Moisture and Drywall, Part Two

Continuing with our discussion about drywall and water damage, let’s look at indicators, identifiers and remedies.

Water damage is one of the most common reasons for drywall repair. When water penetrates drywall, it can cause walls to lose firmness and crumble. Indicators of water damaged drywall include:

  • Staining or discoloration on ceilings or walls
  • Peeling tape joints
  • Dampness in the basement and periodic water infiltration
  • Musty odor, (typically in the basement)
  • Loose tiles (floor and wall)
  • Bowed walls

Left unresolved, water damaged homes can develop mold and mildew, suffer structural damage and experience continued water damage.

It is critical to identify and rectify the source of unwanted water and replace water damaged drywall and other affected surfaces to prevent further damage from occurring to your home. Andy OnCall’s handymen, are particularly skilled at troubleshooting and repairing even the most difficult water source issues. This is our four-step process for water damaged drywall repair:

  1. Identify problem or source of water
  2. Remove water damaged drywall
  3. Dry and treat wet areas
  4. Install new drywall

1. Identify the Problem or Source of Water

Before your drywall water damage repair is done, the cause of water damage must be identified and resolved. The following are areas where we commonly find water issues:

*Broken Pipes
*Gutter Problems
*Water line to fridge and Ice Maker

*Roof Leaks/ Eave Leaks
*Faulty sprinkler system
*Frozen hose bib

*Foundation Cracks
*Inadequate Caulk around vent pipe, windows & doors

At times, the source of water damage is difficult to track down. Water can enter in one place and run down to another before penetrating the wall or ceiling. Identifying the exact source of water often requires removing wallboard to allow us to inspect behind suspected areas.

2. Remove Water Damaged Drywall

After the source of water is located and dealt with, the remaining water damaged drywall is removed. It is crucial to remove all damaged drywall, as sheetrock retaining water could facilitate mold growth. Wet, damaged insulation and any soft, spongy, rotted wood is also removed.

3. Dry and Treat Wet Areas

Once the water damaged drywall has been removed the interior wall are exposed, allowing air to circulate and begin the drying process. Dehumidifiers and fans help with air circulation and expedites the drying process. It is essential to completely dry all wet areas thoroughly.

After the wet areas are completely dry, they should be inspected for mold and mildew. Affected wood can be easily cleaned and treated with antimicrobial and mold prevention products.

4. Install New Drywall

After the affected areas are properly treated and dried, the framework is replaced with fresh wood and walls are reinsulated. New drywall is then installed. It may be a good idea to install water-resistant drywall if this is an area prone to moisture.

New drywall is finished following this three-step process:

  1. Tape: Drywall tape covers the seams and gaps left between drywall sheets.
  2. Block Coat: First coat of joint compound applied over the drywall tape.
  3. Skim Coat: Final layer of joint compound applied over the block coat. Numerous skim coats are needed for repair work.

After finish work is completed, walls are sanded, primed and painted. We suggest painting all affected walls and ceilings from corner to corner to ensure complete color matching.

We will repair your drywall crack(s) promptly and affordably with the best quality available. After the repair we will texture the repaired area to blend with the existing wall or ceiling texture so your drywall will look GREAT again! You won’t even be able to see where the repair was.

In: blog

Moisture and Drywall, Part One

Every homeowner will come across a crack in their drywall. No one is immune. Cracked drywall is unsightly and it draws attention and focus away from the décor of your room.  As discussed in the previous two blogs, there are many reasons why cracks may be caused in drywall, many due to the settling of your house.

But there are some things that can cause the drywall to crack other than the house settling, poor drywall installation, objects on the wall causing it stress, and cracked paint. More severe problems would be due to moisture issues. In the Chicago area, many homes experience water issues twice a year: when the snow thaws and the spring rains begin and when the heavy rains of August and the tornados seasons blows through town.  Both of these times of years produce basement flooding and damage to drywall in basements. But there are other kinds of moisture damage that can occur to your drywall as well.

I’m talking about when there is a slow leak behind the wall in your bathroom that you are unaware of and it is slowing seeping into your drywall.  Or perhaps the Air conditioner or spacpac is leaking and water is running down the interior walls of your home. Maybe a window wasn’t closed all the way and rain came in and ran down the wall soaking through wallpaper and the drywall.   Perhaps the dishwasher has gone crazy or the disposal or the washing machine or Jacuzzi, etc.  The point is that there are a lot of ways other than Mother Nature that we can experience water damage to our drywall and in most cases we may be completely unaware that anything has even happened until we see the cracks begin to appear.

Moisture behind the wall:  Moisture can form in many different areas on your drywall. For example, if there was no vapor barrier placed behind the drywall when it was installed, then moisture can be pulled in from outside, pass through the wall board and settle near the wall studs.  In this same scenario, the moisture may actually reach one or more of the drywall screws. If this happens, it will cause the screw(s) to rust and the expanding rust will cause the drywall to crack

If your drywall has been affected by water damage, or you suspect water may be behind your walls, Call Andy onCall for a thorough investigation of your drywall situation.  Our skilled handymen can put your mind at ease by either rooting our any water damaged drywall or assuring you that there is no damage to worry about.  Let Andy OnCall give your Drywall a Once over before your Drywall becomes a problem for you.

In: blog

More Drywall Culprits

Now, that we have covered basic drywall knowledge, back to Drywall Cracks, other than settling cracks… Today I am going to discuss some of the other things that could be causing those nasty little cracks in your beautiful home.

One major cause of drywall cracking is quite simply improper installation of the drywall, and in particular errors in taping and application of the joint compound. If the seams between the drywall sheets are not correctly taped and sanded down with joint compound, the sheets can move resulting in the tape cracking.

Drywall is susceptible to cracking due to improper support preparation, installation, loss of support, or movement of the supporting structure. Improper support could be loose or misaligned studs or other framing members. Other problems with installation may include improper fastener spacing, not enough or improperly mixed compound, etc.  Movement of the supporting structure may occur due to normal flexing of the structure under service loads. Drywall cracking movement can also be caused by normal thermal or moisture-related shrinkage or swelling of the wood studs or other support members relative to the drywall itself.

Cracks along corners where the ceiling meets the walls can sometimes be attributed to the installer screwed the drywall (on the ceiling) too close to the wall, this doesn’t allow the drywall to flex when the roof truss moves and this in turn creates a ceiling crack.

Another cause along the same lines could be an instance where the joint compound has been applied too thickly, the layer on top dries first while the lower layer takes more time. This causes surface cracks.

The pattern of the cracks can help you determine whether they have been caused by paint. If the cracks are fine and spread over a large part of the wall and resemble a crushed egg shell, they might have been caused by incorrect application of paint.

You, the homeowner, may cause cracks without meaning to.  By hanging extremely heavy objects on the wall, a new stress point can lead to the wall developing cracks due to the stress caused. Such cracks are not always visible and can stay hidden for a long time before they are eventually discovered. Unfortunately, this might be when the oversized object crashes to the ground because the wall anchor it was attached to has given way, unable to bear the stress.

As a general rule, when you hang an object on a wall, first consider the weight of the item.  If the item you are hanging weighs more than 5 pounds, then you are going to need to locate a stud to hang the item on.  If the item weighs more than 10 pounds You absolutely need to locate a stud.  If you simply use a wall hanger you will find that the weight will cause stress on the wall which will eventually lead to cracking and then more severe cracking and eventually the item falling off of the wall.   The primary problem with the weight related cracks is that the oftem remain hidden until it is too late, and by that I mean the item has already hit the floor before you know there is a problem.  If you have some items that might be pushing the weight limits, it’s a good idea to routinely remove the item from the wall and check the wall for any hairline cracks that may be beginning.

Keeping these additional causes of cracked drywall in mind can help you to spot and resolve the problem as soon as it arises. Acting swiftly and quickly will help save you time and expenses that might crop up if the problem is ignored in the initial stages. It is never a good idea to put off minor home maintenance chores, as they tend to turn into larger, more expensive jobs the longer they are put off.  So if you see any cracks in your drywall that need repair, call Andy onCall and one of our expert handymen will be out to give you a quote and timeframe for you drywall repair. Remember all of our handymen are licensed, bonded and have the technical skills required to handle any drywall repair you need taken care of.

In: blog

Drywall 101

As I discussed in my last couple of postings, drywall cracks are the worst!  They are unsightly and ruin the décor of any room.  They instantly draw the visitors’ eye away from your art, your décor, your furnishings, and instead your visitor is constantly left trying not to stare at the crack in your wall!  It’s awful!  But what’s causing those cracks?  Well there could be many different things causing a drywall crack. In my last blog I discussed drywall cracks caused by house settling.

Today, I want to back up a bit and give a brief overview of drywall, call it, Drywall 101:

Drywall, also known as wallboard, gypsum or sheetrock, is a panel made of gypsum plaster pressed between two thick sheets of paper. It is used to make interior walls and ceilings. Drywall construction became prevalent as a speedier alternative to traditional lath and plaster methods in the late 1940’s early 1950’s.

As an opposed to a week-long plaster application, an entire house can be drywalled in one or two days by two experienced technicians or drywallers.  In new construction projects, the work of installing and finishing drywall is often split between the drywall hangers, who install the wallboard, and the tapers and mudmen, or float crew, who finish the joints and cover the fastener heads with drywall compound or mud. Everything is then sanded to a fin finish, primed and painted or finished to the customer’s specification.

Drywall is typically a 4 foot by 8 foot piece of gypsum board that is screwed to a framed wall or ceiling and is the base of your walls and ceilings in your home, if your home was built after approx. 1950. The drywall joints or seams are typically covered with a mesh tape then “mudded” with drywall mud to give the appearance of a single piece to the wall of ceiling. As we discussed before, as houses age, the foundation can settle causing the weakest point in the drywall to give way and cause minor cracking.

Whether the crack is in the seam or in the middle of the drywall, the overall process to repair is the same. First the drywall MUST be secured. If there is any movement when pressure is applied to the drywall, it will cause the crack to reappear. Once secured, the repair process can begin.

If you have a drywall repair that you need taken care of, Andy onCall has the skilled handyman to take care of it for you. Call us today for a free estimate and get that pesky crack taken care of today!

In: blog

Cracks in Drywall, Part Two

In my last posting, I talked about settling cracks and why they happen in a home. I also talked about how common they are and how for the most part they are not something to be too concerned with.  In this posting I would like to talk about the specific cracks that you may encounter in your home and what can be done about them.

Cracks Above Doors & Windows

Cracks in Drywall above Door

These cracks usually appear because the drywall installer placed a seam above the opening. While it is not wrong to install drywall this way, it does create a weak spot in the wall that is very susceptible to movement and therefore cracking.

Nail Pops

Nail pops appear because the wallboard moves but the nail doesn’t. Another cause of nail pops is the normal wear and tear on the ever shifting house over the course of time.  It is normal for drywall screws or nails to loosen. As the drywall moves it pushing the head of the nail or screw outward, which in turn, causes a bubble or blister in your drywall. This is what is known as a “nail pop.” These might look unsightly, they usually aren’t severe. Your Andy onCall Handyman has the proper skills and techniques to repair these nail pops and get your wall smooth again in a minimal amount of fuss and mess.

Ceiling Cracks

Cracks found in the uppermost floor of a house are usually caused by “Truss Lift”.  Houses built prior to the 1960’s used ceiling joists and rafters to create the ceiling and roof. Sometime in the 1960’s builders started using “trusses” to construct ceilings and roofs.  While rafters and joists are separate units, Trusses are (generally speaking) a system of triangles that distribute loads equally across the whole roof/ceiling unit, and the shifting and settling house beneath the trusses can lead to Truss Lift and ceiling cracks.

The good news is that drywall repair projects typically do not require any kind of municipality design approval or permits. Although, in some places, minor repair and replacement projects need a special permit obtained through the Easy Permit Process (EPP). The projects that come under this category include replacing limited drywall, drywall repair, light fixtures, single furnace, limited brick masonry, and roof replacement.

Most drywall repair projects can be completed in a relatively short amount of time (2-3 days), and with minimal amount of mess and at a reasonable cost. So don’t let those drywall cracks get you down. Call Andy OnCall and let our certified Handyman take care of drywall repair needs sooner rather than later!  All of our handyman have the specialized skills and techniques to handle and drywall repair issues you may need.

In: blog

Settling Cracks in Drywall, Part One

We have all seen them, the thin little cracks snaking along at an angle from the corner of a window or doorway.  The nail pops of newer construction, the tape separation and cracking.  It’s so unsightly!  Why does it happen?? Is there something wrong with my house?  Cracked drywall can appear unsightly and draw away all the focus from the décor of your room. But back to the main question: What is causing those cracks? It could be a number of things, but today, I am going to talk about one of the most common causes of drywall cracks, and that is house settling.Cracks in Drywall

Some of the things that can cause the drywall to crack include: the house settling, poor drywall installation, moisture behind the wall, objects on the wall causing it stress, and cracked paint. There are few things that you need to watch out for and some remedial measures that can be taken to nip the problem in the bud. Because there are many reasons why cracks may be caused in drywall, as soon as you see a crack, even a hairline one, in your drywall you should repair it immediately. If left unattended, this can grow into a major problem that might lead to weakening of the wall and eventually the entire structure. It will also involve major expense to repair it at a later stage rather than tackling it at the start.

All houses settle down after some time, but this is not always a uniform process and at times, some parts settle before others. Because of these different rates of settling the shifting structure can lead to cracks between the wall and ceiling due to the downward movement. Yet another spot to watch out for cracks is the top edge of windows and door frames. These are usually diagonal and might increase over a period of time.

Understanding House Settling Cracks

Once you understand why cracks happen, then you can keep an eye out for the start of new cracks and be ready to make permanent drywall repairs sooner rather than later. There are some cracks that can’t be easily repaired. What’s more, it is hard to totally disguise some cracks. Large houses are built with joints in them to relieve movement, similar to the joints in our bodies. .

As I stated before drywall cracks can sometimes be found above the corners of doorways and windows. Nail pops are also relatively common. You may also notice drywall cracking in the ceilings on the uppermost floor of your house. While all these problems are caused by settling there are different reasons that they occur.

Next we will talk about how settling cracks may appear in you your home and how to identify them when they can occur in your drywall, all of which your local Andy onCall handyman can repair with one quick call.

In: Drywall
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