Stress cracks are narrow cracks in drywall that form due to a shift in the home's foundation or vibration that causes the drywall sheets to loosen. In two-story homes, rigorous activity on the second floor may lead to a loosening of the drywall on the ceiling below. When the drywall separates even slightly from the ceiling studs, cracks will appear where the drywall sheets meet. Repairing drywall ceiling cracks takes some patience and time, but does not require hiring a professional.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Plastic sheeting, tarp or dust sheet
- Utility knife
- 1 1/4 inch ring shank nails or 1 1/4 inch screws
- Drywall tape
- Joint compound
- Putty knife
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- Microfiber cloth
Place plastic sheeting, a tarp or dust sheet beneath the area of the ceiling that needs repair.
Remove loose drywall and drywall tape from the cracked area with a utility knife.
Push up on the drywall on both sides of the crack to determine which drywall sheet is loose or if both are loose.
Nail the loose drywall sheet back to the ceiling studs. Use 1 1/4 inch ring shank nails for a more secure hold or use 1 1/4 inch screws.
Apply drywall tape down the length of the crack.
Apply a thin layer of joint compound over the top of the crack and the drywall tape with a putty knife. Allow the layer to dry completely, and then reapply another thin layer. Repeat this process one more time after the second layer dries.
Sand the repaired area by hand with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out the finish and remove any noticeable lines between the repaired area and the ceiling surrounding it.
Wipe away the sanding dust with a microfiber cloth.
Touch up the repaired area with the same colour paint originally used on the ceiling.
Tips and warnings
- Wear safety glasses when working overhead, especially with drywall, to prevent getting dust in your eyes.
- Have an assistant hold the ladder while you make the necessary repairs.
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