I've noticed something in the new house and would be interested in some input from you guys.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Our house has a vaulted entryway with a stairway beside it, and the ceiling in the living room is vaulted. There are also large windows in the stairway that start about 1/4 of the way from the floor (at the landing for the stairs) to near the ceiling. There are two windows on top of each other, separated by probably 3-4" of drywall. There are also large windows in the living room, both toward the floor level and in the vaulted ceiling, these separated by a few feet.
The house is 20 years old and was vacant for a few months before we bought it, but it was maintained, including, as far as I know, climate control. It's on slab.
Now, the question:
In these areas with large walls, I can see the outline of the framing all over the place. It's especially noticeable in artificial light from above. The lines are mostly horizontal and are evenly spaced, and they look like they're happening at the drywall joints. When I look at the pictures from the listing, I can see some evidence of it in the living room, but there aren't enough good pictures from elsewhere to know. It's hard to know if they were already there and I'm just noticing, or if they're new, but I will say that they've definitely changed in some places, as I'm seeing what looks like creases in some drywall joints (I wouldn't call them cracks).
The horizontal bulging also seems to be more prevalent at the top/bottom of the windows on the landing, which concerns me, but it may just be because the height is about the same as a piece of drywall.
I've also noticed a few nail pops in the areas where this is happening, but they don't seem to be pervasive.
At first I was thinking foundation issues, but I can't find any evidence for that elsewhere. No sticky/jacked doors or windows, no diagonal cracks leading up from door/window frames, no magically-opening closing doors/cabinets, no cracked tiles or out-of-place hardwood, etc. It's hard to see a lot of the foundation because the Hardie siding comes down low and the landscaping obscures some of it, but I did some poking around and couldn't find any cracks. The only crack I can find outside is on one of the garage doors on the edge of the lentel, and it's a fine vertical crack that doesn't stair-step e masonry. It's also hard to imagine a 20-year-old house would settle the week I moved in, and I spent a lot of time with the inspector poring over things because I'm paranoid about foundation problems. He had no concerns, though he's admittedly not an engineer.
If it's not the foundation, what could be the problem? It's an eyesore, but I don't want to bother spot-fixing the aesthetic problems if they're just going to come back.