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Old 01-14-2011, 02:35 AM   #1
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Level 5 finish expectations? Cracked ceiling.....input needed please!


Hello All,
I posted this also in a pro-drywall site, but I'm not sure they'll be happy I invaded their forum. Luckily, I came across this site too and I need/want some honest opinions from professionals in the trade or homeowners that have been through the process and not the blowhard builder we've been working with. Please, any help or info you can provide would be so welcome at this point.

Info:
-We recently built a new, contemporary home; finished in August
-Drywall sub did a very sub par job and the builder has since said he will not be hiring him again (thanks for trying him out on our home!)
-I paint professionally part-time, mostly residential repaints, sometimes full homes, but usually nota fter a new build-->I painted our home to save a lot of money on hiring a painter
-one month after moving in, a ceiling crack started and then a second one parallel to it occured (botf of these are about 15 feet long). There are many, many cracks at the wall/ceiling joint, imperfections in walls, and too many nail pops to count.
-We requested a level 5 finish since our home again, is contemporary, flat roof and all and the whole south side of our home is windows. Flat ceilings, flat white paint...etc.
-I requested level 5 because when we met with the architect and builder, I said I wanted the walls as smooth as possible and they said, "that's level 5"--in my naivity, I have read now that the ceilings should have been skim-coated.

Now, I understand settling after a build, especially at areas where there is the most movement, above a window, near a door--I patch a lot of these when I'm painting for customers, but how much is too much to expect? A month after moving in a ceiling crack? Our dimwit builder is trying to tell us that the span of the ceiling is just too large and that we should perhaps put in control joints across the middle of the ceiling. And then he suggested putting a whole nother drywall ceiling below with so the movement of the ceiling on the original ceiling would crack, but the lower ceiling could move independently?????....

I'm just not sure who to trust. We are meeting with our builder tomorrow afternoon and I want to come prepared with some info so he again, doesn't make us seem like idiots, when honestly, if I had an hour to write on what we've had to deal with, with him.......

What I'm wondering is, if we requested a level 5 finish, what should that have been, by industry standards? Could our ceiling cracks be from just plain faulty drywall techniques or could it be more of as he said, too large a span, or could is even be faulty framing of the ceiling?

I feel very stupid for not knowing ahead of time what the finish should have been but when I was told they're ready for me to paint, I got in there and did. There wasn't any skim coating, the walls weren't wiped down, I primed and then painted. I'm pretty sure the drywall guy should have come back between paint and primer to patch stuff, but I trusted the people there and didn't want to question anything.......I'm so mad at myself.

Thank-you for any help you can provide!
Heather

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Old 01-14-2011, 07:05 AM   #2
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Level 5 finish expectations? Cracked ceiling.....input needed please!


Level 5 finish is the best flat surface finish you can have.

The rest of your problems seem to be resting on your builder.

Hope your situation works out...............Good Luck.

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Old 01-14-2011, 07:43 AM   #3
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Level 5 finish expectations? Cracked ceiling.....input needed please!


Have you flashlighted the work?

You should have specified Drywall touch-ups at 1 year in your initial contract. You should not paint any final colors until that year is up.

That being said, drywall and final wall finishes are a HUGE money sink for the Builder. One person's Level 5 Finish is another's Level 3. We used to call it "Looking for fly s**t on the wall". Your Builder will be very reluctant to address these issues.

My suggestion if you are very unhappy with the work is walk through the home with the Builder with a flashlight and identify every blemish. If he'll agree, have him through one time and then be done.

Think of the walls after your movers have carried all of your furniture into the home and then decide how precise you want the work to be. As a homeowner and spouse of a Type A(nal) personality, I can assure that walls are a never ending adventure.
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:56 AM   #4
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Level 5 finish expectations? Cracked ceiling.....input needed please!


Heather before you totally castrate your drywall finisher here's what I see is contributing to your problems.

1. If a ceiling is "over-spanned" and has no "expansion joints" that is not the fault of the drywall finisher. Why did this builder allow this to happen and where was the architect in all of this?

2. If you have built a "glass-walled-room" (facing south) and don't expect expansion/contraction issues (wow), I would question the wisdom of the builder for not addressing the potential problems from the git-go and not automatically fixing the problems without hesitation. Again, expansion/contraction issues due to heat concentrations from the sun. Also expect issue with the floors and expect to change the carpet frequently due to fading.

3. Where are the building inspectors in your area? Were the plans approved? Was the build according to plans? Was the framing/spanning inspected and approved? Is this this builders first house build?

4. Did you agree to the absolute lowest price you could get from a builder?
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:08 PM   #5
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Level 5 finish expectations? Cracked ceiling.....input needed please!


Im wondering if the long parallel cracks are four feet apart meaning no tape and just mud on the joints. Over span would be a code violation that should of been caught in the framing inspection or during the plan approval process. Is the ceiling sagging noticeably? Did the design include an overhang on the south side to keep the sun out in the summer (passive solar design) and reduce the cooling load.
Maybe bring in a qualified home inspector for analasys and bring in a reputable builder to remedy the problem then back bill the original builder.
Level 5 should be perfect. No tiger board (wave like ripples from manufacturing) nail pops, tape bubbles, pinholes in the mud or dents and scratches.
Good luck
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:15 PM   #6
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Level 5 finish expectations? Cracked ceiling.....input needed please!


for nail pops put a drywall screw just above or below it to ensure the board it tight to the framing members then hammer the head of the nail below the surface of the drywall and remud
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:04 PM   #7
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Level 5 finish expectations? Cracked ceiling.....input needed please!


Quote:
I'm wondering if the long parallel cracks are four feet apart meaning no tape and just mud on the joints.
That is of course a possibility, but for a pro finisher to try to pull-off that trick would be just plain stupid and wouldn't serve any one's purposes, even his.

"Nails pops" are generally a sign of movement in the structure and in this case that is completely possible since the structure is already suspect.

I think I would employ an outside architect or engineer to appraise the situation. Someone that is totally separate from anyone that has already been involved. You may be headed for litigation if you pursue these issues.

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