Ceiling Cracks on New Construction – An Expensive Mistake [Update 2022]

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Complete Building Solutions gets calls weekly regarding visible cracks in walls and ceilings. Many times, these cracks are appearing in our client’s brand new construction builds. This can be indicative of a structural issue within the building or poor quality at any stage of the build.

As the engineering firm, it is our job to determine exactly what caused the cracks to appear in the first place.

For example, we recently inspected a large commercial building that had gone through a total renovation costing the owners close to a million dollars by the time the project was complete. We were called out to inspect the building because of ceiling cracks that had started appearing every 8 feet in the hallways. There was some debate among the builders as to whether the cracks were due to a preexisting structural issue or because of a current tradesman’s mistake. A structural engineer was needed to find the answer.

Our engineer looked over the architectural plans and inspected the building. He determined that no structural issue was present and that the problem was likely due to poor craftsmanship from the sheetrock crew.

After further investigation, our team discovered what the real issue was.

Observe the images below. When sheetrock is installed, a gap will exist between each sheet. These gaps need to be filled with a product called Durabond® in order to set the joint and prevent cracking.

Sheetrock Install

Ceiling Crack

Now, look at the picture below. You can see that the gap was not filled properly with Durabond®. Instead, it was simply taped and mudded over.

Failure to install sheetrock correctly

This was detrimental to the entire project and caused cracks to appear every 8 feet throughout the building’s hallways. See the picture below.

Ceiling cracks in apartment

This single mistake of failing to fill spacing between the sheetrock with Durabond® will cost thousands of dollars to fix. The sheetrock will need to be redone entirely. This is not a great situation for anyone involved and is why our firm offers project management services. In our experience, it is more cost effective to pay an engineer to monitor the correct build of a project than it is to pay for mistakes.

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