When you have a drywall ceiling, it is not uncommon for small hairline cracks to start forming in the area. This is particularly common in newer construction homes that are still settling and in homes that may have foundation issues. Hairline cracks can happen virtually anywhere, but they are most common where the two pieces of drywall meet in the ceiling. Hairline cracks not only look unsightly, but they can eventually lead to larger, more noticeable cracks in the ceiling as well.
Hairline cracks are typically ultra-thin, literally as wide as a piece of hair. However, this process can be used even with larger cracks, as long as they are thinner than a dime and aren’t longer than a few feet long. While it may seem like a big endeavor and like a bit of a headache, there are ways that you can fix hairline cracks in your drywall ceiling without too much effort.
Fixing a hairline crack in the ceiling isn’t much different than fixing a hairline crack the wall. Here are a few ways to make these types of home repairs.
How to Fix Hairline Drywall Cracks with Latex Caulk
Latex caulk is one of the most common substances used to repair hairline cracks. This is because using something that is liquid allow you to penetrate the crack and fill it completely, yet it still dries to a finish that you can paint over. It also doesn’t require excess sanding or spackling either, which can be more difficult when working on a ceiling.
You will need 100% latex caulk for this type of repair, it is available at most home stores and is actually one of the most affordable types of caulk out there. All you need is the caulk, a caulk gun and a small rubber spatula. Here’s how to apply for these types of cracks:
- Apply a bead of caulk to the crack and use a crosshatch pattern to work the latex substances into the crack. Do not apply the caulk along the crack or straight against it. Otherwise you won’t force the caulk back into the crack, you will actually pull it out of the area you want to fill.
- Allow the caulk to rest for about 5 minutes.
- Take a damp paper towel and remove excess caulk from the crack. Do not apply too much water as otherwise it can prevent the caulk from settling. Only remove caulk from outside of the crack if possible, don’t actually go over the crack itself.
- If your ceiling has a texture to it such as a popcorn texture, make sure you are careful to remove as much extra caulk as possible so that the texture of the ceiling can remain.
- Wait 24 hours and allow the caulk to cure. Then paint it to match the ceiling.
How to Fix Cracks in Drywall Ceiling That Keep Returning
Sometimes, drywall cracks can be very stubborn and they can keep returning, no matter how many times you try to repair them. When this happens, you can take a slightly different approach in order to repair stubborn cracks and prevent them from coming back for good.
Here’s how to do it.
First, you will need the following supplies:
- Fiberglass mesh drywall tape
- Lightweight spackling product with primer
- Putty knife
- 6 inch drywall knife
- Joint compound pan
- Paint that matches your current ceiling
- Safety goggles
Once you have the supplies ready, here’s how you can finally fix those stubborn cracks.
- Apply a piece of fiberglass mesh tape on top of the drywall crack. Center the tape so it covers the crack completely.
- Add a thin coat of your spackle with primer. It is important to choose a lightweight spackle with primer already in it as it saves time with the process and money. The layer should be so thin, you can still see the tape through the spackle. Apply with a 6 inch drywall knife for a thin coat and spackle in a downward motion from the center.
- Allow this coat of spackle to dry for 30 minutes or as long as the instructions on the container state. When you use a product with primer in it, it can typically dry in just 30 minutes.
- Apply a second coat of the spackle. Keep the layers light and the coat as smooth as possible. Apply more pressure to the outer edge of the spackle knife during this process so you can feather the primer into the existing drywall.
- Once the spackle is dried, put on your safety goggles and start lightly sanding in a circular motion. The goggles with prevent dust from hitting you in the eyes.
- Wipe off any excess dust with a damp paper towel and let dry. Paint over the ceiling.
This is a slightly more detailed way of fixing drywall cracks, but it is one that can prevent stubborn cracks from returning time and time again.