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Drywall Tape Pulling Off The Ceiling

nwguy's picture

HELP!  I HAVE A DRYWALL TAPE DISASTER!!!  We just finished building a new single story house in Washington State last fall.  At first the drywall job looked fine.  We primed, painted with latex flat paint and moved in.  Now in most of the rooms, the drywall tape is pulling away from the ceiling at the joint where the interior walls and ceiling meet.  The part of the tape that's on the wall is fine.  It's as if someone has pushed the ceiling upward about 1/8", leaving the wall intact but causing the tape to pull away from the ceiling.  The house is standard stick-framed, 2x6 exterior walls and 2x4 interior walls.  Standard 8' ceilings.  Insulation batts to code, including the attic space.  The roof has an 8x12 pitch and is trusses, not framed.  I'm not sure if the trusses were nailed to the top plates of the interior walls or not.  Note that this problem is not occurring at all, at the exterior wall-to-ceiling joints, its only on the interior wall-to-ceiling joints.  Some rooms are especially bad, some rooms are fine and some rooms only have several bad areas.  So the big questions are; 1) what caused this to happen, 2) how could we have avoided this, and 3) what's the easiest way to fix the problem.  Thanks.

(post #60298, reply #1 of 30)

Sounds like the wood has done the expantion/contraction thing along with the house settling although  it shouldn't have done it to that degree.


You do live in a real wet climate, right? But still.


Doubt its the spackle guys fault.


Have you spoken to them?


You should be able to slide some mud under the tape where its coming away from the ceiling with not much of a problem.


My guess is that you got some seriously wet wood. I've been there before.


Be well and good luck


                              andy


 


My life is my passion!




http://CLIFFORDRENOVATIONS.COM

(post #60298, reply #2 of 30)

truss uplift..or the plates are shinking.


 




Spheramid Enterprises Architectural Woodworks


Repairs, Remodeling, Restorations. 


 


 

www.richmondrenovationsandrestoration.com  

(post #60298, reply #3 of 30)

Ah, truss uplift. Probably the interior walls are worse than the exterior walls, right?

The folks who put the drywall up were supposed to avoid nailing/screwing the ceiling drywall within a foot or 18 inches of the edge, so that there would be a little flex there. If they don't do this, as the roof trusses flex with temperature and moisture variations and the bottom "chord" of the roof truss bows upward slightly, it will pull the ceiling away from the wall, and ripping open the seams.

You can take a little comfort in the fact that this is worse in a new home, as the wood has not stablized in terms of moisture yet. So you have a reasonable chance that if you fix it then the problem won't recur as severely. If it does then maybe you should consider crown molding.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #60298, reply #4 of 30)

Read this, I think this is your problem - too much moisture/humidity.


http://www.wconline.com/wc/cda/articleinformation/features/bnp__features__item/0,,22578,00+en-uss_01dbc.html


 


 

(post #60298, reply #5 of 30)

You've just described a classic case of truss uplift. Unfortunately, it is one of those things that is easier to prevent than to fix. using corner clips and/or keeping the ceiling boards flex fit as described earlier here is the right way to install it. The builder should be responsible for fixing this for you.

 

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(post #60298, reply #6 of 30)

I've read that truss uplift can be exasperated by extra moisture caused by improper venting.  On the other hand I have had it occur in houses that had perfectly vented attics.  The thing that really irks me about this is that your drywall is your primary air barrier, and now it's got leaks!  As mentioned above, I believe that improper fastening of the drywall is a contributor.  I've been told that the bottom chords of the trusses should not be nailed to the interior walls, but I've found that nailing them down reduces the possibility of this happening.  One truss manufacturer that we used to use, included instructions about using special clips to secure the walls, but still let the bottom chords of the trusses move up and down - never actually saw one of the clips though.  Just a picture on a piece of paper...  Seems like if the truss company was serious about this they would supply the hardware - couldn't be more than about $10 or $20 for a house.    Me - too late now, but I say nail 'em down tight, and keep an eye on your drywall hangers. 


One question: what is the floor system of the house made of, and if it is not slab-on-grade, what are the spans?


Matt
Matt

(post #60298, reply #26 of 30)

"I've been told that the bottom chords of the trusses should not be nailed to the interior walls, but I've found that nailing them down reduces the possibility of this happening. "

I honestly think it's a bad idea. You might get away with it most of the time. But once in a while you'll get nailed. (No pun intended)

Don't know if you read the truss uplift thread I did. But here's an example from that thread:

Case #2. A guy builds a $450,000 spec house. It has an indoor pool and a huge hot tub in the master suite. No vapor barrier in the ceiling. Bath and kitchen fans are exhausted into the attic. In one spot in the house, a girder truss had been securely fastened to the top plate of the wall under it. The wall had been picked up unevenly, and caused a HUGE wandering crack in the drywall. Cracks were evident at other locations as well.

I've only seenone case of this, but that was enough for me. You wouldn't believe how bad the cracking was where they'd nailed the truss to that wall. So I don't recommend it solely for that reason. Fixing truss uplift is bad enough. Fixing "wall uplift" would REALLY be a pain.

Theoretically, nailing the trusses to the walls might damage the trusses. But I haven't never heard of a case where that happened.


"I've read that truss uplift can be exasperated by extra moisture caused by improper venting. On the other hand I have had it occur in houses that had perfectly vented attics."

I haven't seen a case of it yet where there weren't venting problems, or a complete lack of venting. But it's not like I've dealt with hundreds of them.



Our main agenda is to have all guns banned. We must use whatever means possible. It does not matter if you have to distort facts or even lie. [Sarah Brady, Handgun Control, Inc., The National Educator, January, 1994]

(post #60298, reply #28 of 30)

Thanks for the reply Boss.


I read through most of those threads, and you had an interesting link or 2 in there too.


Personally though, I'm still unconvinced and am going to discount the example the house where "It has an indoor pool and a huge hot tub in the master suite. No vapor barrier in the ceiling. Bath and kitchen fans are exhausted into the attic."
 


Matt
Matt

(post #60298, reply #29 of 30)

Well, you got a point. That was an unusual case.

But that's not the only case I've heard of where trusses picked up interior walls. And it was dramatic enough that it made a big impression on me.



Nothing is wasted which makes a memory.

(post #60298, reply #30 of 30)

Ok - I talked to a Home Inspector who had been doing it full time for 10 years.  1000s of houses.  He is a PE too.  He said he had PERSONALLY seen several occasions where trusses had been nailed to interior partitions and the trusses were being pulled apart in a truss uplift situation.  So, now I'm convinced.
  

Matt

Matt

(post #60298, reply #7 of 30)

When I read your post I thought it was a pop quiz!  This sounds like a classic case of truss uplift, as Dan, and Piffin have pointed out.


The classic case has trusses with too much moisture content drying out after construction, often in the first winter.


I agree with the comment that your builder is responsible. It is a well known issue, and the trusses should have been kept dry, and the sheetrock should have been installed with this issue in mind.


Now, if you are, for some reason, unable to acheive satisfaction from your builder, and don't want to start digging out the sheetrock fasteners and re-doing the work, (A big mess!) you can install crown, attached to the ceiling on angled backing blocks, that will mask the gap which will shrink and expand, to some degree, seasonally.


 


Jake Gulick


Lateapex911@optonline.net


CarriageHouse Design


Black Rock, CT

Jake Gulick

Lateapex911@optonline.net

CarriageHouse Design

Black Rock, CT

(post #60298, reply #8 of 30)

Thanks to all who have contributed their ideas about my problem.  I suspected truss lift and you all have basically confirmed my guess.  I hate doing things twice, so to "fix" the problem, I'm probably going to go with the crown-moulding solution, so I don't end up having to touch up the drywall and re-paint every season.


I'm frustrated by this situation.  This isn't the first house built in Washington with trusses - why doesn't every new budget house have this problem?  If there is an obvious method for preventing the problem, you'd think truss makers, drywallers and framers would be aware of it.   By Washington code, the house has an "all house" exhaust fan on a timer, that is supposed to refresh the air periodically, so I don't think moisture buildup is a big factor here.  In fact, the problem began to show up before anyone was even living in the house!    So I won't set myself up for this problem again the next time, I have 2 last questions; 1) do you'll think nailing the bottom of the trusses to the tops of the walls would have prevented this problem, 2) Is this a truss issue, in-other-words if the builder had framed the roof instead of using trusses, would this have prevented the problem?


Thanks again for all the good advice!


     

(post #60298, reply #9 of 30)

I have heard of trusses lifting as much as 2 inches from the plates. Trusses are not to be nailed to interior wall top plates. Nailing them down might have caused you even more problems. and yes, conventional framing would have prevented this, but that is not to say conventional framing is better. It sounds like a miscommunication between the drywaller and the builder. the rock guy should'nt have screwed off within 2 feet of the walls. He came in after insulation, maybe he did'nt know they were trusses.


 

(post #60298, reply #10 of 30)

Conventional stick framing IS better......sorry Boss Hogg, but I'm a purist!  Long live the roof cutter!!!!

(post #60298, reply #11 of 30)

Down with trusses!

Up with sticks!

;)

 

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(post #60298, reply #17 of 30)

Thats a matter of opinion. I am also a traditionalist. I would'nt use trusses on my own house but I might use them on a larger job If I had a tight budget. Personally I like the Attic space you get with stick frame.


To answer the question "what kind of trouble could result from nailind down the truss?". With a truss uplift you could pull apart a web member that was designed for compression. Now that is an issue I would'nt want to deal with. You would void your warrantee on the trusses and end up footing the bill for replacement of everything from the plate up.

(post #60298, reply #19 of 30)

>> To answer the question "what kind of trouble could result from nailind down the truss?". With a truss uplift you could pull apart a web member that was designed for compression. << 


Has anyone actually seen this happen?


Matt
Matt

(post #60298, reply #22 of 30)

I never have, but working most of my life in fairly isolated locations, I have not used manyu trusses or worked behind them.

That said, those i have installed, I make sure not to nail the interior walls to them directly. I'm sure our use of strapping here in New England helps with that some too.

But it is mainly because all the truss manufacturers and best practices manuals always state clearly that the trusses should not be so nailed.

Theoretically, it is possible to have failure so when you take it on yourself to do something specifically against the instructins, youtake on the risk to yourself. I'm willing to do that when I am 101% convinced that my situation is so drasticly different from the norm that i am assured of success, but normally, I like to play it conservative and work within the confines of the norm. Why should I risk a structural failure to avoid a cosmetic failure, when there are far safer methods of avoiding the cosmetic failure?

 

 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Welcome to the
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Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
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Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #60298, reply #23 of 30)

I'm all about reading and following manufacturers' instructions.  But, once I go on 5 or 6 callbacks for the same issue (truss uplift), then I gotta come up with my own plan.   And telling the drywall guys not to nail/screw close to the walls hasn't totally worked.


I still want to hear from someone with first hand experience telling about problems caused by nailing down the bottom chords.  


BTW, in my .7 post, I asked about the floor structure.  Guess newgy either didn't see it, or something, but anyway, we had one house that had what appeared to be truss uplift.  The floor system was 18" high webbed trusses spanning ~26' with a lot of open space below that.  What I found, using a rotating laser, was that the floor was actually sagging, pulling the walls down.  Can't say if the sag happened before or after move-in, or if it was the problem, but the sag was there...
  


Matt
Matt

(post #60298, reply #24 of 30)

You may have something there too.

 

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Welcome to the
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(post #60298, reply #20 of 30)

Mav,


   Lighten up a 'lil bit   :).   Trusses surely have their place in todays buildings.  Just trying to get a little rise out of BH and other truss guys.   Putting in a plug for us framers you know?

(post #60298, reply #27 of 30)

"Just trying to get a little rise out of BH and other truss guys."

You'll have to try harder than that...............(-:



Condoms aren't completely safe.
A friend of mine was wearing one and got hit by a bus.

(post #60298, reply #12 of 30)

Wana share some of the problems you have experienced by nailing down the bottom truss chords?   Like I said, I've been told not to, but I was also told by an old carpenter who I have the utmost respect for to nail 'em down tight unless you want to deal with truss uplift.  Since then, I've had them nailed down in probably 12 houses with no problems (and no uplift).  Also, I gotta wonder if some design styles of trusses are more prone to uplift than others, and therefore, if the truss designer doesn't have some control over these situations.


BTW - I agree trusses are for tract builders and others who can't afford skilled carpenters.
 


Matt
Matt

(post #60298, reply #13 of 30)

Can I please play devils advocate, and ask what would make a stick frame less likely to move with humidity levels.  I am sure that Boss can defend his trusses better than I can, but I am unclear on how it would differ.  If a carpenter nailed it on site, or a shop somewhere else nailed it, lumber still moves as it dries out.  Or are all the carpenters framing with engineered lumber so it is not as wet?  Just wondering?  I am not building either way, so no axe to grind, but curious to an extreme most of the time.


Dan

(post #60298, reply #14 of 30)

Stick frame does not have web members like a truss does.  These webs fully triangulate the trusses and give awesome strength.  However, some of the members are loaded in tension, and others in compression.  Some boards will change in length as they change moisture levels, which alters the truss geometry.  Nailing the bottom chord firmly down will likely result in fractured wood or a lifted top plate, both bad.


 


Bugle

(post #60298, reply #15 of 30)

Dan


I think there's another factor in play.  We all know wood moves.  A lot of 2x10's are 9-5/8" when framing, and in 20 year old houses they can be down to 9-1/8". This movement isn't that big of a deal unless it's uneven.  Alot of homes use a dimensional lumber beam in the basement, set on a post which bears on square footings.  I think that through the course of a few seasons, the footing might sink a small amount relative to the footing on the exterior foundation walls, and the beam might shrink, dropping the joists 1/4" or so on the inside of the house.  This pulls the center of the house down, except for the trusses don't care if there is a bearing wall or not under them mid span.  They stay straight (or close to it) while everything else pulls down.  Then you have perceived truss uplift.


 


Jon Blakemore

 

Jon Blakemore

RappahannockINC.com

Fredericksburg, VA

(post #60298, reply #16 of 30)

i agree with jon... you shouldn't assume truss uplift until you've analyzed the situation..


 measure the depth of your floor framing..


 measure the moisture content of the  wood..


 measure the RH in the house


this could simply be a LACK of moisture and shrinkage of your framing...


 it doesn't take twenty years... it can be the 2d heating season if you don't have  a humidifier.. especially in leaky tract houses..


does all of your trim  have gaps ?.. is your furniture joints loose ?


check it out.. the truss might be right where it always was.. and the center stick may have dropped due to shrinkage


Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #60298, reply #18 of 30)

You make a good point. It's time someone ventured into the attic with a flashlight.


I don't remember if the author said the wallboard is lifting up or just the corner tape joint is falling apart. I have noticed, especially on cathedral cielings where wall meets cieling, joints coming apart. I suspect a void in the insulation at the rafter to plate. On a cold day, moisture would condense there and "melt" the compound. that with a little seasonal shrinkage in the framing will pull the tape loose.

(post #60298, reply #21 of 30)

Theoreticaly, that might be possible, but it takes quite a stretchof imagination to see this having happened along all the interior walls and none of the exterior walls.

 

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Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
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Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #60298, reply #25 of 30)

Sorry I didn't check out this thread sooner. I just figured it was about drywall, not trusses.

I did an extensive thread about Truss uplift that you might want to check out.

Like others have said, it's a lot easier to prevent than to cure.



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