LESLIE: Deirdre in Maryland, welcome to The Money Pit.
DEIRDRE: Hi. I have a question. We have a house built in 1955.
DEIRDRE: And it has cracks in the walls and in the ceiling. But I was wondering could I use the drywall tape to fix the crack in the ceiling?
LESLIE: Well, where is it?
DEIRDRE: It’s a long, straight line, but it looks like something separating.
LESLIE: So it seems like almost like a – mm-hmm, like a seam between two pieces of drywall. It’s not like a water crack or some sort of interesting leak thing happening?
DEIRDRE: Yeah, it’s not a leak because there’s no markings.
TOM: Well, in 1955 the house may, in fact, be plaster lath which means you had what was sort of the precursor to drywall which were smaller pieces of drywall that were about two feet by four feet covered with plaster, which gives you a really hard surface but it does crack because there’s really no way for it to expand and contract.
TOM: And Deirdre, certainly you can use a drywall tape with that. We would recommend a perforated drywall tape. It kind of looks like netting. It’s a fiberglass material. It looks like netting. Comes on a roll. It’s easier to use because it sticks to the crack and then on top of that you’re going to put multiple layers of spackling compound to cover it and the tape will help sort of spread the – it’ll seal the spackle across the crack and not let it come through again. And the trick here is to start with a small spackle knife of about four inches and then you want to do the next one with a six-inch spackle knife and then maybe finish it with an eight-inch or more spackle knife.
TOM: And you can buy, in the home centers today, throw-away spackle knives that are made of plastic that are very inexpensive. So it’s not like you have to buy some expensive tools to do this. But that would be the way to build it up. Sand in between each coat, then prime it, then paint it and that ought to cover the cracks up.
DEIRDRE: Oh, OK. Great. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Deirdre. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.