I get this question a lot, do you know why drywall cracks? The answer can be straightforward most of the time with a basic understanding of how your home is built. Drywall will typically crack from the home settling over time, or the drywall wasn’t installed or repaired right. Today I’ll give you the top reasons why drywall cracks and hopefully you’ll be able to pinpoint the issue.
#1: Houses Settle Over Time
A lot of the time, many cracks appear due to your home settling. As strong as homes can be, it’s not a match for mother nature. It’s always a good idea to check and make sure there are no issues with your home foundation first. As a great example from my personal experience, my home has some drywall cracks in it. These are in the center of the house, usually near or around corners, on the ceilings, and above doors.
A great way to know if this is a foundation/settling issue is by checking your doors around the home. When you moved in, do you remember the doors closing and opening effortlessly? But suddenly over time, the door started to creak, then got harder to close. This means that it’s not a drywall issue, but a foundation issue. These can be repaired, but it’s not always a quick and easy DIY fix, unfortunately.
Fixing a foundation sometimes requires jacks that are able to lift up the weight of a home a little bit at a time. Once it’s at the desired height again, the real work of keeping it in place begins! Unless you feel comfortable jacking up a house yourself, I would at least hire a pro to take care of that, then learn to do the drywall repairs through my guides here!
#2 Faulty Installation
Since I’m a drywaller by trade, I see these bad drywall jobs a lot. I’m contacted a lot to fix what others have done in order to give customers something that will be strong and last. Believe it or not, the art of drywall is just as important to prevent cracks.
You won’t know until you begin taking a look behind the drywall to verify if it was installed correctly. The most common areas for drywall to crack are around windows/doors and across ceilings. If you notice a crack in a corner, it’s typically due to a leak or bad taping job by a drywall finisher.
If you have drywall cracks around your windows or doors and decide to take care of it yourself, here are things to look for:
Was there a drywall seam (where two pieces of drywall meet) in that area?
– If you have a crack there, there usually is. You can do a quick fix using mesh tape and joint compound, but this crack is sure to come back. When installing drywall, drywallers should (but don’t always) know that there should be no vertical seams around a door or window. These are hot spots for cracking in the future.
Is there mildew/mold on the back side of the drywall?
– If you notice this, I highly recommend hiring a mold assessor to take a look before you continue working in that area. This means there was a leak around a window which caused the tape to crack over time.
#3 Moisture Behind Drywall
This is mostly for two-story homes, but I’ve seen it on one-story homes too! If you have a leaky faucet or toilet upstairs, all it takes for drywall to begin to crack is one constant small drip of water over time. When water pools up behind drywall, it will almost always find its the nearest way to a drywall seam. The drywall seam is where two pieces of drywall are joined together, taped, and lastly mudded.
If water makes its way to a drywall seam, it saturates the joint tape (which is paper) and loosens the compound from the tape. This will cause a small or large crack depending on how long the water issue has been going.
In order to repair this, the leak needs to be repaired first. You’ll have to cut out the drywall to gain access to the ceiling underneath the plumbing. Once the plumbing is repaired, then the drywall can also be repaired. You’ll need to perform a drywall patch, retape and mud, and repaint the ceiling. It’s a lot of repairs needed for one small leak!
Where To Hire Contractors
If you don’t feel comfortable repairing any of these issues above and want to hire out, I always recommend getting quotes from HomeAdvisor(Angi). Think of them like a social media of contractors and homeowners where you can easily find a top-rated contractor nearby. You simply sign up and fill out the work you need to be done, and HomeAdvisor will put you in contact with local, top-rated pros. It’s the easiest way to hire a contractor!