What do these cracks in my drywall indicate?
I'm trying to figure out what is going on with my house. I bought it back in February, none of these cracks and bulges were there when I viewed the house. The only problem I noticed were uneven floors. It wasn't until I spent a night here that I was able to see all the patch work the previous owners had done. The angle of light at dusk and night gave shadow to the patch work.
The only thing I noticed that was odd when viewing the house, before I bought it, was that the floors were wavy and some seemed a little uneven. I had asked the inspectors and they said they were not sure, it's could be anything. Which I thought was a shady answer but that is all they would say. They said they see nothing structurally wrong with the joists or house.
Since I bought the house all these cracks have been showing up. When I moved furniture in, it tilts either away or toward the walls. And when I walk around things shake. There's also lots of popping and creaking sounds when I walk around the house. At night it's the same thing popping and creaking sounds. Some times there will be really loud pops. The previous owner carpeted a lot of the floors, which made it hard to see anything wrong with them. Again not till I was living here and walking over a lot more of the surface area that I noticed the unevenness. The second floor has voids, and raised spots. I'll be walking around and it almost feels like the only thing holding me up is the carpet.
They also paneled the kitchen ceiling, which I now think was to cover up all the damage the ceiling might have. I had asked them about the paneling, because I assumed that is why they put paneling, to cover some water damage. They just told me they wanted a country look.d
There are a couple rafters, at least that I can see, that have been repaired, and a couple other cracked ones. I think one is getting worse, or at least worse than when I had the house inspected.
Picture one and two is the ceiling of a bedroom. I think that one happened when I went up into the attic over the garage. The garage attic spans the garage and this room. I can feel the floor sag when I walk over it.
Picture three is (I guess) the living room ceiling. This room has an odd bulge starting at the entrance. Above this room is some weird room with no closet. When I walk in that room there's lots of cracking/creaking noises on the side that is near the stairs that come up to the second floor and the one that goes up to the attic...attic entrance is in this room.
Picture four is of the stairway, just as I'm about to go upstairs. The stairs seem to be sinking. Picture 17 shows the bulge in the floor and how much of a dip there is around the stairs.
Picture 5 is of a bedroom. It's hard to see in the picture but there is a crease starting to show in the sheet rock. A lot the cracks I see around the house start like this. They start as a faint crease then start getting more defined until they turn into a crack. The vent near the crease is also starting to pop out. Above this room is the attic, which the previous owners finished off. There's lots of popping and cracking going on when I walk around up there. As well as a sagging feeling, as if the floor goes down a bit when I walk over it. This could just be the plywood sagging, but the creases in the sheet rock and vents popping out make me think it's something else.
Picture 6 is the same room as 5. Off to the right of this pic right out side the door is the stairway. You can see the bulging starting here too.
Picture 7 is the ceiling of that odd room above the living room I mentioned earlier. There's a lot of nail pops a long the wall. And other spots. There's lots of nail pops all over the house actually.
Picture 8 is another crease, hard to see, but in a bedroom. It's been getting longer.
The skylight in the master bedroom has cracks coming out from the corners of it. The entrance this bathroom has a diagonal crack at the edge of the door which was patched and is hard to see. It doesn't look like it's getting worse. What's strange is that a door in the wall perpendicular to this wall (closet door) also has a diagonal crack. It was also patched and I don't see it getting worse.
Picture 10 is the door to the attic. There are cracks around it. The attic has a lot of patch work. Large square patches.
Picture 11 is a room in the attic. Again, like all these cracks, were not there the times I viewed the house. Also, a lot of these cracks were patched at one point.
Picture 12 is the door to the unfinished part of the attic.
Picture 13 is a really strange one. One day I had heard a loud crack/tearing sound. I looked around the house but didn't see anything that could have made that sound, and I didn't head up to the attic (it was at night). The next day after work I had gone up the attic and saw this new buckle point. I stuck a nail through it so I could find it when I went to the other side of the wall. I was expecting to find a beam or something pushing against this spot, but there was nothing.
Picture 14 is another crack in the attic that never existed when I first viewed the house. It started as a crease looking line and has grown to what you see.
Cracks below an attic window cill. I think the broken window frame is from them putting an AC in the window. Both attic window frames have this same damage.
Picture 16 is some patch work of a crack in the attic stairway.
Picture 18 is a door near the garage. Another new crack.
Picture 19 is of the a crease in the master bedroom that is getting longer.
I would really like to figure out what is going on with this house, and what I can do to fix it. I've called two foundation companies, one said they did not see anything structurally wrong with the house and to call him if things got worse. The other tried to tell me I need $24k in jacks to level the floors and that will fix everything. As well as $14k to seal of the crawlspace and put a dehumidifier down there.
I also called a structural engineer who didn't do as thorough a job of inspecting the house as I wanted. Because he could not see cracks in the foundation he chalked it up to there being water damage at some point. But I have not seen signs (stains and such) from water damage. There is an odd circular patch on the ceiling, about two feet in diameter, in the master bedroom. And an odd square patch in the ceiling of the one odd room. But the attic is above there and I didn't see staining there. I had called the structural engineer because of the cracking rafters and the cracking noises I hear. The guy didn't leave a good impression on me, since he only looked in the easy to access parts of the attic. And said they could really tell me anything about the floor joists since there's insulation down there. I kind of wanted to tell them they should have moved it aside if it was a problem...
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm now stuck with this house, so I want to find and fix what ever the problem is before things get worse and more expensive.
The house is in southern Virginia, the climate is hot and humid. It was built in 1986.
There's lots of patch work to cover cracks, nail pops, and looks like they just pained over drywall tap that was peeling.
Oh there is a step crack in the brick veener left of the front door. About 8 feet away. It's not long or anything...maybe like 8-10 brinks. I need to go into the crawlspace to see if there's a crack in the foundation near there.
Pictures 20-23, and 34 are some cracked/stressed rafters that I could get to.
Pictures 24 and 25 are a couple of the repaired rafters.
Pictures 26 and 27 are just to show the spacing of the rafters, I guess I should have held a ruler up...
These pictures are the entrance to the mater bedroom closet. There's an entrance from the master bedroom room, and an entrance from another room. The doorway walls are perpendicular to each other.
Master bathroom door from the inside. If you look closely at the right corner you can see that it looks like a crack was covered up. Also the door is not even, and does not shut, pin does no line up with the hole. This wall is also perpendicular to picture #30, the master closet door.
Hard to draw, but these are the directions of the cracks. Down arrow is entrance to the master bedroom closet from another room. The arrows are the directions of the cracks.
----- | | | _ |s | | ↓ |r | | _ Room |i | | | |a | | | |t | --| > |------| |--|S |--| |---- - _ Hallway M | a B ------------------------ s e | t d _ Master bathroom e r ^ r o - o | m |
These two pictures show those creases now showing up in the stairwell. It's between the two floors.
Here's an update of picture 4. Same spot getting worse.
This is a bedroom down stairs, back and front, I'm pretty sure there's no crawl space below it.This has happened a few times, by the end of the day the door rubs the door frame on the right there. Above this room is the attic that is also over the garage... meaning going up into the garage attic, it looks like one room.