One commonly occurring problem for many property owners is drywall cracks. These cracks can be an eyesore and cause problems when you decide to repaint.
Whether you’re doing the painting yourself or you’ve hired a professional painting company to paint your home or property, it’s important to patch drywall cracks before you start for a more polished look.
If you’re curious how to repair these cracks before painting, you’ve come to the right place. Follow these simple steps to patch your drywall cracks. When you’re done, you’ll forget they were ever there.
Before you start your repairs, you’ll want to examine the size of the crack then pick up a few supplies.
Supplies You’ll Need:
- X-Acto knife, screwdriver or blade
- Spackling (for smaller cracks) or drywall joint compound (for larger cracks)
- Putty knife
- Mesh drywall tape or paper tape (for larger cracks)
- Sandpaper or sanding block
- Tack cloth
How to Fix It:
If the crack you’re trying to fix is located near a window or door, apply masking tape to the top of the frame to protect it.
Assess the size of the crack. If the crack is small, you should use a sharp, skinny object such as an X-Acto knife or screwdriver to open up the crack until you’re down to the drywall. This is important because it allows space for you to fill the crack completely. If the crack is large enough that you can see the exposed drywall, then proceed to the next step.
Next, remove excess paint, dirt, drywall, and dust from the inside and edges of the crack. You can use a vacuum cleaner extension or a cloth for this.
Depending on the size of the crack, you can choose between spackling and drywall joint compound to patch the hole. Spackling is best-used for small cracks or holes in drywall. It has a paste-like consistency and comes ready-to-use. Drywall joint compound, on the other hand, is best used for larger cracks because of its durability and plaster-like consistency.
Once you’ve chosen your filler, use a putty knife to apply it to the crack. Take care to fill in the crack completely.
For small cracks:
One coat of spackling or drywall joint compound should do the trick. Make sure you apply it evenly so that the patch won’t show under a fresh coat of paint.
For large cracks:
To reinforce the repair, you can use fiberglass mesh drywall tape or paper tape. Paper tape is the stronger option, but mesh tape is easier to apply. If you plan to use paper tape, apply ⅛ of an inch of the filler, wait for it to dry, then apply the tape. If you plan to use fiberglass mesh tape, apply the tape first, then use the filler to fill in the crack through the mesh. Apply several coats of drywall joint compound. Make sure that you apply it evenly, and feather the compound at the edges by applying pressure to the edge of the putty knife. Even application is important because it ensures that your patch will be nearly undetectable under a fresh coat of paint.
Let the spackling or joint compound dry completely. This could take several hours.
Then, scrape the area with your putty knife to take off all the ridges and bumps. Once you’ve made sure the area is bump-free, use a sanding block or sandpaper to smooth the spackling or joint compound. Finally, use a tack cloth to wipe away the remaining debris.
Now you’re ready to paint! Make sure to use a primer first in order to completely cover the repair. If you don’t prime the patch thoroughly, the paint will have a slightly different gloss than the rest of the wall. This is called flashing and it’s easily noticeable in bright light. Wait for the primer to dry, then go ahead and apply your paint.
How did the Cracks Get There?
Drywall cracks are fairly common and mostly unavoidable. They generally occur at the seam where two pieces of drywall meet, or near doors or windows, as a result of stress. The best way to stop these cracks from forming is good drywall installation, but oftentimes even that won’t prevent them.
There are two common reasons that these cracks appear:
The first is foundation settling. This refers to the natural changes that take place in the foundation of your home over time due to several environmental factors. The resulting cracks are small and do not grow over time. These cracks are nothing to be concerned about, and they don’t indicate any serious foundation issues.
The second reason is a problem with your foundation, whether it has shrunk or expanded. These structural issues produce large cracks with a 3/16 of an inch or wider gap. Cracks caused by foundation issues are commonly jagged and occur horizontally or at a 45 degree angle. If you see cracks like this in your home, you should call an experienced professional to examine your foundation for structural issues.
You might also like: Causes of Foundation Problems
Now that you know how to repair cracks in walls before painting, your walls should look as good as new. If you think your drywall cracks may indicate a serious foundation problem, our experienced professionals at Granite Foundation Repair can help. Call us today to find out more about our free foundation inspection.
The following article was provided by Pro Painters Company, a commercial painting contractor. They also offer a wide array of solutions including residential painting, exterior painting, interior painting and more.