Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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How to Repair Cracks in a Drywall Ceiling


The ceiling in my living room has a crack where two of the pieces of drywall meet. How should I go about repairing it? -Louise

Hi Louise,

Cracks in a drywall ceiling are caused by wood movement in the framing due to shrinkage of improperly dried lumber or seasonal changes in temperature and humidity.

The common approach is to fill the crack with spackling then paint over it, but this is at best a temporary fix, since the crack will usually come back as the seasons change.

A better solution is to apply drywall compound and tape over the crack to keep it from telegraphing through. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Start by roughing up the painted surface with sandpaper, then wipe it down with a damp rag to remove any dust.
  • If the drywall isn’t firmly attached, drive drywall screws into the framing on both sides of the crack.
  • Next, apply a thin coat of drywall joint compound to the crack, using a 4”- 5” wide drywall knife, and embed a strip of paper drywall tape in the wet compound to bridge the crack.
  • When dry, apply several additional coats of joint compound with a 10”- 12” wide drywall knife, feathering them out over a 12”-18” wide area.
  • Lightly sand or sponge the dried drywall compound smooth and clean the surface with a damp rag.
  • Finally, prime the area with a drywall primer, and repaint the ceiling.

Good luck with your project,


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One Comment on “How to Repair Cracks in a Drywall Ceiling”

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  1. jodi Says:
    September 7th, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I have a question. I have several areas in my living room and kitchen that need repair. I have sheetrock ceilings and they first got long cracks in them and now the sheetrock is actually starting to fall. Where the sheetrock crack is the sheetrock has dropped down about a inch from the ceiling. What do I do to fix this problem. I am afraid its going to keep dropping and pull the whole ceiling down.

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