How to repair and paint cracks on interior walls

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How to repair and paint cracks on interior walls
Severe cracks may need to be investigated further. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Cracks in plasterwork can appear for a number of reasons, the age of the plaster or the natural swelling and shrinking of the building; or something more serious like subsidence. If cracks keep reappearing or have widened noticeably it may be worth getting them looked at by a professional builder. If the cracks are just due to old age or natural causes they can be filled and painted very quickly. There are two ways of filling cracks; the method you use will depend on how bad they are.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Decorators knife
  • Filling knife
  • Screw driver
  • Self adhesive plasterboard tape (scrim)
  • Filler or Hairline crack filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint brush
  • Paint

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Instructions

    Hairline cracks

  1. 1

    Scrape off any loose or flaking paint along the crack. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for filling the crack; this will either be application by brush or filling knife.

  2. 2

    Leave the filler to dry out. The drying time will be stated on the packaging.

  3. 3

    Paint over the filled crack. Try to blend the paint out around the surrounding area, this shouldn’t be a problem if the paint work isn’t too old; if the patch is very visible when the paint has dried you may want to consider painting the whole wall.

    Larger cracks

  1. 1

    Widen crack with the edge of a screwdriver. This will also remove any larger lumps of loose plaster. Scrape off any flaking paint along the line of the crack with a decorators knife.

  2. 2

    Brush off any dust. Stick a strip of self adhesive scrim along the crack.

  3. 3

    Mix the filler. If you have powdered filler you will need to mix it following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have premixed filler it will still be a good idea to give it a stir.

  4. 4

    Fill the crack by pushing the filler firmly through the scrim with the filling knife. Make sure the scrim is completely covered and feather the edges outward; this will help to blend the repair into the existing wall, try to make the finish as smooth as possible. Allow to dry as per manufacturer’s instructions.

  5. 5

    Sand the area with a fine grade sand paper starting at the edges. Do not rub too hard as this will expose the scrim. Wipe off the dust.

  6. 6

    Paint over the filled crack. Try to blend the paint out around the surrounding area, this shouldn’t be a problem if the paint work isn’t too old; however if the patch is very visible when the paint has dried you may want to consider painting the whole wall.

Tips and warnings

  • When decorating a room it is always a good idea to keep any leftover paint as it will blend better when repairs are needed.
  • Do not try to sand the filler until it is completely dry.

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