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Cracks in plaster on ceiling, beams etc - any recommendations / advice?



We bought a 1st/2nd floor maisonette on the ladder earlier this year - the survey noted that the plaster would require replacement, which was obvious because of a number of cracks in the plaster on the ceiling, beams etc.  However, we have been monitoring the cracks on the plaster in one of the beams and it is growing quite quickly, and we are worried that there may be a more serious problem, which we need to attend to. Has anyone experienced a similar problem and able to recommend a suitable person (structural engineer?) 

Tags for Forum Posts: builder, structural engineer

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ameryt10:49pm via Twitter for Android

@harringayonline get that instant filler in a gun thing from Homebase n fill, smooth n forget about it...unless they expand more n a mm.

if the cracks are just in plaster - not the brickwork or in the actual beam itself - then you are unlikely to need a structural engineer. If it is in the actual beam itself or in the brickwork, then best to get a structural engineer in. Your survey implies the cracks are just in the plaster- it really should have noted if they were structural cracks in the brickwork.


You should get it seen to though even if it is just in the plaster- the plaster on my bedroom ceiling in a (rented) ladder maisonette crumbled and collapsed just after I got out of bed one morning earlier this summer! After much chasing my utterly useless landlord, a builder took off the remaining plasterboard (so taking the room down to its lathes), put new plasterboard up and plastered. Builder said it was quite common in victorian houses as the lathes (which the plasterboard are attached too) are likely to be original and just too old to cope any more.

I've got a lovely photo of it straight after the collapse which I will post if I can get it off my phone!

Thanks everyone - fingers crossed its just the plaster casing. We will probably get someone in to check it over the next month for peace of mind!
If you can get access to the area _above_ the ceiling, then you can check the beams/joists. These would be wood, and you should be able to see if they are sound, or have cracks or splits. If they are OK, and cracks are just in the plaster, then you could just monitor the cracks, to see if they widen. It could also be that there is some movement in the whole structure of your property, caused by movement of the walls and foundations. That would also be apparent on the ground floor of the property, which is presumably a "garden flat". Perhaps you could check if your neighbour downstairs has seen any sign of movement or cracks?



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