Drywall is a popular building material because it is affordable, lightweight, and easy to install. However, one downside of drywall is that it can often crack, especially when used in high-traffic areas or subjected to moisture.
Here are reasons why drywall cracks:
11 Reasons Why Drywall Cracks
1. Temperature changes
Drywall starts to crack when there are severe climate changes in the area where it is located. The most common issue happens when it’s hot outside but cold inside the building because moisture forms due to condensation.
2. Improper installation
Drywall is one building material that must be installed properly to last a long time. If not, cracks will show up sooner or later. Two common mistakes are made when installing drywall: either the installer applies too much joint compound or doesn’t apply enough joint compound. Both can lead to cracking over time; however, another factor is involved with the joint compound shrinkage. When the wall’s temperature changes and moisture appears in colder areas, joints without enough joint compound might crack because of contraction. Those with too much compound might crack due to expansion when the temperature drops again.
3. Fastener issues
As with any other type of wall, drywall is only as strong as the fasteners holding it in place. If too few fasteners are not spaced evenly, the drywall will start to sag and eventually crack.
If your home has been built on unstable ground, it will eventually undergo settlement. The walls (and everything else attached to them) will move when this happens, including the drywall. This can cause cracks in the panels, either horizontally or vertically.
5. Poor quality materials
Just like anything else in life, if you don’t buy a good quality product, you’ll end up paying for it later. The same goes for drywall: if you don’t use enough high-quality materials, you’re going to have issues with cracks later on.
6. Inadequate bracing
Depending on the size of the room you plan to install your drywall in, it’s possible that inadequate bracing might be an issue. For example, if you try to install a sheet of 1/2″ thick drywall in a room without a wall stud, it might collapse under its weight and cause cracking within a week or so after installation.
7. House settling
Just like buildings can settle when built on unstable ground, houses can do the same thing over time. Cracks in walls not only look bad; they also indicate potential problems within the structure of your house, including plumbing leaks, electrical problems, and even the foundation.
8. Cracks from settling
In some cases, your drywall can be impacted by a neighbor building an addition onto their house or having a contractor make repairs to their home. In these situations, you might not realize that any work is going on, but it’s still possible for vibrations from the activity next door to cause cracks in your drywall.
9. Moisture changes
Drywall isn’t very flexible when moisture is involved. It can easily crack due to moisture stresses that develop between warm and cold areas inside your house. This happens especially if there’s been no insulation added to the studs behind sheetrock yet.
10. Joints without mesh tape
At the seams where two pieces of drywall meet, most professionals recommend applying a layer of mesh tape over the joint before adding additional compound – otherwise, you’re just asking for cracks later on. One way to check if your joints are properly taped is by running your hand over them; if it feels bumpy with ridges instead of flat, you need to add more compound.
11. The Gypsum plaster can dry out
The gypsum plaster that is used to make drywall is a hygroscopic material. This means that it absorbs water from the air. When the humidity levels drop, the gypsum plaster can dry out, leading to cracking.
How to Stop Cracks
Hiring a qualified and experienced drywall contractor is the best way to reduce any potential risks of cracking. Only a smooth installation process can ensure that your drywall is perfect from start, minimizing any cracks that can appear. Look for a contractor that has the qualifications, stellar track record, awards and positive reviews when hiring them.
There could be many reasons why your drywall might start to crack. By being aware of the most common causes, you can take steps to prevent them and minimize any damage that may occur. If you experience a drywall crack, be sure to address it quickly so that the problem doesn’t worsen.