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I purchased and moved into my first home about 3 months ago. It's originally a home built in the 1930's. An investor bought it last year to completely gut and flip the property. A few of the walls were original, but for the most part, they redid everything.

Recently, I began to notice some cracking in the drywall on the stairwell to my basement where the wall meets the ceiling (pictures below). Every now and then, I'll see small pieces of the drywall on the ground from cracking. The stairwell was completely rebuilt and did not exist in the original house, so it's new.

I'm a 1st time homeowner so I don't know what's normal. Is this a cause for concern or is this normal? If it is a cause for concern, who should I call to take a look at it?

Thanks in advance for the help/

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  • Do you know if there are cracks in anything else? (Say, signs of foundation settlement) – ThreePhaseEel Feb 7 '16 at 21:42
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I wouldn't call it "normal", unless you're talking about the quality of work to expect in a flipped house. The cracks don't look as much structural as caused by an atrocious job of finishing the corner. It's hard to tell from the posted pictures, but it looks like they ran a corner trowel over the joint without taping it and on top of a couple coats of paint. Between that and likely painting it hurriedly (they didn't really even sand that much), the existing paint separated in the corner. This should be relatively straight-forward to fix - scrape off all the loose material, and then properly tape (I'd use fiberglass), mud and sand the joint.

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Both of these pictures make me think that they did the corners with mesh tape. Then they hardly made it through a run of a 4 inch knife, when you should finish at 10-12 inches. I can see the dimples that a bad mesh job leaves and I can see the end of the mud which is unusually sparse and not uniform. It is rather odd, half-assed, and they must have thought paint would cover it up.

What do you do?

  • Really you probably need to tape and mud the corners in your house. I am going to assume they did most or all corners like this and they will all eventually fail. Just given humidity level changes and normal shifting you will have cracks in poorly finished drywall, period. It really isn't that bad of a job or expensive. It is just messy as hell. I would just pick one room at a time. Note too that you can get down to your finish without having to sand until the last day.

Would I be worried?

  • this depends what the flippers really did. If they just threw up drywall and paint then no worries other than some minor fix ups. But if they made structural change, did plumbing or electric, or anything else major... I would worry a bit. My first call would be to the city and see what permits they got during the flip and investigate what they did.

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