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Learn How to Repair Drywall Cracks Like a Pro

Learn How to Repair Drywall Cracks

How to Repair Drywall Cracks

Repairing drywall cracks is a common home improvement task that many homeowners face. Whether it’s a small hairline crack or a large gap, understanding how to address these issues can help maintain the aesthetic appeal and structural integrity of your home. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of repairing various types of drywall cracks.

Assess the Crack and Determine the Cause

Before you start any repair work, it’s essential to assess the crack and understand its cause. Inspect the area for signs of moisture damage, which can cause drywall to swell and shrink, leading to cracks. Also, check for structural issues; a crack may be a sign of a more significant problem like foundation shifting. If the crack is from natural settling or impact damage, it’s usually safe to proceed with repairs.

Prepare the Crack for Patching

Next, prepare the crack for patching. Use a utility knife to cut away any loose or damaged drywall around the crack. Then, sand the crack and surrounding area with medium-grit sandpaper. This step helps create a rough surface for better adhesion of the patching compound.

Apply a Drywall Patching Compound

Once the area is prepared, apply a drywall patching compound. You can use either a setting-type compound, which hardens quickly but is harder to sand, or a drying-type compound, which takes longer to dry but is easier to sand. Apply the compound in thin, even layers and feather the edges for a smooth transition.

Tape the Crack for Reinforcement

Once you’ve repaired a crack in your drywall, it’s important to take all the necessary steps to ensure the problem doesn’t resurface again. After applying the appropriate compound, we advise reinforcing the crack with drywall tape specifically designed for repairing cracks. By pressing the tape firmly into the crevice, you create a tight seal that will help hold the drywall together, preventing the crack from reappearing. This small yet crucial step in the repair process can save you time and money in the long run.

Add Additional Compound Coats as Needed

Depending on the size and depth of the crack, you may need to apply additional coats of the patching compound. Allow each coat to dry completely before adding the next. Sand the area smooth between coats to ensure an even surface. Finish with a final skim coat for a seamless look.

Prime and Paint the Repaired Area

With the compound completely dried, prime the repaired area before painting. A drywall primer will help seal the patch and provide a suitable surface for the paint to adhere to. After priming, paint the area to match the surrounding wall, blending the repair into the rest of the wall for an invisible fix.

Prevent Future Cracks with the Right Installation

Finally, take steps to prevent future cracks. Reinforce corners with corner beads and add bracing to minimize stresses on the drywall. If moisture was a factor in the original cracking, address these issues by improving ventilation or repairing leaks.

Repairing Specific Types of Drywall Cracks

How to Repair Cracks in Drywall Seams

Cracks that appear along the drywall seams are a common issue in many homes. They often occur due to two primary reasons: the natural settling of the house over time or substandard tape application during the installation of the drywall.

The process of settling can cause a house to slightly shift, and this movement can result in the formation of cracks along the seams of the drywall. This is particularly prevalent in older homes or houses built on unstable soil. On the other hand, if the tape was not applied correctly when the drywall was initially installed, it could peel away from the wall over time. This peeling often leads to visible cracks along the seams of the drywall.

To repair these cracks, you need to follow a few steps. First, remove the old tape from the seam. This may require a utility knife or a scraper to carefully cut and lift the tape without causing further damage to the drywall.
Next, apply a new layer of mesh tape over the seam. Mesh tape is often preferred for its strength and flexibility. It’s also self-adhesive, which makes it easier to apply than traditional paper tape.

Once the new tape is in place, cover it with joint compound using a drywall knife. The joint compound acts as a filler and binds the tape to the drywall. It’s important to apply the compound evenly and smoothly to blend the seam into the surrounding wall.

After applying the joint compound, feather the edges. Feathering is a technique where the compound is spread thin at the edges to blend seamlessly with the rest of the wall. This is done using a wider drywall knife and requires a bit of finesse. Let the joint compound dry completely. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, depending on the thickness of the application and the humidity in the room.

Lastly, once the compound is dry, sand it smooth with a sanding block or a fine-grit sandpaper. This step will ensure that the repaired seam is as smooth and unnoticeable as possible.

How to Repair Stress Cracks in Drywall

Stress cracks are a common type of wall and ceiling crack that frequently appear above doors and windows. They are typically caused by the weight of the house bearing down on these areas, leading to what’s known as ‘stress points.’
The structure of a house is continually under a significant amount of pressure due to gravity. This pressure is especially intense around the frames of doors and windows. Over time, this pressure can lead to the formation of stress cracks—thin, jagged lines that often run diagonally across walls or ceilings.

Repairing stress cracks is similar to fixing other types of drywall cracks, but with an additional step to prevent future cracking.

Start by removing any loose material from the crack with a utility knife or scraper. Once the area is clean, apply a layer of mesh tape over the crack. The mesh tape is strong and flexible, providing support to the repaired area.

Next, cover the tape with joint compound using a drywall knife. The joint compound fills the crack and secures the tape to the wall. Apply the compound evenly and smoothly, feathering the edges to blend the repair into the surrounding wall.

Allow the compound to dry fully. The drying time can vary depending on the thickness of the compound and the humidity in the room. Once dry, sand the area smooth to ensure the repair is flat and even with the rest of the wall.

To prevent future stress cracks, consider installing a control joint. A control joint is a “planned” crack that allows for movement in the drywall. It is usually a thin strip of flexible material that is installed in the drywall to absorb any shifts or movements in the building’s structure. By giving the wall a designated place to flex, a control joint can help prevent stress cracks from forming above doors and windows.

How to Repair Hairline Cracks in Drywall

Hairline cracks are the thinnest type of cracks that can appear in your drywall. These small, shallow cracks often resemble the thin strands of hair, hence the name “hairline.” Despite their minimal size, they can still be a cosmetic nuisance and may even grow larger over time if left unaddressed.

To repair hairline cracks, you won’t usually need to use mesh tape as the cracks are too thin to hold the tape. Instead, you can fill them directly with joint compound, a material that’s designed to fill gaps and smooth surfaces in drywall.

Start by cleaning the area around the crack to remove any dust or loose particles. This will allow the joint compound to adhere better to the wall.

Next, apply the joint compound directly into the crack using a drywall knife. Be sure to press the compound into the crack to ensure it’s filled completely. You might need to apply more than one layer of compound if the crack is deep. However, remember to let each layer dry before applying the next one.

After applying the joint compound, feather out the edges. Feathering refers to the process of spreading the joint compound outward from the center of the crack in a way that gradually thins out. This technique helps to blend the repaired area with the rest of the wall, making the repair less noticeable.

Once the joint compound is applied and feathered, let it dry completely. The drying time can vary depending on factors such as the thickness of the compound and the humidity in the room.

When the joint compound is fully dry, sand the area smooth. Use a fine-grit sandpaper for this step to avoid scratching the surrounding drywall. Sanding will level out any bumps or ridges in the joint compound, ensuring a smooth, flat finish.

The final step is painting. Choose a paint that matches the rest of your wall. Apply the paint over the repaired area with a brush or roller, feathering out the edges to blend with the surrounding paint.

All in all, while hairline cracks may seem insignificant, addressing them promptly can help maintain the aesthetic appeal of your home and prevent further damage. With the right approach, you can easily repair these minor imperfections and keep your walls looking their best.

How to Repair Drywall Cracks in Corners

Corner cracks are a common issue in many homes, often appearing where two walls meet. These types of cracks occur due to the rigid nature of corner beads—the metal or plastic strips that are used to reinforce the corners of drywall. Over time, the fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels can cause the drywall and the corner bead to expand and contract at different rates, leading to the formation of cracks.

Here’s the lowdown on how to repair corner cracks:

Firstly, use a utility knife or scraper to remove any loose material from the crack. This includes old joint compound, paint, or wallpaper. This step is crucial as it ensures a clean, solid surface for the new materials to adhere to. Be careful not to damage the surrounding drywall while doing this.

Next, apply a setting-type joint compound into the crack. A setting-type joint compound is preferred for this type of repair because it is stronger and more resistant to cracking than regular joint compound. Use a drywall knife to press the compound into the crack and smooth it out.

After applying the joint compound, install a paper-faced corner bead. A paper-faced corner bead is essentially a corner bead that is pre-attached to a strip of paper. The paper acts as a built-in tape, which helps to secure the bead to the wall and prevent future cracking. Measure the length of the corner, cut the bead to fit, and press it into the wet joint compound.

Once the corner bead is in place, let the joint compound dry completely. Depending on the thickness of the application and the room’s humidity level, this could take several hours to a full day.

After the compound has dried, apply another layer over the corner bead. This layer of compound will help to blend the bead into the surrounding wall, creating a seamless look. Feather the edges of the compound to ensure a smooth transition between the repaired area and the rest of the wall.

Once this layer of compound is dry, sand the area smooth. Use a fine-grit sandpaper or a sanding block to avoid scratching the surrounding drywall. Sanding ensures that the repaired area is flat and even with the rest of the wall, which is crucial for a flawless paint job.

The final step is painting the repaired corner to match the rest of the wall. Apply a primer first to seal the joint compound and prevent the paint from soaking in. Once the primer is dry, apply the paint. You may need to apply multiple coats to achieve a perfect match with the surrounding wall.

How to Repair Drywall Tape Cracks

Cracks caused by peeling drywall tape are a common issue in many homes. Drywall tape is a building material used to cover the seams where two sheets of drywall meet, helping to create a smooth, seamless surface. However, over time, this tape can peel or bubble, causing unsightly cracks to form on your walls or ceilings.

To repair these types of cracks, you need to follow a step-by-step process that involves removing the loose tape, applying a new layer of mesh tape, covering it with joint compound, and then sanding it smooth. Here’s a more detailed explanation of each step:

  1. Remove the Loose Tape: Start by using a utility knife or scraper to gently remove the peeling or bubbled drywall tape from the wall. Be careful not to damage the underlying drywall while doing this. Once the loose tape is removed, lightly sand the area to ensure a clean, smooth surface for the new materials to adhere to.
  2. Apply Mesh Tape: Next, cut a piece of self-adhesive mesh tape to the length of the crack. Mesh tape is preferred over paper tape for this type of repair because it’s stronger and less likely to bubble or peel. Apply the mesh tape directly over the crack, pressing firmly to ensure it adheres well to the drywall.
  3. Cover with Joint Compound: Once the mesh tape is in place, apply a layer of joint compound over it. Use a drywall knife to spread the compound evenly over the tape, making sure to cover the entire width of the tape. The goal is to fill in any gaps and create a smooth, even surface that blends seamlessly with the rest of the wall.
  4. Let it Dry: After applying the joint compound, allow it to dry completely. This can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight, depending on the thickness of the application and the humidity in the room. Do not proceed to the next step until the compound is thoroughly dry.
  5. Sand Smooth: Once the joint compound is dry, use a fine-grit sandpaper to sand the repaired area smooth. This step removes any bumps or ridges in the compound and ensures that the repaired area is flat and even with the rest of the wall. Be sure to wipe away any dust created by sanding before proceeding to paint.

Following these steps will help you effectively repair cracks caused by peeling drywall tape. The end result should be a smooth, seamless surface that’s ready for painting or wallpapering. It’s a straightforward process that can be easily accomplished with some basic tools and a little patience.


In conclusion, repairing drywall cracks, regardless of their type or size, can be accomplished with patience and the right approach. With this guide, you can confidently tackle your drywall repair projects and keep your walls looking their best. If you find that you need professional help repairing drywall cracks and you’re in the Chicago suburbs area, give our team a call.

About the Author

Alvin Stevenson is an advanced drywall repair and installation expert with over 20 years of experience working in both residential homes and commercial buildings.

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