What causes a long crack in the ceiling?

Updated on February 13, 2010
C.T. asks from Carrollton, TX
17 answers

My ceiling has a LONG crack, right in the middle. There's no attic or floor above it. The house is 11 years old, and we've lived here for three years. It was inspected when we bought it. Any ideas on what might cause it? My best guess is a foundation problem. Any ideas on what to do about it or who to call? This is our first house, so we are clueless. Thanks for your help!

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Summary

It could cause by house shifting. Sometimes the dirt was pulling away from the house and suggested soaker hoses and that the shifting would correct itself with proper watering. However the tile will have to be repaired. Walk around your house if you see cracks in the brick or foundation. Also, contact your foundation company to have them check it out.

So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your advice and repair company recommendations. It looks like I'll have to have both my ceiling and my foundation inspected. Thanks again!

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J.W.

answers from Dallas on

There are lots of foundation companies who will give you free inspections and estimates. I use a company which has been in business more than 25 years...Jerry's Foundation Repair, ###-###-####. He gives a lifetime warranty on any work which is needed and doesn't overcharge.

1 mom found this helpful
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S.C.

answers from Dallas on

C.,

Ram Jack Foundation Repair is a very honest and reputable company! They will tell you if it us indeed foundation problems and what you should get fixed.

S..

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C.M.

answers from Dallas on

welcome to North Texas, home of foundation problems. We use Perma Pier for all of our listings. They also have this "Balance" system you can buy ($300) that tells you where and how much to water your foundation. Everyone knows you're supposed to water, but I couldn't tell you how much. ###-###-####

If it's not foundation, have a handyman take a look.

2 moms found this helpful
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C.E.

answers from Dallas on

We had something similar this year. The crack followed the edges of the plywood in the ceiling. We had a foundation company come out and inspect. They took all kinds of measurements and basically said they didn't know what caused it, but it wasn't the foundation. The biggest key is there were no exterior cracks in the outside walls.

They did mention to look out for a plumbing leak (could be under the foundation). Sometimes the ground will shift slightly, not enough to cause a foundation issue, but that can cause cracking. Look for things like toilets and sinks clogging.

They told us to monitor what we had and only fix the ceiling crack because it was so big. How it did in the heat of the summer could make a difference. Well, I didn't fix the crack, but it has actually improved from this spring. Not sure what to make of that, but we'll just keep watching and see what happens.

Anyway, call a reputable foundation company. They won't try to sell you foundation repair if that's not the problem. We've had our foundation looked at 3 times over 19 years and never found a problem.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.H.

answers from Dallas on

I've seen cracks in walls, particularly above doors and windows, but not in ceilings. Hmmm. Cracks usually come from your foundation issues. In Texas, we have a lot of clay in the soil so it expands and contracts with temperature and water or the lack of. Have you been sprinkling thoroughly, especially reaching the areas next to the house? You need to water the ground regularly. Once I ignored that and got a crack. A foundation guy wanted to charge me $7,000 to fix the foundation problem. I watered the yard instead regularly and within a few weeks, the crack closed up and I patched it. It didn't come back. Some areas of the metroplex are worse: Carrollton and Irving to name a few. They have springs that run underground close to the surface making it much harder to cure.

If you don't have a sprinkler system, there are various ways to make that job easier. If that is the case, put that out on Mamasource as another question, or in a response to this one, and we all can put our best suggestions down for you.

1 mom found this helpful
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M.W.

answers from Dallas on

I have no idea who to call, but water around the edges of your house. Soak it good, just turn the hose on and let it soak into the ground so you don't have any more problems with cracks in the other parts of your home. I am sorry.

1 mom found this helpful
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J.W.

answers from Dallas on

You should have your foundation inspected (should never pay for inspection) I'd recommend Advanced ProLift Foundation Repair. They did 3/4 of my home for the previous owner and all the work has held and they are about to do the other 1/4 this summer. DO NOT USE ABACUS FOUNDATION REPAIR (they just did a friend of mine's house and it took six weeks and thousands of dollars in other repairs because they made stupid mistakes like cutting electrical lines, fios lines, and leaving the carpet out in the rain) Needless to say I'm telling everyone I know how poorly they did on service. i love the work that has been done to my home so far, I know they are on the higher end of cost but sometimes the long-term piece of mind is worth the upfront cost. I know that even if Advanced Prolift goes out of business my warranty is covered by WellsFargo so I don't have to worry and I know when I go to resell my home that their reputation and transferable warranty go with it so I don't loose buyers because they don't trust the foundation is done right. Also talk to your homeowners insurance agent they have companies they recommend too.

1 mom found this helpful
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R.K.

answers from Dallas on

The ground shifts here. You probably need to water arond your house. Ouir hose is 5 yrs old and the tile has cracked dure to the house shifting. I had the builders come out and look and they walked around to check out the foundation. He said the dirrt was pulloing away from the hoise and suggested soaker hoses and that the shifting would correct itself with proper watering. However the tile will have to be repaired. Walk around your house if you see cracks in the brick or foundation I would have a foundation company out, otherwise use the soaker houses and have the crack repaired. Just my opinion. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

K.M.

answers from Dallas on

HI Cythia,

Here is another reputable company that you can call for a free check on the situation www.archfoundation.com

Ditto on the soaker hoses....but do buy the soaker hoses as opposed to just letting the water run ..you want it to be even. The foundation company will also give you good tips on what to do....so take good notes! As a maintenance I think they recommend running it 10 minutes 3x a week, so it does not take much.

1 mom found this helpful
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N.S.

answers from Abilene on

If it is a relatively staight crack, I would think it was the seam between the sheetrock. They put a strip over the seam, mud it, sand it and plaster over it. If that isn't very thick, any settling at all will crack it, or it will just crack with age if not applied properly. Most of the time that is a cosmetic fix. Hope this is too. Good Luck.

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C.E.

answers from Dallas on

My husband has been in the foundation business for 6 yrs now. He works for Permapier Foundation Repair. They are a good trust worthy company. You can call them to come and take a look and they can let you know what is causing the problem. Then you can decide if it is worth the cost to fix it. ###-###-####

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L.S.

answers from Tyler on

I would first inspect the joists, as someone else mentioned. I had a crack in my ceiling once and a joist had cracked and fallen on the ceiling. I had to get the joist and ceilting repaired - but that is way better than a foundation.

-L.

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G.W.

answers from Dallas on

We have a few cracks too. Our foundation was inspected and we had no problems. HOWEVER both companies recommended better water drainage. They said that the foundation was okay... but could become worse if we didn't work on getting the water to drain away from the foundation. So, if you have a neighbor who lives uphill from you and their water drains toward your yard, or if your own rainwater (or sprinkler water) will not drain away from your foundation, that may be the problem or may add to the problem.

Hope that helps!

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W.S.

answers from Dallas on

call to jjlfoundationrepair ###-###-#### or email [email protected]____.com fell free to ask any questions you have about foundationrepair and ask for especial offer for $225 each pier and ask for free estimate also thanks

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L.D.

answers from Dallas on

I have the same problem. I am anxious to hear what others have done!

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K.S.

answers from Dallas on

Besides Arch Foundation and PermaPier, Fox Foundation is a company affiliated with the board of realtors meaning that they are non-realtor members of the board.

We had a similar crack down the ceiling of our house in Kentucky. As near as we could determine, it was where the upstairs heated space met the upstairs unheated space.

My suspicion would not be a foundation problem. I'm not an inspector, but the foundation cracks that I've seen are rarely in the ceiling and they are pretty dramatic compared to other cracks.

If foundation repair is necessary, be sure you get a lifetime transferable warranty on the work.It will make resale a lot easier down the road. Once you have a foundation problem repair, it's pretty much repaired for life. It also helps to have architectural drawings detailing the location of any repairs.

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A.A.

answers from Dallas on

It could just be a bad dry wall job.

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