Effect of unheated house on finished drywall

 
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:06 AM   #1
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Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Hey Guys! Hope everyone is having an awesome Friday!

So, would like some opinions here; I have a homeowner who wants to kill the water, winterize the house and not heat it over the winter here in Chicago. Gas is outrageously expensive in the Chi. The drywall is long finished and cured, and has two coats of paint, again long since cured/dried. The work was done over the summer. The property has all its windows and doors, so no direct drafts or cold air coming in besides what leaks in through small cracks.

How bad do you think it would be? I have my doubts based on expansion/contraction of studs, etc, but I'm a mere GC so wanted to see if I could get some pros to weigh in on opinions. Am I worrying for nothing, or are my concerns valid about this potentially ruining the drywall in the house? I'm thinking any gas savings is going to be spent on springtime drywall repair. You guys live this stuff everyday - would appreciate any input you professionals might care to share with me.
Have a great weekend!

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Old 10-22-2010, 08:34 AM   #2
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


lets just say we dont put much care and attention into the finish of a un-heated garage,we know what will happen to it.But then again it is a crap shoot.Look at how abandoned houses slowly go into dis repair
dealing with Canadian winters so...........and the snow coming again
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:07 PM   #3
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Dont do it, get some type of warmth into it and get some air air movement, Im currently in a difficult situation, House built to fast, demanding homeowner that wanted it all done NOW, built over colder winter months, (nothing compared to canada) Worst house for critical lighting you could get, owners moving in when place wasnt finished, heated up the underfloor heating, Everyone got paid, house was mint, few months down the track, delayed shrinkage of some joins under bad lighting, earthquake cracks, sparkys holes, scratch marks from other trades and homeowners, now they are demanding it fixed, all the trades involved have a repair list, dont really know how this one is going end.

Your place will prob slowly absorb damp and cause mould, then when reheated shrink and move causing cracks and pops, peaks etc.

Last edited by cazna; 10-22-2010 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 10-22-2010, 05:18 PM   #4
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Could write a 10 page response about unheated areas and potential problems,lets just say ;you can pay me now or you can pay me later; thats the short of it!!
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:48 PM   #5
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Quote:
Originally Posted by angelndevil View Post
Hey Guys! Hope everyone is having an awesome Friday!

So, would like some opinions here; I have a homeowner who wants to kill the water, winterize the house and not heat it over the winter here in Chicago. Gas is outrageously expensive in the Chi. The drywall is long finished and cured, and has two coats of paint, again long since cured/dried. The work was done over the summer. The property has all its windows and doors, so no direct drafts or cold air coming in besides what leaks in through small cracks.

How bad do you think it would be? I have my doubts based on expansion/contraction of studs, etc, but I'm a mere GC so wanted to see if I could get some pros to weigh in on opinions. Am I worrying for nothing, or are my concerns valid about this potentially ruining the drywall in the house? I'm thinking any gas savings is going to be spent on springtime drywall repair. You guys live this stuff everyday - would appreciate any input you professionals might care to share with me.
Have a great weekend!
Lets just say this if you are a general contractor as you say why are you asking such a mundane question you should know the answer. Go over to contractor talk they are a forum for contractors....
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:15 PM   #6
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Don,t worry about it the worst that could happen is all the money saved on gas will be spent on drywall repairs X ??? .just coll back your drywaller next spring an say he did a bad job.Can,t see it from my house.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:34 PM   #7
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


I really cannot foresee any problems whatsoever. It should be a gradual heat change, not an overnight switch.
People tape the undersides of gas stations canopies around here and they only crack from water damage. As long as everything is dry I really cannot see what could happen to it. The wood will remain the same basic temperature as it would with heat in it.
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Old 10-23-2010, 12:08 AM   #8
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


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I really cannot foresee any problems whatsoever. It should be a gradual heat change, not an overnight switch.
People tape the undersides of gas stations canopies around here and they only crack from water damage. As long as everything is dry I really cannot see what could happen to it. The wood will remain the same basic temperature as it would with heat in it.
your being sarcastic right ???????
you say you guys tape undersides of canopies at gas stations,yet their all cracked......????????? hello....it's the water ????
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Old 10-23-2010, 11:19 AM   #9
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


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your being sarcastic right ???????
you say you guys tape undersides of canopies at gas stations,yet their all cracked......????????? hello....it's the water ????
I'm completely serious. They ONLY crack occasionally from water damage. We have taped exterior soffits on a school we did and never once had a callback.
This is Montana and we have -45 degrees for about a week or two every winter. It's been almost two years since we did the school and it's all still holding strong.
I've seen lot's of exterior tape hold just fine after exposure to the elements, so that's why I don't see why it would matter on an interior.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:08 PM   #10
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Quote:
Originally Posted by angelndevil View Post
Hey Guys! Hope everyone is having an awesome Friday!

So, would like some opinions here; I have a homeowner who wants to kill the water, winterize the house and not heat it over the winter here in Chicago. Gas is outrageously expensive in the Chi. The drywall is long finished and cured, and has two coats of paint, again long since cured/dried. The work was done over the summer. The property has all its windows and doors, so no direct drafts or cold air coming in besides what leaks in through small cracks.

How bad do you think it would be? I have my doubts based on expansion/contraction of studs, etc, but I'm a mere GC so wanted to see if I could get some pros to weigh in on opinions. Am I worrying for nothing, or are my concerns valid about this potentially ruining the drywall in the house? I'm thinking any gas savings is going to be spent on springtime drywall repair. You guys live this stuff everyday - would appreciate any input you professionals might care to share with me.
Have a great weekend!
Im not sure how the floors would act to the freezing cold,the drywall would prob be ok but im sure alot of other things would not.Just a little heat goes a long way.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:13 PM   #11
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


I have seen a lot of drywall go bad after a house has lost its heat. Its like all the joints in house ridge and lots of nail pops. I lost power in my personal house for 4 days with temps in the low 20s. When the temps got back to normal i could see perfect joints turn bad. Do not let a house loose its heat.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:15 AM   #12
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Set the thermostat low, like 50-55 (F). It'll cut your gas bill in half, and you won't have to winterize. Keep cupboards with water lines open, to circulate warmth, maybe even let the faucets drip. We are supposed to have an average winter this year, you should be fine.

The biggest issue for drywall is quick temp changes. The wood expands quickly and rafters lift, nails pop, etc. We've done jobs where the GC fires up heat for drywall and paint and then kills it until it sells. The quick addition of heat is the problem, not the cold.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:33 PM   #13
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


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Originally Posted by CE Drywall View Post
Set the thermostat low, like 50-55 (F). It'll cut your gas bill in half, and you won't have to winterize. Keep cupboards with water lines open, to circulate warmth, maybe even let the faucets drip. We are supposed to have an average winter this year, you should be fine.

The biggest issue for drywall is quick temp changes. The wood expands quickly and rafters lift, nails pop, etc. We've done jobs where the GC fires up heat for drywall and paint and then kills it until it sells. The quick addition of heat is the problem, not the cold.
Couldnt agree more--extreme temperature changes[ in a relative short time] will ruin a good drywall job. As far as I,m concered-new or old will damage
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:36 PM   #14
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Quote:
Originally Posted by angelndevil View Post
Hey Guys! Hope everyone is having an awesome Friday!

So, would like some opinions here; I have a homeowner who wants to kill the water, winterize the house and not heat it over the winter here in Chicago. Gas is outrageously expensive in the Chi. The drywall is long finished and cured, and has two coats of paint, again long since cured/dried. The work was done over the summer. The property has all its windows and doors, so no direct drafts or cold air coming in besides what leaks in through small cracks.

How bad do you think it would be? I have my doubts based on expansion/contraction of studs, etc, but I'm a mere GC so wanted to see if I could get some pros to weigh in on opinions. Am I worrying for nothing, or are my concerns valid about this potentially ruining the drywall in the house? I'm thinking any gas savings is going to be spent on springtime drywall repair. You guys live this stuff everyday - would appreciate any input you professionals might care to share with me.
Have a great weekend!

The bottom line is anything that holds moisture (which is almost everything ) will twist and turn when it freezes,maybe not the drywall but the wood studs would twist.. there are some types of drywall that can be used outside like Glass Gold , Glass Rock but keeping the heat on very very low would be your best bet IMO
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:10 PM   #15
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Montana used to be heavily forested, but the cold temperatures killed all of the trees. I think it happened up in Canada too.

I don't know what sort of effect cold temperatures have on drywall, but I've never seen the fire-tape in an unheated garage crack just because it got cold. I'd be far more worried about water lines, etc. That, and squatters with tattoos and a penchant for cannibalism.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:23 PM   #16
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Also, the comments made about about extreme and rapid temperature changes have the most validity. You stated that the work was done over the summer, and in my honest uneducated opinion, that is not enough time for all of the moisture to really have left the house.

If you wanted to be as safe as possible, stick a few dehumidifiers in the house and let them run for a week. Then let the house cool down gradually.
In the spring, the house would have to be brought back to temperature gradually as well.

If you think about how a house functions, the shell gets really cold, right? The interior stays warm, right? Wouldn't that battle between extreme cold and heat wreak havoc on the framing? Apparently not, or we would have regular cracking in almost every house around here in the winter. What you do run into is more frequent cracking when the temperature changes 50 degrees in a day (-10 overnight to 40 or even 50 in the afternoon).
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:27 AM   #17
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


I have been called to quote painting homes that had the heat off of the season and the walls were full of mildew. Some cottages are off all season and seem to be fine.

We moved into the family farmhouse that was sut down for 3 years, between the mice and mold, i could not say which was worse!

My advice - Don't do it. Keep the heat on above freezing. Airflow is important too.
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:13 PM   #18
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Nothing will deteriorate faster than a closed up house. DO NOT just close it up. You will be sorry. It's not the expansion and contraction rate that cracks them. It's the absorption of moisture that has no where to go and won't dry out. Things just keep sucking up moisture and cracks the seams.
Not to mention the chances of mold growth. I wish I had images, but I went to look at two houses that were foreclosures that have been sitting empty that this lady wanted me to paint. I can't even explain the levels of mold and mildew inside the cabinets and under the dropped ceilings.
This happens because the humidity levels aren't balanced. That's why if people live in them and circulate the air, and or, open windows in the summer this doesn't happen.
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:46 PM   #19
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


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Nothing will deteriorate faster than a closed up house. DO NOT just close it up. You will be sorry. It's not the expansion and contraction rate that cracks them. It's the absorption of moisture that has no where to go and won't dry out. Things just keep sucking up moisture and cracks the seams.
Not to mention the chances of mold growth. I wish I had images, but I went to look at two houses that were foreclosures that have been sitting empty that this lady wanted me to paint. I can't even explain the levels of mold and mildew inside the cabinets and under the dropped ceilings.
This happens because the humidity levels aren't balanced. That's why if people live in them and circulate the air, and or, open windows in the summer this doesn't happen.
Great reply--like my reply said--"I can give you 10 pages why not to"---you guys keep it up ,it will be ten soon!!!!!
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:02 PM   #20
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Re: Effect of unheated house on finished drywall


Here's the way I see it...it's possible to do anything (well, almost) if a person is creative and resourceful enough.

If the homeowner doesn't want to pay for heat all winter because they're not in their home, someone needs to find a viable solution. Lots of people close their houses up for the winter...how do they do it? A quick google search for "winterize a summer home" turned up this...http://www.homeadditionplus.com/Wint...ion%20Home.htm..and many more. It's silly to think you can't do something because you've seen some worst case scenarios. How many calls do you get to fix homes that haven't had any trouble being closed up for the winter?

I see a lot of people on this site saying "You CAN'T do that!"....and if you disagree they try to tear you a new a$$h0le. Our jobs go beyond hang, finish, and texture, at least mine does. Sometimes we are called upon to solve problems.
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