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Old 06-20-2009, 04:14 PM   #1
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curious cracks in drywall, plus door sag


I noticed my front door rubbing in the top corner across from the hinges about 2 yrs ago. I made some adjustments to the jamb on top and on the side which took care of it for a while but the problem is still there. I now have a crack in the drywall above the door which starts at the door and goes upward with the widest part of the crack at the door. There is a large window to the side which also has a similar crack in the drywall above it. Neither crack is very large. This area is in an addition to the house where the old garage was. Suspecting some sagging in the whole wall across what used to be the garage door opening I placed a nail 6" above the floor on both adjacent walls in the corner. i then pulled a string across the room and marked the string line on the wall at mid span (the wall is 13'-8" wide). I expected the string line to be about 6 1/4 to 6 1/2 inches above the floor indicating the floor was sagging about that much. Low and behold it was right at 6". I'm thinking that what I have to do now is move the jamb upward on the side opposite the door. First I have to remove the adjustable threshold. I don't remember exactly how I put that in but I'll get it out and then I plan to remove the jamb nails and shim the jamb upward .

Anyone have any ideas about those cracks or guidance on this little problem?


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Old 06-20-2009, 05:21 PM   #2
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curious cracks in drywall, plus door sag


Keep checking cause something is moving on that side. Have you looked for signs of carpenter ants? Really tuff not being there to actually see the area but things are not adding up

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Old 06-20-2009, 06:00 PM   #3
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curious cracks in drywall, plus door sag


This is North Dakota. We have some small carpenter ants but generally they're not a problem. There really is an up side to -20 winters. I don't think it is that. Could the cracking be normal settling? This is on an addition that was built in 1998. There is only a crawl space under it - my old garage floor and unfortunately it's only about 8" between the floor and the joists. I don't fit under there. i was going to pull the carpet back and cut a hole in the floor then jack up the sill on that wall and put some shims in - until my measurements indicated that there is no settlement.
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:46 PM   #4
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curious cracks in drywall, plus door sag


Are the door and window in the same wall or one in the old wall and other in new one?
Really hard to believe the the entire addition can be dropping and staying exactly level. Do you have a laser level? Reason: for curiosity, get a level line across the wall from OLD section right across addition, doesnt matter if they are not exact height, if you are parrallel in old section, you should be parrallel in new, maybe the height is off touch but parrallel is the important part. At least them you know everyting in in plane to each other and most likely nothing major is moving, then I would go ahead and re hang the door. The part that is a tad worriesome is the window is also telling you the same story. I never heard of something RISING but stranger things have happened :}.
Look at those cracks standing back, are they kinda forming a "V" IE door cracking toward the window and window toward the door? If so then what ever the issue is, I would look about under the center of that inverted "V"
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:38 PM   #5
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curious cracks in drywall, plus door sag


I dropped the floor in the new addition by about 8" so it is lower throughout. I do not have a laser level. The two cracks are vertical, probably at joints in the drywall.
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:57 PM   #6
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The drywall is moving. If the floor is not, the top plates are compressing from the roof.

When you framed the addition, was it inclement weather? Did the framing get wet during it? Did you hand nail or use a pneumatic nailer? (I've seen pros with gaps at joints of studs, plates, and rafters that will settle over time.)

Is there a point load above or near the cracks? Roof over-frame, double rafters for skylights, etc.?

Did you have any snow load this past winter? Be safe, G
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:34 AM   #7
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curious cracks in drywall, plus door sag


If you have a basement, check the sill plate and rim joist under and around the door. This is a prime place for termites to get in as the front staircase hides access to the wood above the foundation.
If you don't have a basement, remove the base molding and probe the sill plate.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:19 PM   #8
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curious cracks in drywall, plus door sag


The drywall itself isn't moving. The framing BEHIND it MAY be (and likely is). As GBAR pointed out, the moisture content of the lumber when installed, the climate as of late, and other factors will cause lumber "movement" which will cause "hairline" cracks in the joints (especially short joints over window and door headers). There are several pieces of lumber fastened together to make headers above openings (as I'm sure you know) and if each piece shrinks 1/8" as it dries, there is significant "movement" to cause a crack. Lumber "naturally" shrinks/expands during your heating/cooling seasons annually and can cause recurring cracks. Here in Georgia we are (and have been) in a drought situation for a couple of years. The ground water table drops and settling occurs even in houses 30+ years old (like mine). Doors don't want to open and close properly, drywall cracks (mine hasn't yet), settling occurs. Hard to say, but it doesn't sound like you have any REAL structural issues as of yet. If those cracks in the drywall get to be 1/4" wide or you can't get the door opened or shut without a major ordeal I wouldn't get overly concerned. Try to adjust the door again, tape and finish the cracks, keep an eye out for further indications of other problems.....
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:40 PM   #9
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Good catch, Bjb. I was thinking the framing was moving, but my brain check was off, and typed drywall.
Actually, when you think about it, part of the drywall is moving.... hence the crack, but that sure doesn't sound correct. Be safe, G
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:11 PM   #10
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curious cracks in drywall, plus door sag


I am curoius if you think that "frost heave" and settlement may have something to do with it?
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:11 PM   #11
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"This area is in an addition to the house where the old garage was. Suspecting some sagging in the whole wall across what used to be the garage door opening"

1. Did anyone pour a new footing and concrete stub wall under the garage door opening?
2. Or is the floor framing on the slab of the opening?
3. Are rafters or trusses bearing over the door or window? Hence the snow question.
4. Was the new footing/wall tied into the existing front garage returns with steel re-bar?
5. Use a ladder and sight the front roof line edge at the eaves for straight, does it bow down over the door/window?

Drywall should be installed with no joints over doors or windows, if possible. If any load is applied above such, the joints will crack in a second, with only tape and thin mud holding it in check.

This idea of a load above comes from the crack being wider near the door and going smaller upwards. A load from above forcing the framing down, with the door (jambs rigid- unmovable) resisting, causing the crack.
If it was frost heave, wouldn't the crack widths be reversed?
Be safe, G
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:24 PM   #12
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curious cracks in drywall, plus door sag


You 've made some good points GBAR. I've lived and worked in Seattle all my life where the subject of frost heave rarely comes up. My thoughts were that if the framing for the addition was done directly on the old slab, the slab itself may heave up with a snow load on the roof, after the thaw it settles back down and causes a crack. Just a theory, farfetched? Could be. Poor framing more than likely.
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Old 06-25-2009, 07:38 AM   #13
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curious cracks in drywall, plus door sag


Thanks to all for comments. There was no new footing put in. As I recall my contractor (who I thought was sub par) spanned the opening with some kind of beam. It is probably also partially supported off of the old garage floor slab. He would not have tied it into the garage returns. I'm not entirely familiar with that term "returns" but imagine you mean the two short side walls. The slab itself would have a footing under it at the front and the code would have had the footing down four feet. The garage slab did have some settlement next to the house since the slab itself rested on the footings at the garage perimeter but then floated on the soil. Since the original construction had inadequate compaction eventually the slab settled next to the house where there was no footing. Similarly, there was settlement of the driveway slab right next to the garage slab of about 2 1/2 inches as I recall. I hired a mud jacking contractor at one point about 18 yrs ago who came and jackhammered holes in the slab and pumped a cement slurry under the slab, lifting it even with the adjacent concrete supported by the footings. So, in conclusion, the front of my addition I think is adequately supported.

Yes, that side of the house is the bearing side (gable roof) where the rafters are supported. Yes, we had about 104 inches of snow this past winter and I actually shoveled it off of the roof in this area. This is probably not the issue however as the two cracks and door issues predate this past winter and really got no worse.

I believe I have probably addressed the problem for now. In between watching the US open this past weekend I removed the trim around the door on the latch side and the top. I discovered that there were no shims whatsoever on either of these two sides and I could not even find jamb nails. The only supports were the long screws installed for the dead bolt lock and the latch. I believe the door was installed with the brick trim nailed into the door jack studs and header and probably was never properly installed. I made some adjustments there and think I have it in order at least for the time being. If I have this problem again I will completely remove the door and properly install it. I question how the jamb on the hinge side of the door has been supported and I suspect that side is probably moving a little if there are no shims there either. I do know that the hinge screws are probably 3 inches long since that is how long the dead bolt latch screws were so I'm hopeful about the future. BTW I used the DAP expandable gap filler stuff to fill in the space between the jamb and jack studs. I hope everyone's experience with that stuff has been good. I don't like using the Great Stuff as it expands too much to easily use and clean up is a mess.

Thanks again to all who responded. You were very helpful. One more thing. The contractor did put joints in the sheetrock above the door and window. I have some other mudding and taping work going this summer and I'll address that with some fiber tape or else replace the drywall.
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:01 PM   #14
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curious cracks in drywall, plus door sag


Wow, And hello from Fargo BleedPurple.

I hope that you got everything worked out and if you need any further onsite help and are close to Fargo, let me know!

Happy 4th and take care!

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