Cracking Up

1. Adjust X-Crack to the angle of the ceiling. 2. Install X-Crack using drywall screws, letting the strip fl oat over irregular framing members. 3. Install drywall, ensuring that the screws penetrate the X-Crack, but miss the trusses and joists. This allows the framing to move independently of the drywall joint. 4. Illustration of where screws should be placed in an X-Crack installation. Black screws fasten the product to the framing, blue screws secure the drywall, and orange screws are the last ones in the fi eld.
Cracking Up 1. Adjust X-Crack to the angle of the ceiling. 2. Install X-Crack using drywall screws, letting the strip fl oat over irregular framing members. 3. Install drywall, ensuring that the screws penetrate the X-Crack, but miss the trusses and joists. This allows the framing to move independently of the drywall joint. 4. Illustration of where screws should be placed in an X-Crack installation. Black screws fasten the product to the framing, blue screws secure the drywall, and orange screws are the last ones in the fi eld.

The vaulted ceiling over your client’s master bedroom looked beautiful when your crew left. But seasons passed and the weather changed. The roof trusses swelled and shrank, which is expected from lumber. The problem is, wallboard doesn’t shift with the framing.

In this phenomenon, called truss uplift, even a fraction of an inch of movement can create unsightly drywall cracks in an otherwise lovely ceiling. Drywall tapes help, “but you’re still just putting a Band-Aid on the problem,” says Chris Ludwig, account manager for StraitFlex. The company manufactures X-Crack, a component designed to eliminate ceiling cracks due to truss uplift, lumber shrinkage, irregular framing, expansive soil, and other conditions.

“There’s a lot of movement in trusses — up to a half-inch in some circumstances,” Ludwig says. “Typically, it will take most tapes less than 1/8 inch to start popping, but X-Crack allows for movement without transferring it to the drywall. It also straightens out vault lines and gets rid of swales when you have a high or low truss.”

Ludwig says that it takes time to install X-Crack, but the solution is worth the effort when compared to the cost of callbacks. “If a homeowner ends up with ceiling cracks a year after they move in, it becomes a very labor-intensive repair,” he says. “You’re talking about building a scaffold, moving all the furniture, protecting the carpet, and pulling out the damaged material, when you could have prevented the problem in the first place.” StraitFlex | 888.747.0220 | straitflex.com

—Lauren Hunter, associate editor, REMODELING.