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Need some help understanding garage walls. I have a client whose garage walls are cracking (see pics) in several places. Not used to dealing with sheetrock repairs in garages so it threw me that there seems to be a layer of mud cracking off of the wall. Can yall help me understand how these work and the best way to recommend fixing them?
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My first guess when I see something like that is moisture problems. Some kind of a slow plumbing leak or roof leak or something like that. Short of that, I'd be wondering about typical humidity levels but I can't see any info of your geographic location. You somewhere in the rain forest or the desert?

The second guess if no crazy source of a moisture problem is found is some manner of original materials failure with regards to the mud.

It looks bad enough to me that I'd probably just gut those parts of the wall in install new sheetrock. Or scrape down all of the loose stuff and just 1/4 over it. But, then again, it's just a garage. How good does it have to look at the end? After looking into moisture issues you scrape the heck out of it and skim it all. But 1/4" rock over top is probably better, faster, and, because of that, even cheaper.
 

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My first guess when I see something like that is moisture problems. Some kind of a slow plumbing leak or roof leak or something like that. Short of that, I'd be wondering about typical humidity levels but I can't see any info of your geographic location. You somewhere in the rain forest or the desert?

The second guess if no crazy source of a moisture problem is found is some manner of original materials failure with regards to the mud.

It looks bad enough to me that I'd probably just gut those parts of the wall in install new sheetrock. Or scrape down all of the loose stuff and just 1/4 over it. But, then again, it's just a garage. How good does it have to look at the end? After looking into moisture issues you scrape the heck out of it and skim it all. But 1/4" rock over top is probably better, faster, and, because of that, even cheaper.
Thanks man. Appreciate the help. I'm in SC so humidity is average (nothing like Houston where I'm from). I'll talk to the HO about leaks. It's a 4 car garage with a lot of this kind of cracking. Gonna be a lot of work. I kind of wonder -- if it was an original materials problem -- if they might have a claim with the builder? It's a custom home so I wonder if I should mention it.
 

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Looks plenty old enough that I doubt any warranty would apply.

Houston might be more humid, but SC is no picnic for humidity, especially in the summer, of course.

What are the exterior walls made from? Concrete block? Standard framing? Do you know if they're insulated? Does the garage have an HVAC system? In the depths of a SC summer, if you had an air conditioned garage with concrete block and no insulation? Well, lets just say I can see those walls sweat from here. (And that could be a warranty claim).
 

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Painting over dirty walls, excess moisture, improper prep, and using latex paint on top of oil paint can all affect the paint's adhesion and cause it to eventually begin flaking off. To solve the problem, you'll need to remove the peeling areas and start over with fresh coats of primer and paint.
 

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There's some chemical incompatibility issues going on with that particular portion of the garage walls. Is this representative of the entire garage?

I find the weirdly rounded inside corner, suspect. It looks like layers of mud were applied prematurely, followed with a coating before the mud cured. It could also be a combination of plaster over joint compound. Who knows what a homeowner is capable of.

Solution.
If there's no intention of replacing the building material fastened to the framing, then a complete scrape out of all the loose mud scale will be required before priming with a high ph tolerant primer and prior to a new joint compound application. I doubt if it's water related due to no staining, mildew, mold, etc.
 

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How about that garage door controller. lol! "Uh...that's OK Grandpa. I'll grab my own ear of corn"
 

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Wall looks like its not insulated. The way that paint/skim coat has cracked..it's an issue from the exterior. Is it below grade? what kind of temperatures are we talking about?
 

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Wall looks like its not insulated. The way that paint/skim coat has cracked..it's an issue from the exterior. Is it below grade? what kind of temperatures are we talking about?
It looks like the kitchen is on the other side of that crumbling wall. I suspect Grandpa used some dry stucco mix, followed with joint compound and topped with plaster of Paris, then finally painted with oil base finish. No primer. It probably looked great for ten years before the delamination began to occur.
 

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Wall looks like its not insulated. The way that paint/skim coat has cracked..it's an issue from the exterior. Is it below grade? what kind of temperatures are we talking about?
Thats an interior wall. It either goes to kitchen, laundry/mud room, or just a hallway, but its inside.
 
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