Eventually even the best-built houses develop a few cracks due to settling, usually around doors and windows. Learn how to fix them the right way, so they don’t come back.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine:December / January 2003
Cut a V-notch through the full length of the crack, 1/8 to 1/4 in. deep, removing all loose wall material. Protect woodwork with masking tape.
Embed paper tape in joint compound using a 6-in. taping blade. To avoid trapping air bubbles under the tape, moisten the paper tape with water, lay it over the crack
and squeeze excess compound and air from underneath
with the blade. Apply an additional thin layer of compound
and feather it off 2 in. on both sides of the tape. Let dry.
Apply a second (and third, if necessary)
coat of compound, smoothing it out 6 to 7 in.
on both sides of the joint. Smooth the compound
to a thin, even coat using long, continuous
strokes with a 12-in. taping blade. Allow the repair
to dry thoroughly, sand it smooth (avoid exposing
the tape) and paint it.
As homes settle, cracks may radiate
from the corners of doors
and windows. Whether your walls are
made of plaster or drywall, you can
repair the cracks in two steps over a
day or two—and get the area ready to
sand and paint. Use paper tape; it's
stronger than fiberglass tape for wall
repairs. For cracks more than 1/4 in.
deep, clean out the loose material and
use a quick-setting crack filler like
Durabond to build up the area level
with the wall. Then use the steps
shown in Photos 2 and 3 to fix it.
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.
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