How to Fix Cracks in a Wall From a House Settling

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All homes, including new ones, are susceptible to cracks in walls. Settling in homes typically results from temperature fluctuations, which cause building materials to expand and contract. Homes with shallow foundations and homes built over poor soil are prone to extreme settling and generally experience more wall cracks. Although settling is generally inevitable, cracked walls are repairable. Promptly fix hairline cracks in a drywall, plaster or concrete wall to restore its appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloths
  • Work gloves
  • Utility knife
  • Tack cloths
  • Joint compound
  • 6-inch wide drywall knife
  • Self-adhesive fiberglass joint tape
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Roller brush
  • Spackling compound
  • Putty knife
  • Goggles
  • Wire brush
  • Dry hydraulic cement powder
  • Mixing vessel
  • Stirring utensil
  • Trowel

Cracks in Drywall

  • Cover the floor below the affected drywall with drop cloths. Put on work gloves.

  • Widen the edges of the crack with a utility knife until the crack resembles a “V” shape. Wipe off any loose drywall fragments with a tack cloth.

  • Scoop a golf ball-sized portion of joint compound onto a 6-inch wide drywall knife. Smoothly spread the compound over the V-shaped crack, thoroughly filling the gouge. Spread the compound 2 inches beyond the crack onto the surrounding drywall.

  • Let the joint compound dry overnight.

  • Cover the patched drywall with self-adhesive fiberglass joint tape. Coat the joint tape with a 1/8-inch thick bed of compound, using the drywall knife. Spread the compound 4 inches beyond the crack onto the surrounding drywall.

  • Let the joint compound dry overnight.

  • Rub the cured joint compound with fine-grit sandpaper until the patched portion of the wall is completely smooth and level with the encompassing drywall. Wipe all sandpaper dust off the drywall with a clean tack cloth.

  • Paint the patched drywall the color of the surrounding drywall. Apply the paint to the patched area with a roller brush, following the paint manufacturer's instructions.

Cracks in Plaster

  • Cover the floor below the affected drywall with drop cloths. Put on work gloves.

  • Shave off the edges of the crack with a utility knife until the crack becomes 1/8-inch wide. Disregard this step if the crack is already at least 1/8-inch wide.

  • Wipe the plaster dust off the crack using a tack cloth.

  • Scoop spackling compound out of its container with a putty knife and pack the material into the crack, completely filling the crack. Spread a 1/8-inch thick layer of the spackling compound over the crack's surface, extending the compound 2 inches beyond both sides of the crack onto the surrounding wall.

  • Let the spackling compound dry for 24 hours.

  • Rub the cured spackling compound with fine-grit sandpaper until the patched portion of the wall is completely smooth and level with the encompassing plaster. Wipe all sandpaper dust off the plaster with a clean tack cloth.

  • Paint the patched plaster the color of the surrounding wall. Apply the paint to the patched area with a roller brush, following the paint manufacturer's instructions.

Cracks in Concrete

  • Cover the floor below the affected concrete with drop cloths. Put on goggles and work gloves.

  • Scrub the crack vigorously with a wire brush to eradicate loose debris. Thoroughly clean the cracked concrete.

  • Combine three parts of dry hydraulic cement powder to one part of fresh water in a mixing vessel. Using a stirring utensil, mix the cement mixture until it becomes smooth, like the consistency of peanut butter. Only prepare as much cement mixture as you can use in three minutes.

  • Scoop out the wet hydraulic cement with a trowel and pack the cement into the crack, completely filling the crack. Spread a 1/8-inch thick layer of the cement over the crack's surface, feathering the cement 2 inches beyond both sides of the crack onto the surrounding concrete wall.

  • Let the hydraulic cement cure for 24 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Repaint the entire wall to completely disguise the patched crack.
  • Cracks wider than 1/4-inch may signify serious issues with your home; have a professional contractor inspect these cracks.

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References

  • Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
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