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Ceiling crack appearing underneath bathroom

Discussion in 'Home and Garden' started by Pulsedriver, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Pulsedriver

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 19, 2003

    Posts: 2,846

    Location: UK

    Hey folks, long story short, we moved in to our house just before Christmas, part of the job that was being done was the upstairs bathroom having a new toilet/sink suite as well as a new shower cubicle + tray.

    We originally had a quadrant style, but either the plumber didn't fit it right, or the part was faulty, but the doors didn't close properly, so the bathroom place refunded it, and we swapped it out for a standard square cubicle and tray.

    Anyhow, we had the ceilings skimmed, as they were artex, this was done prior to the bathroom fitting, and I did notice, once the shower work was done, a small crack in the ceiling, very fine, but we thought it was possibly due to the banging and hammering whilst fitting the new suite above it must have caused a stress crack on the ceiling.

    Anyhow, fast forward a few weeks and I saw this;

    [​IMG]


    Water... So I went to the bathroom the next day, and checked sealing around the tray, there was one place I notice did not have any sealant, so I sealed it, and monitored the next few days of use, no more water...

    Now, fast forward to yesterday evening, I notice, not more water, but that the crack itself has gotten a lot bigger, almost like someones used a pencil on the ceiling, it's spreading out almost into a V shape.

    [​IMG]

    It doesn't feel damp to the touch, but there is movement if I press it up a bit, you can see the water stain is still there but that's just from before, I would hazard a guess it would stain the ceiling until painted anyway?


    I have a couple of suspicions it's either a leaking shower tray, leaking pipe or poorly fitted tray, if the tray was poorly fitted could it cause the ceiling to buckle/crack under the stress of it?

    The obvious thing to do would be get a plasterer in to cut that ceiling part out and check from underneath, but as it had artex originally underneath it, and it's a 70's house, I would 99% assume it has asbestos in the artex, and am not really keen on the idea of someone just cutting it, especially as we have a young child in the house too.
    Taking the tray out and looking from the top, would be a lot more involved though, so it does seem it may be the only option - debating a call to my home insurance as well?
     
  2. ci_newman

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Feb 24, 2004

    Posts: 8,797

    Location: Hook, Hants

    Stress cracks normally form over the joints between different plasterboards, but that looks as if it cuts across one?
     
  3. Pulsedriver

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 19, 2003

    Posts: 2,846

    Location: UK

    Yeah it seems to be going from the coving area, right across and is extending more and more :/
     
  4. amigafan2003

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 18, 2008

    Posts: 13,885

    Location: Fylde Coast, Lancashire

    Houses move and settle all the time - our 1930's house is still doing it.

    Polyfilla it and see if it comes back.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  5. Entropy

    Gangster

    Joined: Feb 6, 2009

    Posts: 302

    Would it be possible to lift some of the bathroom flooring, pry up a couple of floorboards and have a look along joists to check? Easier initial option to put right than moving the tray or hacking the plaster off.
     
  6. Pulsedriver

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 19, 2003

    Posts: 2,846

    Location: UK

    May try the filler option, the bathroom flooring is all tiled unfortunately :(
     
  7. NickK

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 13, 2003

    Posts: 17,521

    One option is to test for any pipes with a sensor first.. the put a small pin/bradle through the board - see if water or damp comes through. If not it's easy to re-seal with filler/paint.
     
  8. Simon42

    Hitman

    Joined: Dec 11, 2006

    Posts: 628

    Can you tell if the movement you feel is just the plaster skim coat moving or the plaster and original artexed plasterboard moving as one?

    Just wondering if the water leak and/or bathroom installation along with poor adhesion of the plaster has caused the crack. Could explain the odd angle across the ceiling as a skim coat is thin so could easily crack anywhere if not properly adhered.

    Also, apart from a small test hole to check for water, getting a cheap damp detector can be useful for bathroom leaks as it'll show damp when you cannot feel it. I bought a house with a leak from a poorly sealed shower tray and the moment I sealed it the readings dropped every day for a week until they were consistent across the ceiling below which took the guesswork out of it.
     
  9. Maccapacca

    Don

    Joined: Apr 13, 2010

    Posts: 15,797

    Location: Sunny Sussex

    When you say artex under when was it done and how. If it's not prepared properly the the skim coat doesn't bone and comes off in sheets.

    When our house was done thr decorator scraped off all the bobbles then applied pva then used this god awful horse bone plaster and applied a very thin coat. It stunk till we got one coat on.

    Skimming over without proper prep is pointless it comes off in sheets especially under a loft ceiling if you go walking around it all comes off as the ceilings flex.
     
  10. Pulsedriver

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 19, 2003

    Posts: 2,846

    Location: UK

    Last night I used some pollyfilla (the advanced stuff that is like mousse - amazing stuff really so easy to spread it!) and painted over it, so I can monitor what happens.

    Will definitely purchase a damp detector now as well.

    The artex ceiling has been there since the house was built as far as I would guess, the plasterers did all the rooms in the house, but they did not scrape anything at all, not even the tips of the artex, all I remember him saying was they would put loads of pva then plaster over it, as they did not want to create any dust from scraping etc etc

    To be fair to them, the other rooms are fine.

    The movement itself is very small, I think it's just the plaster itself moving rather than the artex underneath it moving as one.
     
  11. Pulsedriver

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 19, 2003

    Posts: 2,846

    Location: UK

    Ok, so an update a couple of weeks later, the crack is definitely re-appearing through the filler, it's taken a couple of weeks to get to the point it almost was before filling, so something definitely not right, that said, there are no water marks at all...
     
  12. a1ex2001

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 14, 2005

    Posts: 10,747

    Location: Here and There...

    I could well just be movement you've added loads of extra weight to the floor above in the form of tiles and the shower base etc so any movement in the ceiling will be exaggerated. Once it's cracked if the ceiling is moving it will just crack again and again in the same place over time you might need to tape the crack and then smooth over the tape.
     
  13. koolpc

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 2, 2004

    Posts: 10,838

    Location: Under The Desk, Wales

    If it were me, i would open up the crack and see if it continues through the artex. You will then know what needs to be done next! No point in filling the crack again. Cut it out larger so you can see what is happening.
     
  14. Pulsedriver

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 19, 2003

    Posts: 2,846

    Location: UK

    There were tiles in the bathroom already and a shower, all we did was change the shower tray, I worry about opening up the ceiling crack due to the asbestos factor! :/
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  15. koolpc

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 2, 2004

    Posts: 10,838

    Location: Under The Desk, Wales

    Just be careful
     
  16. Maccapacca

    Don

    Joined: Apr 13, 2010

    Posts: 15,797

    Location: Sunny Sussex

    Bet any money you like that whole corner is decoupling from the old ceiling.
     
  17. Pulsedriver

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 19, 2003

    Posts: 2,846

    Location: UK

    When you say decoupling do you mean the plaster is coming away from the artex or the artex is also coming away from the ceiling board?
     
  18. Maccapacca

    Don

    Joined: Apr 13, 2010

    Posts: 15,797

    Location: Sunny Sussex

    Plaster from the artex. It's quite common where it's been skimmed over and not prepared correctly.