Why Your Garage Ceiling Is Cracking And How To Fix It (Easily)

garage ceiling crack

So, you’ve noticed that there are a few cracks in your garage ceiling, and you are unsure of whether it is a big deal or not. Ceiling cracks will usually form in older houses because of settling (all structures settle to a certain extent after being built), but it could also indicate structural damage.

Cracks in your garage ceiling can be caused by two main things: structural damage or settling. Once you’ve ruled out structural damage as a cause, repairing the cracks in your ceiling should be pretty straightforward. Simply drive in some drywall screws and apply joint compound and paper tape over the cracks.

If you’ve noticed that your garage ceiling is cracking, it can be pretty nerve-wracking. Many times, a crack in your ceiling is just the house settling. However, it could also be caused by structural damage. It is crucial that you do basic safety checks and find out the cause of the cracking.

Why There Are Cracks In Your Garage Ceiling

Over a certain amount of time, most homes will develop ceiling cracks at some point. Many of these cracks will be cosmetic in nature and do not indicate a more significant problem. However, cracks that are wider than 1/8-inch may signify structural issues.

By examining the size, shape, and location of a crevice, you can determine the possible cause for the crack and potential solutions. The two leading causes of ceiling cracks are the natural settling of a house and structural damage. Garage ceiling cracks can also be because of poor workmanship.

Causes Of Garage Ceiling Cracks 

Finding the cause of your ceiling crack is essential for determining a solution to fix the gap.

  • Your house is getting older – Just as you don’t look and feel the same way you did when you were younger, your house won’t either. General wear and tear to a building (including the foundation settling) will happen naturally as your home ages. This aging can cause ceiling cracks and floor and wall cracks.
  • The floor above your ceiling is too heavy – Having a room above your garage that contains heavy items could be the culprit of your ceiling cracks. Spaces such as bathrooms need more ceiling support as they contain much heavier items such as bathtubs.
  • You may have some moisture damage – Many ceiling cracks are caused by moisture damage. The moisture could be coming in through the roof or the room floor immediately above your garage. Think back to things like whether you have experienced a powerful storm recently or if there may be a plumbing leak above where the crack in your ceiling is.
  • There might be something wrong with your drywall – Cracks in ceiling drywall aren’t usually serious and are generally due to the drywall not being correctly installed the first time. This happens when drywall joints have not been adequately taped. This happens due to the installer not using enough drywall mud when they are taping the joints; because of this, the tape doesn’t stick. As the tape becomes loose, it will cause cracks in the drywall.
  • You could have foundation problems – Sometimes, ceiling cracks can be a sign of underlying severe structural damage. As an example, foundation settlement could be the cause of ceiling cracks. This is because the foundation settlement can stress the frame of your building. If your ceiling cracks are caused by structural damage, it is better to find them early on.

Types Of Cracks In Garage Ceilings And How To Fix Cracks in ceiling

crack garage ceiling

Different types of cracks indicate other causes and will therefore need different solutions. 

A Fine Straight Ceiling Crack 

This type of crack could indicate a poorly taped joint. If the installer did not use enough drywall mud during the taping process, the paper tape would not stick properly to the wall. This could result in a straight ‘crack’ along the edge of the loosened tape. 

How to fix it – This problem does not indicate a structural or safety hazard, and therefore it can be ignored if the homeowner so wishes. The appearance of the crack can also be minimized by applying a small amount of thin drywall compound directly underneath the loosened tape to re-adhere it to the drywall.

A Discolored Crack

A discolored crack could indicate a moisture problem, as sometimes water from a leak can trickle down between a ceiling’s drywall panel and cause the tape to loosen. This will create the appearance of a crack and can leave yellow or brown stains around it. Before starting ceiling repairs, you will need to find the cause of the leak and fix it. 

How to fix it – You will need to scrape off any loose tape to be able to re-tape the joint, using either a drywall repair kit or a paper tape and joint compound. For those with textured ceilings, you can use an aerosol texture product to cover your newly re-taped joint to ensure it will blend into the ceilings existing texture.

Tiny Spiderweb Cracks

If you notice your cracks are small and look like spiderwebs, it could indicate a thick application of drywall compound. The cracks will appear to run in all directions because the drywall compound will shrink as it dries. 

How to fix it – To cover the cracks, you will need to apply a thin layer of drywall compound onto the existing texture. You could also try sanding down the existing surface so that you may apply a new drywall compound to your ceiling. 

Ceiling And Wall Cracks

ceiling crack

Ceiling cracks accompanied by wall cracks are often the result of a house settling. As houses age and settle, naturally thin crevices in the walls and ceilings will occur. These tiny superficial cracks can generally be re-taped; however, as the house continues to settle, the cracks will very likely reappear in the same place.

If the cracks are wider than 1/8-inch, you may have to consult a reputable home builder, as this could indicate a structural problem.

Larger Cracks On A Bowed Ceiling

bowed ceiling

If your ceiling bows or sags, this indicates a problem that needs immediate attention. If you’ve had something heavy recently installed on the floor above, like a waterbed, pool table, or hot tub, then the ceiling joists may sag under any excessive weight. 

Another reason for a ceiling to crack or bow would be an incorrect removal of a load-bearing wall or any damage to other support members.

How to fix it – A reputable builder or professional structural engineer should be called in to examine your ceiling as soon as possible. They will assess the damage and determine the best solution to remedy the situation.


There are multiple reasons for cracks to appear in your garage ceiling, with the two main culprits being structural damage and natural settling. If the cracks are due to settling, or an incorrect amount of drywall mud applied by the initial installer, the fixes are pretty simple and easy to do.

Suppose your ceiling is sagging and bowing, or you have any reason to suspect some recent structural damage has happened to your house (recent earthquake, hurricane, or tornado). In that case, you will need to call a structural engineer or home builder immediately to assess the damage and prepare a solution.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.