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Old 12-15-2013, 09:46 PM   #1
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Drywall Cracking Under Snow Load


Good evening,

We purchased our home last August, and have experienced cracking in the second floor bedrooms during a couple of snowstorms. Last year we had a large storm that left significant cracks (see attached). We have a partial dormer ceiling upstairs, and in each case the cracks are occurring where the drywall for the sloped ceiling meets walls running perpendicular to the sloped ceiling.

My guess is that the drywall is attached directly to the roof rafters, and that as the weight adds up on the roof, the rafters slag slightly, and the drywall cracks where the "moving" drywall attached to the rafter meets the static wall. Based on previous repair work this has obviously been happening for quite some time.

The exterior dimensions of the house measure 46'x24'. The rafters are 2x6, with 2x6 ceiling joists running front to back, and a 2x8 ridge beam. The shingles are about four years old and the sheathing is in good shape. Of note to me is that there are no collar ties. Would adding collar ties to every other joist help with this issue?

Attached are some pictures from last year. The damage is much more significant in these pictures than it is today. Any help that you may be able to provide would be much appreciated!





Lousy picture of the attic I took during another project last year.



Thanks,
Brian

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Last edited by bheemsoth; 12-16-2013 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:28 PM   #2
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Drywall Cracking Under Snow Load


If the cracks are on dormer wall/roof, then yes- you need rafter ties (or a ridge beam) on top the wall plates- they could also work as ceiling joists for the drywall; http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic...?bu2=undefined

Gary
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Last edited by Gary in WA; 12-15-2013 at 10:29 PM. Reason: sp
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:37 PM   #3
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Drywall Cracking Under Snow Load


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Originally Posted by Gary in WA View Post
If the cracks are on dormer wall/roof, then yes- you need rafter ties (or a ridge beam) on top the wall plates- they could also work as ceiling joists for the drywall; http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic...?bu2=undefined

Gary
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Thanks for the quick reply! One question.. The existing ceiling joists span the entire way front to back 24" o.c.. Wouldn't these be serving the same role as rafter ties?
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:37 AM   #4
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Drywall Cracking Under Snow Load


"Dormer" wasn't really the correct term. Sloped ceiling is really what I'm referring to.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:27 PM   #5
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Drywall Cracking Under Snow Load


I mentioned dormer ceiling.... if this is on the house, your attic floor (ceiling joists) would tie it all together. I understood the picture was of a dormer sloped ceiling- without level ceiling joists- just collar ties (in upper 1/3) above. More pictures would clear it up, please....

Gary
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:54 PM   #6
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Drywall Cracking Under Snow Load


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in WA View Post
I mentioned dormer ceiling.... if this is on the house, your attic floor (ceiling joists) would tie it all together. I understood the picture was of a dormer sloped ceiling- without level ceiling joists- just collar ties (in upper 1/3) above. More pictures would clear it up, please....

Gary
Gary,

I'm sorry for the confusion. There are no collar ties - just 2x6 ceiling joists that are nailed to each of the rafters 24" oc. At first I was thinking that adding some collar ties may help, but that doesn't seem likely to help with the forces of the snow load.

From a design perspective everything seems stout based on my limited knowledge and the research I've done. This is all pretty perplexing.


Here are some more pictures I took of the attic just now:




This picture shows the joists (mostly buried in insulation) along with the rafters. The rafters are nailed to the joists where they intersect.

Last edited by bheemsoth; 12-16-2013 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:48 AM   #7
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Drywall Cracking Under Snow Load


Wow--those are some rather light duty rafters---are they 2x4s?
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:13 AM   #8
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Wow--those are some rather light duty rafters---are they 2x4s?
They are 2x6. I think the perspective of me standing on a ladder in the hatchway skewed the picture.
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:18 AM   #9
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Still rather weak---typically there are collar ties (cross bracing ) between the rafters --those add stiffness and reduce flex----might be worth adding them---
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:22 AM   #10
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Still rather weak---typically there are collar ties (cross bracing ) between the rafters --those add stiffness and reduce flex----might be worth adding them---
Thanks Mike - that's one of the options I was considering, but I wasn't sure since I'd read that they mostly help with wind uplift more than anything. It would be a cheap fix though on my part.

How high do you think I should mount them on the rafters, and what size lumber would you recommend?

Gary - what do you think?
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:29 AM   #11
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Drywall Cracking Under Snow Load


I'd use 2x6---about 1/3 of the way down from the ridge.

Gary will have the correct answer on placement.

As to the drywall lifting at the ceiling/wall junction---the drywall was not installed properly---the ceiling drywall rests and floats on top of the wall sheets---no screws are used withing 16 to 24 inches of the wall---

Thus the framing can expand and contract without tearing the paper corners.

To late to fix it now---How do you like crown molding?
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:35 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
I'd use 2x6---about 1/3 of the way down from the ridge.

Gary will have the correct answer on placement.

As to the drywall lifting at the ceiling/wall junction---the drywall was not installed properly---the ceiling drywall rests and floats on top of the wall sheets---no screws are used withing 16 to 24 inches of the wall---

Thus the framing can expand and contract without tearing the paper corners.

To late to fix it now---How do you like crown molding?
Yeah, crown is going to be an option probably. I'll have to figure out a way to make it look right with the dormer ceiling.

I was also considering taking out the drywall tape in those joints now (8 of them) and replacing it with a product like this - http://trim-tex.com/product_catalog.php?cat_display=showproduct&id=263
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:46 AM   #13
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Drywall Cracking Under Snow Load


I've never tried that one----I do use 'Straight Flex' on ceiling/wall junctions---
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:02 AM   #14
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Drywall Cracking Under Snow Load


They used that flexible bead on the angled joints on my ceiling when I had it cathedralled. I can say that I see no cracks. But I don't think it is intended for the kind of movement you are seeing.
Are the attic pics directly above the problem areas? The living area pics show a sloped ceiling. The attic pics look like a horizontal floor.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:29 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by SPS-1 View Post
They used that flexible bead on the angled joints on my ceiling when I had it cathedralled. I can say that I see no cracks. But I don't think it is intended for the kind of movement you are seeing.
Are the attic pics directly above the problem areas? The living area pics show a sloped ceiling. The attic pics look like a horizontal floor.
The attic is directly above the area seeing the issue. The design is somewhat unique. There is a sloped ceiling for a couple of feet in from the front and back walls of the house, then a standard ceiling for the remainder of the span - sort of like /=====\

The ceiling rafters attach to the wall plate, then intersect the ceiling joists about 2ft into their span. Near this intersection is where we're seeing the cracking.

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Last edited by bheemsoth; 12-18-2013 at 10:25 AM.
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