I have fixed many cracks above and below windows and doors but they always come back. I have tried Durabond, drydex and plain old Mud. I have used paper tape and fiber tape but most of them re-appear.
Has anyone found a solution?
If the cracks keep coming back, rom my experience its a result of moisture/humidity entering around the doors and windows somewhere from the outside causing swelling in the framing. Otherwise there could be sinking of the structure which in 95 percent of cases will stop in time.
My guess is moisture and such getting into the wall somewhere. Think water, moisture, cold and hot air, frost etc. Find it let the framing climatize again and patch the wall.
If the cracks are in the drywall, it's because the joints coincide with the corners of the windows and doors - a no no! New drywall will have to be installed with the joints away from the corners.
If it's where the drywall meets the frame, you need a flexible caulk such as Dap. The products you used have no flex so will crack as the house shift slightly with temperature and humidity changes.
There are no permanent solutions. Cracks are due to house movement, shifting and settling. You can dig out the cracks, tape and mud again. But like I said, there are no great solutions.
Durabond is one of the strongest materials, however if the joint that cracks is even with the edge of door or Window then the drywall was installed incorrectly. The joint above doors and windows should be hooked in at least 2inches towards the center of Window or door.
The only solution is to add new screws to the joint to tighten it up, and ensure there is proper backing. If there is no backing or the joint isn't hooked 2 inches, you may have to redo that piece of drywall unfortunately.
Hope this is helpful.
Most likely the installation of drywall is wrong as others have pointed out here.
When you fix the crack again dig up the drywall and see if the seems are at the corners. If the seems are at the corners you have to redo the drywall around the windows and doors to fix it properly.
The flexible caulking will only be a short fix 3-6 years or even less as caulking overtime becomes brittle (all caulking does) that is why caulking is a maintenance thing and not a permanent material.
Couple of things to check.
1: If it's on a seam, is there backing behind the drywall. If not you'll need to cut drywall, install backing and re-drywall.
2: If the cracks are only appearing in the winter, do you have a humidifier installed? If not this would help.
Hope this helps.
This is Ted from Davidson Home Improvements & Project Management (DHI). Anyone who tells you that this is because of improper joint placement in the drywall is correct. Barring excessive shifting of your house, re-drywalling is the only way to properly address the problem. Any seam in the board should be above/below the window/door, not in line with the corners. If the opening can be cut completely inside the sheet, even better.
May be some short-term solutions offered, but none will last. It's up to you how involved you want to get.
Ted, DHI, Beaverton
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