Drywall Crack Repair

Drywall at some time or another cracks or gets damaged, most of the time the basics are the same whether it be a crack or a hole in the wall. Drywall crack repair involves just the most simple of materials and tools.

If the repair is just a crack, it may be because the wall or ceiling has a little movement which is more common on raised foundation floors, especially in older homes. If this is the situation you may need to shore up underneath.  Drywall does not usually crack if the foundation and framing are sound, but may separate at a joint because of  a poor tape joint.

Older buildings and homes up into the 40’s may very well be plaster and not drywall. You can determine whether it is plaster or drywall by taking a hard object like a screwdriver and pushing it into the wall in a inconspicuous location, drywall will be a bit soft and will easily leave a dent, where as plaster will be very hard to indent. The good thing about plaster is, it can be fixed pretty much the same way as drywall. I will address plaster on another page.

Basic supplies and tools are, all-purpose joint compound, drywall paper tape, 6, 8, and 10 inch drywall finishing knives (trowels), and mud pan. If you don’t want to buy all 3, omit the 8 inch one. You can fix most small problems with just these.

The object is to embed the tape into the mud, (joint compound), by taking the 6 inch knife and skimming a thin coat of mud over the joint or crack, then lay a length of drywall tape over the area and position it so it covers the whole crack. Next, take the same knife and scrape over the top of the tape forcing it onto the surface and remove as much mud as possible from underneath the tape and let dry.

Just apply enough pressure to remove the mud but not enough to tear the tape. All purpose mud has a small amount glue in it to cause it to bond to the surface and the excess mud gets returned to the pan or bucket and is usable again.

The second coat is applied using the next larger trowel in which you want to be sure and cover the tape completely but with the least amount of mud, and your patch is going to be feathering out wider each time to get the finished result as “flat” as possible.  Try to use a broad smoothing action and be sure to feather all edges, avoid puttying or dabbing at it.

Adding water to the mud to make it “lose-er” is the key to smoothing and feathering. When dry, repeat with third coat and sand smooth being careful not to expose the tape. Sanding lightly between coats will help the mud to not get too thick.

If you have texture as it is very common, this will be the tricky part. The small spray cans with the 3 different size straws is the simplest to use, you just have to test it on another surface before applying it to your repair.

Thankfully, most drywall repairs are behind doors or low on walls, and most of the time with other items or furniture in the room, it really isn’t noticed as much if you got anywhere close to matching, don’t expect it to be perfect. If the repair is in a more obvious main room area, you may be better off having an experienced person do it.

Just a couple of tips in conclusion. Most mud out of the container is too stiff, add water and mix thoroughly. If the humidity is real low, wet the tape first and let drip a few minutes so it goes on damp. (I actually do this all the time, less chance of bubbles in the tape and it adheres better). I didn’t mention it earlier, but you can and should use “topping” (another type of mud) for for the coats after the first coat, although do not tape with it as it has no glue in it, but it is finer and easier to feather and sand. Prime with PVA primer and you are ready to paint.

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