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Neighbor Lee 11-25-2012 12:15 PM

Double Layer Drywall Ceiling Falling
Have an issue with a home built in mid-70's. Whole house used double thickness drywall. First 1/4" layer was screwed to studs/rafters (upper ceiling layer was foil backed drywall also). Second layer of 1/4" drywall was glued with a special resin process to the first layer.

Several homes in the neighborhood (upscale) have had ceilings buckle inwards, or fall in. Usually first layer of drywall is still fastened to the studs. Just the "applied" layer falls off. Other insurance companies have covered the damage and using "Water Damage" as the source of problem and reason to repair.

Now we have a house that the ceilings are ALL bowing in, separating from the two layers. Upper layer of drywall is still solidly attached to ceiling joists/rafters. But the smart homeowner visualized/realized the damage was starting Prior to the ceilings falling inward. He called his agent to only be told it was not insurable, No Damage Yet. But "kinda" stated that the drywall needs "maintenance like that" to keep the ceilings from falling in!???! Really...actually spoken. Drywall Maintenance? Drywall Lifespan ending was also an excuse for denying claim.

Anyone had experiences with the strange damage, and insurance issues?

BigJim 11-25-2012 12:32 PM

We had sheet rock coming loose from ceiling joist also, never thought about insurance. That would have been a great excuse to cancel or go up on the payments for them. We installed strips to pull the sheet rock back up and installed 1X6 T&G, looks good and it isn't coming down now. Problem solved.:)

My wife called the insurance company (not the one we have now) one time a few years back and asked a question and they canceled the insurance, no claims or anything. Insurance companies are about as low as they come, in my book, I group them in the same boat as lawyers and politicians.:)

drywallfinisher 11-25-2012 12:42 PM

it depends who the insurance company is. I have worked for some that only pay for a percentage of the work and neglect to inform the home owners of the fact until its time for the work to be many cases I'm the person to inform them of their lack of coverage....then I've worked for companies that have their act together and everyone is happy.
as for the ceilings falling...1/4" sheetrock is light and it's only the one layer falling....I'd hang new 1/2" drywall right over the top of the old. Use a panel lift pressing each board up tight and screwing the piss out of it. as long as your screws are long enough and grab the studs firmly the 1/4" falling wount be an issue any longer.

joecaption 11-25-2012 06:18 PM

That's a strange one.
1/4" is way to thin to be used on a ceiling, only a matter of time before the screws or nails are going to pull though.
If it's already sagging then it would be a big mistake to just try and apply 1/2" over it.
I do not even use 1/2" on a ceiling, I only use 5/8". Yes there some light weight drywalls out there rated to be used on a ceiling but I only get paid once for a job and I'm not going to take the chance.
If it was mine I would remove the insulation, remove all the drywall on the ceiling and replace with 5/8 with screws and drywall adhesive.

masterofall 11-25-2012 11:11 PM

Double 1/4 inch is rediculous. We only use 1/4 for bending so putting it on a ceiling is asking for sag at the least with a high posability of failure.
1/2 inch no sag minimum or 5/8 fire guard is best

Neighbor Lee 11-26-2012 08:26 AM

Opps, duh, I meant double 1/2" layers of drywall. Standard bottom layer. Upper second floor ceilings have foil backed sheets.

Screwing in the drywall seems to be the "easy" fix. Unfortunately two major ceilings are cathedral type. Then the question is whether to individually patch the screw heads or Float a layer of plaster.

Another question: Many of the home that had the double layers FALL in had them replaced with a single layer of 1/2 inch. The point behind the double layer installation was multi-fold (fire rating increase, sound abatement, no "nail pops"). The insurance companies said they would not pay the extra, but isnt that what was original, and insured. Now its a downgrade.


mae-ling 11-26-2012 03:44 PM

Insurance coverage totally depends on the insurance. I used to do insurance claims and it seemed to me some people got everything and more and others got nothing.

princelake 11-26-2012 07:15 PM

normally your only covered by things that happen instantly, like if the shingles blow off the roof in a wind storm and the roof leaks. they wont cover your ceiling if the shingles are 40 years old curling up and your roof leaks. so your drywall was installed back in the mid 70's and starting to fall now, its not instant. i cant see your insurance covering you unless something actually happens. go rip a bunch of shingles off your roof, let it leak and water stain the drywall then you can make a claim hahaha!!

ToolSeeker 11-26-2012 08:49 PM

If I am reading this right (and I may not be) it sounds like the glue is failing between the sheets. The reason for this could be age (most likely) but also the sheet of 1/2" that is screwed to the joists after having the weight of the 2nd sheet hanging on it for all this time could be beginning to sag and you wouldn't be able to see it because of the 1st sheet and this movement is breaking the glue bond. Hope this makes sense it did when I started.

drywallfinisher 11-26-2012 10:19 PM


Originally Posted by Neighbor Lee (Post 1060685)

Screwing in the drywall seems to be the "easy" fix. Unfortunately two major ceilings are cathedral type. Then the question is whether to individually patch the screw heads or Float a layer of plaster.

why would it matter if the ceiling was cathedral or not? Something about this isnt right. The houses are double layered for fire rating and sound rating. It almost sounds as if the same builder used the same drywall sub who used too short of screws through the entire
set of homes.
I'd just bite the bullet and screw off every ceiling in the house in a very tight screw pattern. every six inches or something ridiculous and over kill. patch where you need to but screw off all the ceilings again. inch and sevens, course thread grabbers.
It sucks your insurance has let you down.

ToolSeeker 11-27-2012 07:09 AM

Yea but finisher it has lasted 40 years wouldn't short screws have shown up before now and the way I read it whice may be wrong the sheet thats coming off isn't screwed it's just glued to the first. 40 years seems pretty good for a glue bond.

mikegp 11-27-2012 07:34 AM

I might not be reading this correctly, but it doesn't sound like an insurance issue. That's more of a home warranty type issue if you happen to have one that would cover such a thing. Even if you had a leak in your roof that caused the drywall to be damaged over time, it's still not an insurance issue. It's like calling up Geico because your car AC stopped blowing cold air or your window regulator failed.

AllanJ 11-27-2012 12:24 PM

Short screws is probably not the problem. You are having the drywall fall with the screws remaining behind, no?

Most likely the problem is not having enough screws, or not using screws to hold the bottom sheet on as well and then the glue failed.

Another possible problem with two 1/2" sheets is that the joists or rafters might not be able to support the weight.

Six inch spacing of drywall screws is within the "normal" range.

If the screw is put in so tight that the drywall paper covering is broken most of the way around the screw head then that screw's holding power is very much reduced.

bjbatlanta 12-05-2012 03:11 PM

Original post says second layer was "glued with a special resin process.....", no mention of screws in second layer. Sounds like the glue has failed as ToolSeeker mentioned. And you're likely to have nails in the first layer. Screws were pretty much unheard of forty years ago. I did repairs on some "upper end" homes years ago with a similar situation except it was just one layer of drywall. Someone came up with a system to eliminate fasteners in the "field" of the board, thus preventing nail pops. Adhesive was used and the field was nailed with "stopper nails". They had a cardboard "washer" on them to prevent dimpling the surface of the rock and were left in place for a couple of days until the glue set. Then they were removed and you had a ceiling with no chance of nail pops. (The joints that received tape were nailed, as your second layer likely is.) Well, after 20 years or so, the glue failed and ceilings sagged. With blown insulation above, there was no pushing the rock back up (insulation between the joist and the rock) and refastening. And some was bowed so badly for so long, it wouldn't push back up anyway. Tear out and replace was the only option. In this case, I'd see if refastening is an option since the first layer seems to be sound and the insulation isn't an issue. If not, tear out the first layer and rehang. And I'm fairly certain the insurance company isn't going to help.....

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