Causes of Ceiling Cracks and Repair Techniques

Nov 6, 2016

Categories: Uncategorized

Cracks in a home’s ceilings are not only unsightly, they can be a clue that structural damage has occurred.  It is obvious that we don’t want cracks in our home’s ceiling, but many homeowners don’t know the cause of the cracks in the first place.  In fact, there are quite a few reasons that a ceiling can begin to crack.  Because cracks in a home’s ceiling can be caused by different issues, the first step to repairing an unsound ceiling is to identify the problem causing the cracks. Once the underlying cause has been discovered, a plan can be made to repair the ceiling damage and the overall cause of the damage, too.

How to Identify the Problem

The state of your ceiling can yield helpful clues that make it easier to discern the cause of the damage. It is important to keep in mind that no matter the type of crack, bigger is not better. Obviously, the size of any crack is relative, but homeowners should keep an eye on any cracks in their home’s ceiling (or foundation, for that matter) to see if the cracks are expanding.  A small crack that has stayed the same size over time is likely a simple fix.  Cracks that grow over time need to be inspected to find the underlying cause.  With that in mind, let’s look at some common types of ceiling cracks and ways to fix them.

  • Vertical Cracks – Cracks that run along the ceiling and then move down to the walls are likely a result of damage to the structure’s foundation. Vertical cracks are definitely a cause for concern and should be inspected by a professional to confirm that foundational shifting is the cause and to determine the best method for repair.
  • Spiderweb Cracks – These are fairly common in older homes that have had a chance to settle a bit. Spiderweb cracks, as the name implies, start at a center point and extend outward in all directions.  If you notice spiderweb cracks in your home’s ceilings or walls, take note of the size of the crack and if it grows over time. Smaller cracks of this type can be due to normal settlement and are an easy fix.  Large spiderweb cracks can indicate underlying structural damage that necessitates the use of a professional repair team.
  • Corners Cracks – The areas where your ceilings and walls meet can crack over time due to natural settling. However, if the damage becomes worse over time, a foundation problem may be causing the cracks.
  • Bowed Ceilings – Bowed ceilings will likely be accompanied by cracks due to movement of the ceiling itself. This type of damage is caused either by inadequate roof or ceiling support or a leaking roof allowing water to enter the home.  It is important to have a professional inspect your home if you notice bowing, cracking ceilings because damage of this kind can lead to a ceiling collapse.

Because these different types of damage can be attributed to different causes, it is extremely important to be able to identify the cause of the damage to prevent it from worsening.  A helpful tip is to use a pencil to lightly mark any cracks that you find in your home to determine if they worsen over time.  If they do, CNT Foundations is available to help you determine the cause of the damage and create a repair plan specific to your home.