LESLIE: Danny in Nevada has a crack in his wall. Tell us about it.
DANNY: Actually there’s a … there’s a crack in the ceiling. I noticed my living room, when it gets cold, the crack seems to kind of get a little bit bigger.
DANNY: And then during the summer months, it seems to disappear.
TOM: Yeah, that makes sense, Danny, because in the winter, things shrink and dry out; in the summer, things get very moist and swell. How … what kind of a ceiling do you have? Is it a plaster? Is it drywall? What is it?
DANNY: It’s more like a plaster.
TOM: Okay. That’s pretty typical. You know, those plaster cracks are what the realtors call charm. (laughing) They add to the character.
DANNY: (overlapping voices) Oh, not like a structural concern or is there a way to repair it or should I just leave it be?
TOM: Not likely to be a structural concern. How old is this house?
DANNY: Fifteen years old.
TOM: Well, it’s not plaster then. (chuckling) It’s probably just drywall.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s probably drywall.
LESLIE: What … describe the crack. Is it diagonal? Is it straight?
DANNY: It’s straight. It’s right in the ceiling where like … where they seem to meet. Like the (inaudible).
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s probably a seam. It’s a seam of two sheets of drywall, most likely.
TOM: Is it perfectly straight?
DANNY: Yes, (inaudible) the edge.
TOM: Yeah. You know what I think it is, I think, Leslie, I think you’re right. I think it’s simply a drywall seam. Now, there’s two ways to fix this. One thing that you could do is you could caulk it with a latex … paintable latex caulk. Because that’ll …
LESLIE: Which will flex with it.
TOM: Yeah, it’ll expand and contract with it. That’s sort of the quick fix. You may still see it but it won’t be nearly as obvious. But the best way to do it is to simply retape that seam, which is a bigger job. You’d have to put drywall tape on top of that and respackle it with three or four good coats of spackle.
LESLIE: And I think the better tape is the fiberglass tape.
TOM: Yeah, I like the fiberglass, too, because it’s a mesh tape. You don’t have to worry about any air bubbles underneath the paper tape. It just goes on really well. And it expands … it really holds that crack together.
DANNY: Now, for insulation, should it be like … should anything be escaping out of it when it’s loose?
TOM: No, I wouldn’t worry too much about the insulation. It’s really just cosmetic; it’s not structural in the least.
DANNY: Oh, okay.
TOM: Alright, Danny?
LESLIE: Now, is there … you said that it was plaster. Does it have a finish on it that’s textured?
DANNY: It is textured. (audio gap) some type of a finish but it’s more shiny.
LESLIE: Does it look … does it look like swirls or popcorn?
DANNY: A little like swirls (inaudible).
TOM: Yeah, it sounds like there’s a textured popcorn finish on it. That makes the job of retaping it even more difficult. I would caulk it.
TOM: Caulk it and then repaint that. You could use a roller with a very, very thick coating on it so the paint gets into all those nooks and crannies.
TOM: And that’ll probably make it go away completely. Okay, Danny?
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.