Tape Problem

August 2007

A homeowner’s new house has a 20' x 16' drywall ceiling with a 4' sloped extension, making the finished size 20' x 20'. The drywall seam that connects the main room to the extension is not straight. Either the rafters are crooked, or the wallboards were not properly lined up. One guy came out and "fixed” it, but now the seam is well defined in one part and practically invisible in the other part of the extension. Now it’s a taping problem, too. What is the best solution?

I’d sure like to know because I have the same problem in my house.
—Steven Riggio


I use Trim-Tex vinyl products for all ceiling and transition areas where crooked [joints] or stress cracks are likely to appear. Even using some products with flexible expansion joints to anticipate this problem. Strait-Flex products also work well in some situations.
—Jamal Harrell, Jamshar Construction Consultants LLC, Willingboro, NJ

Not being a drywall contractor but rather a plastering contractor, we do get called on these items quite a bit. We would snap a line along either side, then utilize Durabond 45 to plaster to the line, feathering the inconsistency out into the body of the wall or ceiling.

Use Strait-Flex tape cut to the length of the angle to be fixed and apply a coat of mud to one side of tape. Before applying tape pop a chalk line from corner to corner, then apply tape according to the chalkline.

First of all, find out what caused the original cracking. Someone drop bundle of shingles on the roof, settling of the foundation, or was it poor framing connection of the 4' sloped area to the existing large ceiling area? Once that is resolved, sand the mud joint down to the tape and re-tape the crack. If it happens again after that, pick two cosmetic points and cut in an expansion joint.

Remove old board and reframe; splice on to old framing with new 2x4s or metal studs.

I would float out the seam with a Durabond/ Structo-Lite, depending on how much a fill is needed. Then smooth finish with regular drywall mud.

First check it with a laser to see how bad it really is. If it’s not too bad (say no more than 3/4"), I would use "NO-COAT 425” flex tape and try to adjust it to the laser. A few months ago we had this same problem and this turned out to be a great repair. Best to try to repair than rip it down to see who is at fault.

Put EUCO WELD on the ceiling and plaster it.

Remove the drywall and shim the rafters so you have a flat, level surface, then put on the drywall. Apply up to three layers of mud to continue leveling.

Even though I never recommend rounding an angle, especially a vaulted one, this may be the cheapest solution at this point to fix the mistakes of a less experienced finisher! I feel the best product for any angle over 90 degrees is the use of Strait-Flex tape from the start!
—John Fritz, CEO, Premier Drywall, Auburn, NY

Please let me know. I do know that when you make one side straight, the other side will suffer when there is no good framing to attach the Sheetrock to or make a line with ULTRAFLEX.

Measure from both ends of one ceiling over to the connecting seam. Mark both measurements to the same length about 3" back from the seam. Do the same from the bottom of the slope. Chalk line from one mark to the other on each ceiling. This will show which ceiling or if both ceilings are off center. You can measure the distance between both chalk lines and determine the middle, then chalk a line down the middle and try to straighten it with Quickset and topping. Another way is to just take NO-COAT and apply it in the seam, keeping one edge side equal distance to the chalk line, then coat each edge to even any inconsistencies.
—Kirk Lewis, Kirk Lewis Drywall L.L.C., Gladstone, MO

The best solution is the NO-COAT product. Set up the staging so you can do the seam in one shot, measure and cut. Coat the outside edges with compound and sand. Works every time. Expensive, but worth every penny.
—Wayne Dickinson, Dickinson Drywall, Owner, West Bridgewater, MA

There are some factors to be considered: What is the pitch of the slope? Will it take a 135 degree splayed corner trim? Will it be regular cornerbead or bullnose? If it won’t take a standard corner trim, you may consider using ULTRAFLEX Trim, which comes in a roll and can be adjusted to any angle. You will need to attach this product on to the recent work to get the desired definition. If the corner needs to be bullnose and the corner is not 135 degrees, then the corner will have to be "freehand.” What I would do is attach some kind of a guide or screed along the length of slope. Then use an adjustable radius trowel and apply fast-setting compound using the guide or screed so that the corner will be consistent. It will probably take a few coats until you get the desired result. Is the texture sprayed or smooth? Lighting is very critical because, depending upon the time of the day, and it can be harsh or diffuse. On a ceiling, the indirect light will reveal irregularities. If the ceiling is textured I would apply skim coats and retexture the entire ceiling. In many ways taping is like automobile collision repair. You wouldn’t just refinish a portion on the hood of your Mercedes, would you? Well, unless you want a quick fix.
—Julian Sanchez

Tear the tape out of the seam. Use one of two methods: One is an odd angle control joint, mud up to the joint with a quick-setting compound. Sand and finish, keeping the joint opening free and clear of compound; this is best. The other is a product called NO-COAT. It’s angle creating combo vinyl/paper tape; use as directed.
—The Wall Doctor

You have a couple of options. 1. Cut the board back and see if the framing is the problem, but the best way would be to stretch a chalk line and use ULTRAFLEX to make it straight. Then use Durabond (easy sand) to float out to hide where you need to. Or, if the angle is open enough, you could cove it out, bend an 8" or 10" and use Easy Sand to fill it. You just won’t have a sharp angle; it would be curved.
—Lloyd Maynard, Production Manager, Tidewater Interior Wall and Ceiling, Chesapeake, VA

Round off inside seams.

Paint the extension with an accent color and make the transition point true and square.
—Reginald V. Jones, Plaster Specialist, Cincinnati, OH

Rip the whole seam out and then pre-fill it with hot mud to even the seams. Then snap a chalk line and use Strait-Flex to keep the seam straight.