of a ceiling.
7 Best Methods about how to fix cracks in ceilings?
1. Hollow Expanding Foam
Hollow expanding foam is ideal for sealing small cracks in ceilings that are less than ¼” wide. You can usually find this product at any local hardware store, and it comes in a caulking tube-like silicone caulk. This type of sealant expands to fill the crack as you apply it, which creates an airtight seal over the opening.
2. Metal or Plastic Mesh Tape
Metal or plastic mesh tape is commonly used to repair drywall seams that have separated due to excess moisture seeping into the walls. The metal mesh prevents the seam from reopening once it has been taped together, while the plastic mesh will prevent the sheetrock paper from tearing when excess weight is placed on top of it.
3. Joint Compound
A joint compound is a thick, paste-like material used to fill in and smooth out cracks and holes in drywall. It can be applied using a putty knife or joint trowel, and it needs to be allowed to dry before being sanded down and painted over.
Caulking is a sealant commonly used around windows, doors, and other fixtures in the home. It can also be used to fill in small cracks in ceilings. There are many different types of caulking available, so you will need to choose one best suited for the task at hand.
Epoxy is a two-part adhesive that is often used to repair cracks in concrete or masonry. It can also fill in small holes and cracks in drywall or plaster. Epoxy is a powerful adhesive, ideal for repairing larger or more severe cracks.
6. Waterproof Membrane
If the crack in your ceiling is caused by water damage, you will need to install a waterproof membrane to prevent future leaks. A waterproof membrane is a thin sheet of rubber or plastic installed over the entire ceiling surface. This will help keep moisture from seeping into the drywall or plaster and causing further damage.
7. Patching Compound
Patch compound is a type of drywall mud specifically designed for patching holes and cracks in drywall. It comes in a powdered form, and it needs to be mixed with water before it can be used. The patching compound is easy to apply, and it dries quickly, so you can start sanding it down shortly after application.
If you are experiencing ceiling cracks, it is essential to determine the cause and take steps to fix them. If the cracks are caused by water damage, you will need to take steps to waterproof the ceiling. If the cracks are caused by movement in the home, you may need to install a support system to help stabilize the structure.
If the cracks are caused by settlement, you may need to level out the house’s foundation. By understanding the causes of ceiling cracks, you can take steps to prevent them from getting worse and causing more damage to your home.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
The main difference between wall cracks and ceiling cracks is where they occur. Wall cracks form inside (or outside) of a home’s walls, while ceiling or “popcorn” cracks form on or near the ceilings over time. Ceiling cracks usually occur due to settling, structural damage, or excess moisture in the home.
Roofing repair tape can temporarily fix tears and holes in roofs. However, it should not be used long-term as it will sooner or later tear open again, causing further damage. To prevent further leakage, use a more durable and longer-lasting material such as aluminum flashing and waterproof roofing cement.
Yes, caulk can be used to fill in large holes. However, it is not as strong as some other materials, such as epoxy or patching compounds, so it should only be used for minor repairs such as cracks and chips that do not go all the way through the drywall. Consider using metal mesh tape instead of caulk for more significant or more profound holes.