The Family Handyman
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Fixing Wall Cracks
Ken Collier, editor at the Family Handyman Magazine, shows you how to deal with one of the most common problems with walls: A crack that appears over a door or a window due to the gradual settling of the house over time.
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Ken Collier: Hello! My name is Ken Collier and I am an Editor at the Family Handyman Magazine, the leading brand for do-it-yourselfers. Before you paint, it's important to get your walls as smooth as you can. In this video, I am going to show you how to deal with one of the most common problems with walls, a crack that appears over a door or a window due to the gradual settling of the house over time.
The first thing I am going to do is I am going to mask off the woodwork above the door. Then I am going to use a screwdriver, a utility knife, even an old fashioned church key to open up the crack. The idea is to get down to sound drywall on both sides of the crack.
Our next step is to clean out the crack and remove the dust from the area. I am going to use a damp cloth, but you could use a brush or a vacuum cleaner. When the area is clean, we are going to apply a self adhesive fiber glass mesh tape. This will reinforce the joint and help prevent future cracks. With our tape in place, we are going to apply a thin coat of drywall joint compound, filling the crack and the cavities in the tape. I am feathering it out on both sides by applying pressure to the outside corner of the knife.
Well, it feels like our first coat is dry and we are ready to apply a second coat. First, I will scrape off any bumps or ridges that are left behind. Now I will apply a second coat of joint compound. Well, our second coat feels pretty dry and now it's time to apply our third and final coat.
On the last coat, you want to be sure to feather it out away from the joint, so your patch is undetectable underneath your final coat of paint. Our third coat is nice and dry now. So I am going to scrape it, sand it and prime it. Take off the ridges and bumps first. Now you can sand with a simple wooden block faced with 100 or 120 grit sandpaper or use a special drywall sanding mesh with attached handle. You will be more comfortable if you are doing lots of repairs.
Now a tip, I am going to take my sanding screen off the holder and fold it so that I can get into the crack at the ceiling and at the door frame. There we go, our patch is sanded. I am going to dust that off and it is ready to prime.
Using a primer is one of the key steps in any wall repair and the reason is, if you paint right over the fresh little patch, the paint is likely to have a slightly different gloss where the patch is which can be very noticeable in bright sunlight. This is a problem called flashing. To avoid it, you should prime thoroughly any patches that you make in the wall.
There, our primer is on and when the primer is dry we are ready to apply our wall paint for a successful repair of a crack in drywall.