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Shrinkage, Drying out and settlement cracks - bangs & cr

Postby Sorely Tried » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:35 pm

Hi, hope someone can help with advice on this. We have spent 2.5 years renovating a derelict damp cold house and added a 2 storey extension and a new staircase - spent thousands on insulation, central heating, unblocked chimneys and installed woodburner. House has warmed up no end. Had the whole place dry-lined and plastered and all the edges of new architrave and skirtings were finished off with decorator's caulk prior to painting.

A loud crack and bang happened last night and I realised that the stairs had suddenly shrunk about 0.5mm, the joints between the timber had sprung apart and all the decorators caulk where the stairs meet the wall has cracked, split and shrunk too. There are a few thin cracks appearing in the plaster around the stairs where the plasterboard joints meet and all the timber around all the door frames is also splitting where the joints abut one another.

My questions are: Firstly, is this shrinkage going to cause ongoing problems, i.e. will the wood ultimately split or the screws sheer off under the strain of this drastic shrinkage?

Secondly, what sort of decorator's caulk will cope with drying and shrinkage to this degree as the old stuff now needs pulling out and replacing. Will I need to keep redecorating every six months as the wood expands and contracts with the temperature? - Even the plasterboard now seems to be cracking along its joints.

Thanks for your good advice... Sorely tried.
Sorely Tried
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Postby stoneyboy » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:27 pm

Sorely Tried,
Suggest you disguise the crack between the stairs and wall with some quadrant.
All woodwork will shrink so for now refill with decorators caulk and see how much more movement there is over the next few months.
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