Drywall Crack Repair

“What is drywall crack repair? When your interior walls are covered with drywall, they are clean and complete. However, one hairline fracture can throw off your entire flawless aesthetic. You may ask yourself why drywall cracks in the first place, apart from bemoaning, “Why me?” You may not be able to control your walls’ fissure fate, but you can adequately repair drywall cracks by knowing why they happened in the first place.”


Drywall Crack Repair


Drywall Cracks: Why Does It Happen?

When two sections of drywall meet at the seams, they are the most likely to crack. These joints are the weakest parts of the wall and are subject to many stresses. There can be pressure on seams as drywall expands and contracts with temperature changes in vacation homes without climate control.

Cracks in the drywall may also occur due to the dwelling settling itself. A new or older home may experience this type of damage as the foundation settles, and vertical cracks can appear along the room’s corners, windows, or door jambs.

Poor installation is a potential cause of drywall fractures. Thin, straight cracks in drywall may result from seams that were either improperly taped or not sufficiently covered with drywall.

To avoid repeat drywall repairs, it is essential to determine where the drywall stress originates before mending the wall.


Is Drywall Crack Repair Possible?

The drywall crack repair less than 1/8 inch in diameter is usually as simple as spackling, drywall joint compound (drywall mud), or drywall tape.

Hairline cracks are generally cosmetic, the natural result of fluctuations in temperature, humidity, house settling after new construction, and poor taping and mudding methods when installing the drywall.

Before repairing drywall, cracks that are more than 1/4 inch in thickness may indicate a more serious structural problem.


What Are the Signs of a Structural Crack?

Drywall cracks can occur due to structural damage to your home, such as deteriorated framing members and foundation settlement. The following are some of the symptoms:

  • Cracks larger than 1/4 inch
  • Wall-to-ceiling cracks
  • Doors and windows that have large, diagonal cracks
  • Cracks that are jagged, long, and diagonal
  • Ceiling and wall cracks
  • After repairing cracks, they reappear

Before repairing your drywall, hire a professional to inspect to determine whether the cracks are structural.

A crack in drywall almost always indicates a more severe issue: foundation settlement, drying out of green lumber, climatic changes, or poorly installed drywall. If these issues remain unaddressed, the crack will continue to occur.

A hairline crack above a door or window may not indicate a severe problem. But these stress points can eventually weaken the drywall.


The Safety Considerations of Drywall Crack Repair

Protect the area with plastic sheeting every time you sand drywall joint compound. Dust control joint compound will minimize the amount of dust created. Wear breathing protection when you sand drywall joint compound.


The Best Way of Drywall Crack Repair

If there is a gap (more than 1 4 of an inch wide) rather than a minor crack, it may be necessary to replace the entire drywall panel or undertake a more serious repair. Repairing tiny cracks or hairline fractures in drywall is generally painless.


The tools

  • The mud pan
  • The utility knife
  • A six-inch putty knife
  • Knife with a 12-inch blade


The materials

  • Tape for drywall made of paper
  • Compound for pre-mixing joints
  • Compound for setting
  • (Optional) Painter’s tape


Step 1: Set up the area

Painter’s tape protects any nearby woodwork or trim. Next, the utility knife creates a V-shaped notch across the crack. Take your shop vacuum to the area where the notch is and remove any debris.


Step 2: Tape the drywall

Tape over the crack with drywall tape and apply 1/8 inch joint compound. Putty knife removes excess compound and air from the tape strip. Put a thin layer of joint compound over the tape, extending a few inches of the compound on either side. Then, let it dry completely.


Step 3: Make it smooth

After the compound has dried, use the putty knife to scrape off any excess or rough spots. Use a 12-inch tapering knife to apply a second or third layer of joint compound. Smooth out the compound using long strokes. Let it dry once more, then sand off any dry particles before painting. Let it dry for 5 to 6 inches beyond each tape side.


Repairing Surface Cracks

Due to its seamless paper covering, drywall is more difficult to split or crack than plaster. The most common surface cracks occur at the seams between two drywall sheets, and these cracks are easy to repair.

A paint scraper, utility knife, or chisel corner should be used to widen a crack on a vertical or horizontal seam to determine if it completely penetrates the paper covering the seam and whether or not the tape has come loose. The crack is probably caused by drying and shrinking the old drywall compound.

If the tape is intact and well-adhered, fill the crack with a new compound. Apply the compound by swiping the knife across the crack at a 70-degree angle. Clean the knife by scraping both sides against the pan’s edge. Before lightly sanding the surface, allow it to dry completely. Paint over the dust after wiping away the dust.


Repairing Deep Cracks

Using a razor knife, cut the tape about 6″ to 12″ from both ends if the crack extends through the paper tape on the seam or if it has come loose from the wall. Remove the tape without tearing away the drywall’s paper covering when removing it.


Repairing Deep Cracks


Using a razor knife or drywall saw, remove any loose compound from the wall surface and expand the crack into the stud cavity. Don’t remove solid, well-adhered compounds beyond the crack itself.

To fill the crack in the wall:

  1. Apply a thin coat of new drywall compound where the old tape once was.
  2. Cover the seam with fiberglass tape while the compound is still wet by bridging the gaps between the existing tape ends.
  3. Flatten the wrinkles and bed the tape in with a putty knife while the compound is still damp.

When the compound dries, add a second thin layer.


Tapering or “Feathering

Cover the tape with the new compound, tapering or “feathering” the edges onto the wall surrounding the tape. Because thicker layers are too complex to smooth out and will eventually crack, it is best to apply multiple thin layers of drywall compound.

After the second coat dries completely, sand lightly to smooth out any bumps. With a wide taping knife (up to 12″), cover the patch with the third coat of joint compound. Try to blend this coat into the wall surface as smoothly as possible. After it dries, lightly sand, wipe off dust, and repaint the entire area.


Repairing Nail Pops

It is common for nail heads to pull away from wood studs and protrude through drywall tape and paint, especially in newer homes. There is rarely a risk of drywall falling off the wall, but the bumps are noticeable and unsightly. This is usually a result of warped wood that must be correctly dried when put in place.

Scrape the drywall away with a utility knife until the screw is exposed. You can fix nail pops two ways: drive the nail back into the studs with a screwdriver or hammer and then bracket each nail with tightly spaced drywall screws.

To reattach the drywall to the stud, remove the nail and replace it with another screw nearby. It is essential to recess the heads of drywall screws when you install them, creating a dimple in the drywall surface that you can fill with joint compound, but make sure not to tear through the paper. As described above, spot-patch each screw with compound and cover it with fiberglass tape if several appear in a row.


Repair of Corner Beads

A metal or plastic edging, called a corner bead, reinforces drywall corners outside. Despite being damage-resistant, this bead can break by a sharp knock or a strong shock, which can crack or chip the drywall compound covering it.

Damage generally occurs only in a short section, which can be removed and replaced. Taping over the compound is only necessary if the drywall compound is damaged. Remove all loose material and apply a new compound.

If the bead has a dent, use a hacksaw to cut through it above and below the damaged area. Then, use a utility knife to cut around the corner bead vertically. To remove corner bead fasteners, use a pry bar or claw hammer.


Do not lever against unsupported drywall.

They are usually attached to drywall nails. Do not lever against unsupported drywall, as this will result in a hole that requires more extensive repair. Use a tapering knife or thin plywood behind the tool to prevent further damage.

The section of the new corner bead should be cut to fit the repair area with metal snips. Before placing the bead, you must apply a joint compound to the corner. If needed, apply another layer or two of the compound after completely drying.


Repair of Small Holes

Patch kits are available for holes up to 6″ in diameter. They typically have a reinforced center panel encircled by self-sticking tape. Each patch is applied to the wall and covered with drywall compound.

If your hole doesn’t extend to studs on either side of the hole, you will need to reinforce it. You can make your patch for more giant holes in drywall. When the hole is measured, cut a piece of drywall slightly larger than the hole’s diameter. Place the drywall piece over the damaged area and trace it with a pencil.

Cut out the traced area with a drywall or reciprocating saw. Cut 2×4 pieces a bit larger than the hole. Screw the 2x4s to the drywall. Secure the 2x4s with the new drywall. Replace the drywall (it is unnecessary to reinforce the horizontal edges of the replacement drywall).

Extend the fiberglass tape a few inches beyond the patch. Trim the drywall around the patch to reinforce it. The tape must adhere to the drywall compound, and the repair should continue as described above.


Repairs to Large Sections

Before you cut into the wall, ensure there are no electrical or plumbing wires or fixtures in the way. Repairs will be more extensive if drywall damage extends across wall studs.

Mark the studs behind the damaged drywall using an electronic stud finder, then cut away the drywall with a drywall saw or reciprocating saw. Ensure that no studs go into or through. Delete all exposed drywall nails and screws and discard the drywall once you reach the studs beyond both sides of the damaged area.


Install wood cleats

Install wood cleats on both sides of the opening to support the new drywall vertically. For minor repairs, you can use scrap wood, such as 1×2 furringirs. If you are replacing a large sheet of drywall, use 2×3 lumber to reinforce the opening. Strengthening the horizontal edges of the replacement drywall is not necessary.

Install the cleats flush with studs and secure them with nails or drywall screws. It is optional to reinforce the cleats. Ensure the new drywall is cut to the correct size and thickness to match the original wall thickness. Install new drywall in the repair area.

A typical interior wall is 1/2″ thick, but certain areas, such as between a house and an attached garage, require thicker, fire-rated drywall. As in new construction, attach the drywall to the cleats and studs between them with drywall screws. Apply joint compound as described above over the joints.


Frequently Asked Questions


Can you fix drywall cracks without tape?

Tape is essential for patching cracks in drywall. Even paper drywall tape is better than mesh tape for this purpose.


Is it possible to paint over drywall cracks?

A quick fix for drywall cracks is to paint over them. However, this is an incomplete fix, and the crack will soon reappear. A more effective, longer-lasting solution is to fix the crack properly.