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Cracks in paint and grout in bathroom

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: May 28 2003

We have two bathrooms in our Eichler (call them A and B).

In bathroom A, the previous owners covered over the ceiling beams with
(presumably) drywall and painted over the drywall and the cross-beams
with some (ideally) mold resistant paint. For good or for worse, we
are doing the same in bathroom B (in conjunction with getting the
shower replaced), as we've had an ongoing problem with mold creeping
into the cracks between the ceiling beams.

Bathroom B has always been our primary bathroom for showering, but
because of the work going on in bathroom B, we've had to shower in
bathroom A for several weeks. Recently, we've noticed the following
in bathroom A.

- There are "cracks" in the ceiling paint where the drywall meets the
cross-beam (both sides of the cross-beam). We don't recall how long
these cracks have been present (i.e. for a long time or only recently
when we started showering in bathroom A.

- Where the crossbeam meets the tile wall, there are some small cracks
in the tile grout.

- There is also a small grack where the grout meets the wooden frame
of the window inside the shower/bathtub.

Finally, the cross-beam in question looks "twisted" for lack of a
better term. That is, it's not at a perfect 90 degree angle with the
ceiling beams. This was clearly the case when we bought the house 6
years ago, as the tile is cut at an "angle" where the cross-beam meets
the wall. There are some slallow grooves (not cracks) in the side of
the cross-beam. Is it possible that this cross-beam is twisting more
over time? Or did they simply build our house with a "crooked"
cross-beam. I've looked at other cross-beam in our house and other
Eichlers, and I noted that many cross-beams are not at a 90 degree
angle with the ceiling (so our Eichler is not unique in this regard).

Finally, how should we address this issue? Just paint over the
cracks? Apply some caulk in the cracks and paint over the caulk?
Just deal with the fact that cracks will form in the paint every once
in a while? How does one repair cracks in the grout? And are there
ways to precent these cracks in the paint and grout from happening in
the future? Are these problems more common in Eichlers than in other
types of houses?


Joined: Mar 25 2003

Not a big fan of the drywall over the ceiling and beams so I'm biased here, but have to ask why you think this will solve your mold problem. The biggest concern in construction circles these days is mold behind the drywall, so you're probably going through all this effort just to hide the problem (and mess with the architecture in the process).

You need an exhaust fan on a timer, mold resistant paint, and windows/skylights with a thermal break. These are likely to be much more effective in addressing your mold issue.

Joined: Dec 11 2005

I have to agree. We installed panasonic whisper fans in our bathrooms and they work like a charm. These fans are wall mounted and fit in over your shower just below the beam. You need to fix the real issue which is the steam coming off of your shower and re-route it so it has someplace to go other than your ceiling. We have no mold issues and I am sure it is because we have great exhaust systems.

Regarding the crooked beam, do you have any pictures so we can get a better visual? I have not heard of the beams being crooked unless it is an area a knot had formed. Placing drywall over the tongue and groove is not commonplace for Eichlers so I can not give too much advice on this issue. I wonder if the drywall on your ceiling is "Green Board" which is a drywall used around showers and it is more resistant to moisture or if it is the regular drywall. Is the ceiling textured or is the drywall directly painted on?

If you want to repair the cracks in the grout then I would suggest chipping a piece of grout off, go to Home Depot and match the grout with samples then fill in the cracks with a putty knife and a wet sponge. You will need to look to see if the grout is grainy or smooth because there are 2 different kinds.

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Joined: May 28 2003

Both bathrooms have fans and windows.

Still, at times (someone takes a longer than usual shower, it's more humid in the house for some reason), moisture will still build up. It's easier to dry off a flat ceiling than to dry the cracks in between the beams. And if you don't dry the cracks between the beams, mold starts forming.

In the bathroom where we're currently placing the drywall on the ceiling, we're actually getting a Panasomic Whisper fan too - unfortunately, it's not located in the ideal location - over the shower. Placing it directly over the shower would require extensive rewiring, which is always fun in an Eichler. And if we got a licensed contractor to do that, who followed the books and got a permit, the city of Palo Alto would probably require enough additional work, that we'd end up having to replace our main panel... As it is, they require 4 inspections just to replace a shower...

Joined: Dec 11 2005

You may want to seal the crevices in the T&G ceiling with caulk. This would take care of the mold growing in between the slats. It sounds like you are in the process of drywalling the shower but you might want to caulk the rest of the bathroom ceiling.

We had all of the electrical upgraded when we installed the fans so I can understand your hesitation. Our electrical contractor took care of the permits and inspection so we had nothing to worry about. I am happy however that we had a panel upgrade because it can handle all of the electricity that today's lifestyle demands.

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