How to Fix Cracked Drywall
LESLIE: Keith in New Hampshire has some drywall that’s cracking up. Tell us about it.
KEITH: Yes, well right at the seams …
KEITH: … at the corners of the walls, the drywall is cracking and, in some places, there are actually pieces of the drywall that are falling off and exposing the underneath. So really, what I’m looking for is some sort of product or simple method to take care of that problem.
LESLIE: Now when you say you can see the drywall underneath, is it just in that corner or are you seeing chunks of the surface falling off mid-wall as well?
KEITH: Oh, no. It’s just right at the corners. It’s right along the seam.
LESLIE: Where the two walls meet or where a wall and a window meet.
KEITH: Right, but mostly at the corners of the wall where the two walls meet.
LESLIE: Well, generally, what’s happening there is you’re getting normal movement in the house and things are just moving as they should normally in your home. So what’s happening is the spackle or the joint compound that’s on top of the tape is drying out and the tape is cracking and that’s why you’re seeing this sort of opening at the space where the two pieces of drywall are meeting. And there’s a really simple solution.
If you do have some sort of bumps there where you get like ridges, I would try to sand that down just a smidgeon just to make it so that it’s not jutting up so much and then I would get fiberglass drywall tape, which is that meshy kind that’s kind of sticky …
KEITH: Oh, sure.
LESLIE: … and go over the corner; you know, surround the corner, split the tape in half and run the center right down the corner and then meet on both sides. And then you want to cover that with spackle and what you want to do is start out thin, cover the tape. Be thick on your application but stay the same width of the tape.
LESLIE: Cover that up, let it dry, sand it down. Then you want to add more and you want to go wider and wider and wider. It’s going to be a little bit more difficult because you’re dealing with a corner but you want to go wider and wider and wider, sanding in between each coat so that you get a smooth transition and you don’t see that lump from the fiberglass tape.
KEITH: Sure, sure. And will that give you a nice, sharp edge as well?
LESLIE: It can. It can give you a nice, clean corner, depending on how well you are at applying spackle, but that’ll do a really good job of covering that up. And because you’re going with that mesh tape, it’ll allow for movement within that wall itself and not crack out of that corner.