How to Fix Cracks in Drywall
Assessing the Severity of the Crack
Before you start repairing a crack in drywall, you need to assess the severity of the damage. Small hairline cracks are easy to repair and won’t require much effort, but larger cracks may be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. Here are some things to look for when assessing the severity of the crack:
Size: Measure the length and width of the crack. If it’s less than 1/4 inch wide, it’s considered a hairline crack and can be easily repaired. Cracks larger than 1/4 inch may require more extensive repair work.
Location: The location of the crack can also be an indicator of the severity of the damage. Cracks that are located near doors or windows may be caused by settling or shifting of the foundation, while cracks in the middle of the wall may be caused by humidity or temperature changes.
Movement: If the crack is still actively moving, it may be a sign of a more serious problem. You can test for movement by applying pressure to the wall on either side of the crack. If there is movement, you’ll need to consult a professional to determine the cause of the problem.
By assessing the severity of the crack, you’ll have a better idea of the repair work that needs to be done. Small, hairline cracks can be easily repaired with a bit of joint compound and sanding, while larger cracks may require more extensive work, such as adding reinforcement to the wall or replacing a section of drywall altogether.
Tools and Materials Needed for Repair
Before you begin fixing a crack in drywall, it’s important to have all the necessary tools and materials on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:
Joint Compound: This is a plaster-like substance used to fill in the crack.
Putty Knife: You’ll need a putty knife to apply the joint compound to the crack.
Sandpaper: You’ll need sandpaper to smooth out the joint compound after it dries.
Drywall Tape: This is a special tape that is used to reinforce larger cracks.
Utility Knife: You’ll need a utility knife to cut the drywall tape to the right size.
Paint: You’ll need to paint the wall after the repair work is done.
Safety Glasses and Gloves: It’s important to wear safety glasses and gloves when working with joint compound and other materials.
Make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials on hand before you begin the repair work. It’s also a good idea to read the instructions on any products you’re using to ensure you’re using them correctly.
Preparing the Crack for Repair
Once you’ve assessed the severity of the crack and gathered all the necessary tools and materials, it’s time to prepare the crack for repair. Here’s what you need to do:
Clean the Crack: Use a dry cloth to remove any loose debris or dust from the crack. This will help the joint compound adhere better.
Cut Away Loose Drywall: If there is any loose or hanging drywall around the crack, use a utility knife to cut it away. This will ensure that the repair work is smooth and even.
Apply Drywall Tape (If Necessary): For larger cracks, you’ll need to apply drywall tape to reinforce the area. Cut a piece of tape to the size of the crack and place it over the crack.
Apply Joint Compound: Use a putty knife to apply joint compound over the crack, filling it in completely. Smooth out the surface of the joint compound and make sure it’s even with the rest of the wall.
Let the Joint Compound Dry: Allow the joint compound to dry completely. This usually takes around 24 hours, but may vary depending on the thickness of the joint compound and the humidity levels in your home.
By properly preparing the crack for repair, you’ll ensure that the repair work is done correctly and that the crack won’t reappear in the future.
Applying Joint Compound and Sanding
After the joint compound has dried completely, it’s time to apply a second coat and sand it down. Here’s what you need to do:
Apply a Second Coat: Use a putty knife to apply a second coat of joint compound over the crack. Make sure the second coat is smooth and even, and that it covers the entire crack.
Let the Joint Compound Dry: Allow the joint compound to dry completely. This may take another 24 hours.
Sand the Joint Compound: Use sandpaper to smooth out the joint compound. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper and gradually move to a finer grit sandpaper. Be careful not to sand too much or you’ll create a depression in the wall.
Feather the Edges: Use the sandpaper to feather the edges of the joint compound, blending it seamlessly with the rest of the wall.
Wipe Away Dust: Use a damp cloth to wipe away any dust or debris created by sanding.
By applying a second coat of joint compound and sanding it down, you’ll ensure that the repair work is seamless and even with the rest of the wall.
Finishing Touches and Repainting
Now that the crack has been repaired and sanded, it’s time to add the finishing touches and repaint the wall. Here’s what you need to do:
Prime the Area: Use a primer to prime the area where the repair work was done. This will help the paint adhere better and create an even finish.
Paint the Wall: Use a paintbrush or roller to paint the wall. Make sure the paint matches the rest of the wall and that it covers the repaired area completely.
Let the Paint Dry: Allow the paint to dry completely. This may take several hours.
Inspect the Wall: Once the paint has dried, inspect the wall for any imperfections. If you notice any, sand them down and touch up the paint as necessary.
Clean Up: Clean up any tools or materials used during the repair process.
By completing the finishing touches and repainting the wall, you’ll ensure that the repair work is not only functional, but also looks seamless and matches the rest of the wall.