How to Fix Settling Cracks in the Ceiling


As a home ages, the soil under its foundation settles and the building's structural supports shift. Settlement cracks often form on the ceilings in different areas throughout the house. Ceiling texture usually hides hairline cracks. Once the ceiling cracks start to expand, the body of the crack starts to show through the texture. The texture continues to hide the ends of the expanded crack, only to show up later if not repaired. Fixing the settling cracks returns the ceiling to its original appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Paintable caulk
  • Aerosol drywall texture
  • Aerosol primer paint
  • Electric paint sprayer
  • Ceiling paint
  • Cover the floor below the ceiling's settling crack with a drop cloth.

  • Score a small square in the ceiling texture's surface near the settling crack with a utility knife. Do not cut into the ceiling's drywall.

  • Slip a corner of a putty knife's blade between the scored texture square and the ceiling's drywall. Pry the little square off the ceiling. Save the texture square and match its color with the ceiling patch's paint color.

  • Hold the putty knife's blade at a 45-degree angle to the ceiling and scrape the texture off the ceiling along the length of the crack. Remove about 2 inches of texture on both sides of the crack. Look closely at the end of the crack. If the end of the crack has a hairline fracture, remove the texture around the hairline fracture.

  • Cover a 24-inch-long section of the settling crack with paintable caulk. Press the caulk into the crack's void with a finger. Clean the waste caulk from the ceiling's surface with a damp sponge. Repeat this along the entire length of the settling crack, including the hairline sections.

  • Shake a can of aerosol drywall texture vigorously for two minutes.

  • Hold the can about 12 inches away from the ceiling and spray a small amount of texture onto the settling crack's patch area. If the spray-on texture does not match the existing texture on the ceiling, adjust the can nozzle's knob and test the texture pattern again. Repeat this until the patch's texture pattern matches the ceiling's existing texture pattern.

  • Clean the texture's test patterns from the settling crack's patch area with the damp sponge. Do not soak the drywall with the sponge.

  • Apply the spray-on ceiling texture to the settling crack's patch area, blending the patch's texture into the existing ceiling texture. Let the crack's texture dry completely before continuing.

  • Spray aerosol primer paint onto the settling crack's patch area. Primer paint seals the texture's pours.

  • Fill an electric paint sprayer with the correct color ceiling paint.

  • Paint the settling crack's patch area, using the electric paint sprayer to feather the ceiling paint from the patch area onto the remaining ceiling. If the ceiling's old paint is extremely dirty or stained, paint the entire ceiling.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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