Crack in the ceiling - should we be worried?
March 30, 2021 1:56 PM   Subscribe

See crack here, looks to be about 10 inches long or so. Should we be worried about this? Is there any way to tell if it is just cosmetic or could it be a sign of something worse?
posted by mysticreferee to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Extremely meh normal crack. I must have a few of those in similar corners of my house. Some sanding and paint fixes it most of the time, you can do more serious patching if you want but not a big deal IMO.

That said, if it keeps getting bigger, that would be a problem.
posted by GuyZero at 1:59 PM on March 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: In general, checking out whether it's more than cosmetic means cutting your way in and looking at the support members, looking for boards moving on their fasteners (referring to the category of nails and screws and whatever else), split boards, etc.

Since this is happening at a natural weak point, this feels more like cosmetic damage from slight flexing of that piece of ceiling, anything from the "building settling" (in which any kind of looseness in the building construction allows sagging into a slightly different position where it mostly stays) to some stronger than usual load upstairs, e.g. moving furniture, any kind of physical activity in that spot or near it along the upstairs floor joist. The paint could be the least flexible thing up there (besides the fasteners).
posted by Sunburnt at 2:04 PM on March 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

House I grew up in had a similar crack in almost identical location (corner adjacent to stairwell) and nothing bad happened except Mom was always annoyed by it
posted by armoir from antproof case at 2:13 PM on March 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What is above it? If it is the second floor above it what is right above the crack? If it is an attic or crawl space, it is unlikely to be anything material. If not enough insulation could be caused by heat cool cycle.

Personally, I would not worry about it. I might put a small mark at the end of the crack to monitor if it is expanding.
posted by AugustWest at 2:44 PM on March 30, 2021 [3 favorites]

We go around our elderly wood house every year and put faint marks on the ends of the cracks and keep a list. Mostly this is just reassuring because nothing gets worse year to year. When one foundation wall started failing, the pattern of cracks told us early.
posted by clew at 3:12 PM on March 30, 2021 [10 favorites]

Looks totally normal to me; our (40+) year old house has something like that in virtually every room. We had the foundation inspected, and they found nothing out of the ordinary. Our area has clay soil prone to expansion and contraction. Depending on where you are, that could be a factor.
posted by demonic winged headgear at 3:19 PM on March 30, 2021

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