How to Repair and Paint Cracks on Interior Walls

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Wall cracks are inevitable, especially in older, settling homes. Particularly around windows, where wooden interior frames dry out and pull away from the walls, cracks can be a bothersome eyesore. However, they are relatively quick and simple to repair. If you're working with sheetrock, the only somewhat tricky part can be matching the paint so whenever you repaint a room be sure and save the paint remnants and label them with the color and room.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags
  • Paint Scraper
  • Spackle or Plaster of Paris
  • Fine Grade Sandpaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Primer and paint
  • Vacuum
  • Wood Block or Brick

Cracked Walls

  • Determine your wall type. Most homes today have walls of sheetrock, a composite material attached to the frame studs in sheets. Older homes, however, may have plaster walls. These are still repairable, but they require different patch work.

  • Clean the area around the crack. Then, using a paint scraper or putty knife fill in the crack with spackle for sheetrock. Use Plaster of Paris for plaster walls.

  • Allow to dry.

  • Hand sand with fine grit sandpaper. Spackle is quick drying, easy to work with and easy to sand. Working with plaster takes more time and finesse.

  • Use another spackle or sand coat to bring the full area in line with the wall. Use the touch of your hand to feel the smoothness of the patch against the wall. Ideally, a well-sanded patch will be almost unnoticeable against the existing wall.

  • Clean and vacuum the area. Dust will mar your paint job.

  • Paint with primer and allow to dry.

  • Paint with finish coat.

Tips & Warnings

  • While it's necessary to hand sand, sometimes it is difficult to get enough leverage to bring about a smooth finish. Wrapping the sandpaper around a block of wood or a brick gives added power to your sanding without damaging the wall. Do not use an electric sander.
  • Walls with plaster cover lathe boards that can pull away from studs. If the crack is in a bulging wall, you may need to do more than repair a crack. You may need to reattach the lathe or consider pulling down the old lathe and plaster and opting for an entirely new sheetrock wall.

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