First and foremost, if there are cracks in your ceiling, the best solution is to schedule a free in-home inspection with a reliable contractor. The contractor will check the crack to determine its severity and what steps may need to be taken. Many times a crack is nothing to worry about. Our contractors offer free inspections and in-home estimates. Contact Foundation Repair of Arkansas to speak with a contractor to learn more about your ceiling cracks.
TYPES OF CEILING CRACKS
Fine, Straight Crack: These cracks can be caused when a drywall joint wasn't properly taped or mudded. The tape may not be sticking to the drywall and so a "crack" appears where the edge of the tape is. You can either ignore this or apply a small bit of drywall compound to the loose tape and stick it back on.
Discolored Crack: If the crack is yellow or brown, it is most likely being caused by a water leak. Once the leak is repaired, you can re-tape the drywall, making it look like new again. If the drywall is swollen or soft, you will want to replace the section.
Small Spiderweb Cracks: A thinned drywall compound is used to make a textured ceiling. However, if the compound was applied too thickly, it can crack in all directions. You can cover the cracks with a layer of thin drywall compound or you can sand off the old compound and reapply it.
Horizontal Crack Between the Ceiling and Wall: This may be caused by something called "truss uplift". The trusses holding up your roof are designed to move a little bit to absorb changes caused by temperature and humidity. The truss may move upward, lifting the ceiling with it. It's not going to cause any structural problems, but if you want to repair it, you will probably want to hire a professional.
Cracks in Plaster Ceilings: If you live in a home with plaster ceilings and you begin to see cracks, they may be caused by moisture and/or movement. If they are small, you can repair them with new plaster. If they are bigger and sections of plaster are falling, you will probably have to remove the plaster and install with a drywall section.
Large Cracks and a Bowed Ceiling: If your ceiling is sagging, you need to have the problem addressed. If something heavy is above the ceiling, the ceiling can sag. You will need to move the heavy object. Other causes may be the removal of a load-bearing wall or damage to the support structure. This type of issue will require an inspection by a structural engineer or contractor. This is a situation that needs to be repaired quickly, before it gets worse.
Source: My Foundation Repairs