How to fix ceiling cracks

This article was co-authored by Andrew Peters. Andrew Peters is an Architecture and Construction Specialist and a Principal at Peters Design-Build, a full service architecture and construction firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. With over 20 years of experience, Andrew specializes in sustainable and holistic design and building practices. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Architecture and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-Accredited Professional. He served as Project Manager for the international-award-winning “Refract House,” Team California’s entry in the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, a project featured in over 600 online and print articles.

There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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If a drywall ceiling in your home has developed a crack, you can fix it relatively easily. Begin by laying down plastic and scraping away any loose paper or debris from the drywall, and then apply a single piece of mesh drywall tape over the crack. Cover the tape with 2 layers of 5-minute mud, sanding after each layer, and then paint the patched crack. This project should take about 30 minutes (not including 1 hour of drying time).

It is very important to understand that a crack in drywall, specifically in the ceiling, could indicate structural damage. Be sure to check the framing of the room and fix any problems before fixing cracks in your ceiling.



Шаг 1 Superficial Drywall Ceiling Crack Repair

Use a utility knife or five-in-one to remove loose paint or drywall from inside the crack.

Don’t gouge the ceiling but firmly scrape parallel to the crack. Scraping perpendicularly to the crack will only cause more damage.

Шаг 2

Use mesh tape to tape over the crack.

Try to use long pieces of tape, if possible taping the entire crack with one piece.

It is also important to keep each piece of tape centered on the crack.

Шаг 3

Use either a five-in-one or a putty knife to spread the compound.

Spread drywall joint compound over the tape so that it appears flat.

Use more joint compound than you need rather than less. You will sand off excess later.

Make sure to cover the tape completely.

Шаг 4

After the compound has completely dried sand down any ridges that resulted from the putty knife.

This step will be messy! Everything in the room will get some dust on it, so either use dropcloths or be ready to clean when you’re done.

Also, be careful not to get dust in your eyes, or inhale dust. You may wish to wear goggles and a dust mask.

Don’t sand into the tape.

You still want the compound to cover the tape and its contours completely.

Шаг 5

Prime and paint the ceiling.

Use a primer and paint that has been matched to your ceiling by a paint shop.

The primer can be any color that is the same or lighter than your ceiling color.

It is important to note that a crack in drywall may indicate a more critical problem with the framing in your walls or ceiling. Please do not assume that this repair will prevent further cracking.

It is important to note that a crack in drywall may indicate a more critical problem with the framing in your walls or ceiling. Please do not assume that this repair will prevent further cracking.

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Austin Hochstetler

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Cal Poly, Team 30-1, Green Spring 2015 Участник Cal Poly, Team 30-1, Green Spring 2015

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Is it ok to remove the excess compound and smooth with a damp sponge?

I just rocked my third ceiling. The first looked like "before" in some spots; the next 2 are flawless. The secret is to put on very thin layers, and lots of them. Of course this takes a long time to dry each coat. But if you put the mud on thick it will shrink and crack later, plus you have a lot to scrape off and then you still have to fill in low spots.

If you use a sponge first, you can end up with a lumpy mess. Level it with a 12 inch knife until it’s nearly flat, then on the last coat skim it over and smooth with the sponge.

My popcorn ceiling has peeled. I took away those rough edges. Can I spray on the popcorn ceiling. It’s just small sections.

If I was to buy compound from Home Depot or lowe’s, what would I be looking for? Is there a brand that is recommended?

Ceiling cracks plague many homes in Plano, Texas, and the surrounding Dallas area. At best, they look unsightly. But at worst, they could flag an issue with your home’s foundation. So what’s really causing those cracks in your ceiling? And perhaps most importantly, what should you do about them?

Types of Ceiling Cracks

It’s important to educate yourself about the different types of cracks and their causes to avoid costly repairs down the road.

Knowing the difference between the types of ceiling cracks can save your home. First, it’s important to realize that all homes will move over time. This movement results from several factors, which we discuss later in this blog. However, cracks usually occur as the byproduct of one of two things: natural aging or structural damage. Here are some of the most common cracks and what they can reveal.

“Spider Web” Cracks

These cracks have a center point and then spread out in different directions. The good news: these cracks are a regular part of settling and can occur in ceilings, walls, even floors. However, when it comes to spider web cracks, size matters. If the cracks are small, there isn’t much to get anxious about. On the other hand, if they are more than 1/16 inch wide, there could be a more significant structural problem.

Matching Vertical Cracks

Those cracks which run across the length of a ceiling and then continue down a wall along the same line point to structural damage, likely connected to a weak wall stud or something that was knocked loose in the settling of the home over time. Once again, size is relevant here.

Cracks along the Edges

Cracks along the edges of walls are usually the result of normal settling. You don’t have to be hyper-vigilant about these, but as a precaution, it’s a smart idea to mark where they start and finish so that you can monitor any growth. It’s those cracks that run across the entire length of the ceiling that can signal trouble. In these extreme cases, one or more foundation adjustment services may be necessary to avoid further damage and dangerous instability.

Causes of Ceiling Cracks

What causes cracks in ceilings? Now that you’re informed about the primary kinds of ceiling cracks, let’s take a look at some of the causes and how they impact your ceilings.


One of the most common reasons is massive moisture damage from above the ceiling. Depending on which floor of your home you’re talking about, this could mean moisture has seeped into the floor above the ceiling. If it’s the upper level of your home, this may point to damage to the roof. Other sources may include plumbing leaks from the floor above. Significant changes in temperature can lead to cracks. As the air warms, building materials in your home will expand because they are exposed to excess moisture. Conversely, as the temperature drops, they will contract. Switching between hot and cold can put stress on the ceiling materials and joints, and lead to cracking.

Too Much Weight

A cracked ceiling either has another floor or attic space directly above it. So it’s entirely possible that the area above the ceiling is carrying too much weight. Prime examples are upper-level bathrooms; they need specific ceiling supports to bear the heavy weight of fixtures. Shortcuts taken during construction could lead to sagging or cracking.

Inferior Foundation

What do cracks in the ceiling mean for the future of your home’s foundation? A substandard foundation can cause a variety of structural problems, including damage to the ceiling. Remember this: the integrity of the foundation affects every component of your house. The minutest movement or settling in the foundation can alter load-bearing beams and cause small or large cracks.

Contact Align Foundation Today

Cracks in the ceiling aren’t just ugly to look at. They might also mean your home’s foundation is at risk. When in doubt, contact the foundation repair experts at Align Foundation Repair. We know when a crack is a minor aesthetic problem and when it could be something more serious! If you would like a free professional evaluation and estimate of your foundation in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, contact us today and ensure a solid foundation for the future of your home.

Your house is a huge investment. That is why any small crack in the ceiling or sign of peeling paint or any tile coming off the floor can be a source of concern. After all you have spent your life’s savings and hard-earned money in constructing your dream home. You don’t want to see your house showing up any defects. Even if you have done your best in choosing quality construction materials, you might see some visible cracks in the wall or ceiling, a few years down the line. However, not all cracks in the ceiling should worry you. In this blog, we will discuss the types of ceiling cracks and how to fix cracks in the ceiling.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Let us first quickly understand the types of cracks in the ceiling and what causes these cracks before we explore the remedy part.

Types of Ceiling Cracks

How to fix ceiling cracks

There are different types of ceiling cracks

All man-made concrete structures are susceptible to cracks as they age. Just like wrinkles on the skin show old age, similarly cracks show that the property is an old one. However, at times there are other factors at play. Let us take a look at the ways you can determine if the crack in your ceiling is something to worry about.

Structural Cracks

These cracks reflect structural problems with the building. Is your roof sagging from the centre? Do you feel that your ceiling would just fall if there is heavy rainfall? Is there a big crack running through the centre of your ceiling continuing down the wall of the house? If the answer to all of the questions posed above is a yes, then the ceiling of your house is facing a structural crack and should be repaired immediately to avoid any mishap or accident.

Another thing that helps differentiate between a structural and an aesthetic crack is if the crack in the wall is 1/16 th inch wide then this means that it is a structural crack. If the cracks appear towards the edges of the ceiling then it is not of much concern as it is not a structural crack. For structural cracks, you need to call an expert who can take a good look at the crack and fix it accordingly. If you still want to repair a structural crack in the ceiling on your own, then you should inject your cracks with an epoxy and urethane material to seal them.

Aesthetic Cracks

These cracks are superficial in nature and don’t run down the structure of the building. It usually appears on the sides of the ceiling and is not 1/16 inch deep. This is a general guideline in order to identify the types of ceiling cracks.

Factors that Contribute to Cracks in the Ceiling

Some of the common factors that result in ceiling cracks are mentioned below:

  • High moisture
  • Temperature fluctuations in day and night
  • Heavy rainfall or storm
  • Movement of the house because of wind
  • Age of the house
  • Load on the house

Let us now take a closer look at how to fix these cracks in the ceiling.

How to Fix Cracks in the Ceiling

To repair ceiling cracks, you must know the kind of cracks in the ceiling and the possible ways to fix them. Let us take a look:

Discoloured crack

If the crack in the ceiling is discoloured, it shows a possible leak in the roof. The leak can occur from an overhead water tank that can trickle between the panels of ceiling’s drywalls. This causes the joint tape to loosen a bit, creating the crack, leaving brown stains on the ceiling. When you decide to repair the ceiling, make sure you have also repaired the overhead tank to avoid the same problem occurring again.

Remedy: Remove the loose tape and re-tape the joint with a paper tape. If your ceiling is a textured one, then buy the relevant aerosol spray for the textured product to cover up cracks in the ceiling so that it blends with the ceiling’s paint.

You might have to replace the drywall if the leak in the ceiling is an old one. If the drywall is swollen or softened, then the damaged section of the drywall must be replaced before you start re-taping the joint.

Spider web cracks

If spider web cracks appear on the ceiling, it shows that the drywall compound applied on the ceiling was too thick and when it dried, it caused spider-web-like cracks in the ceiling because the drywall compound shrinks when it dries up.

Remedy: Here’s how you can fix cracks in the ceiling: Using a sandpaper, even out the crack and remove all the existing texture. Apply a new drywall compound to the ceiling and let it dry.

Straight ceiling crack

How to fix ceiling cracks

Apply putty with a knife or drywall compound to fix the cracks

If the labourer uses insufficient amounts of drywall compound when taping the joint in the ceiling, the tape will not adhere well to the joint. You will see a straight crack along the tape joint.

Remedy: This requires a quick fix. Apply some drywall compound along the tape joint to allow it to adhere it to the drywall.

Plaster ceiling cracks

How to fix ceiling cracks

Use some plaster to fix the cracks in the ceiling

Movement in a house can cause plaster ceiling cracks. They can also occur due to day and night temperature fluctuations or the rise or fall of moisture levels which can change the contraction of the framing structure.

Remedy: Homeowners can fix these commonly occurring hairline cracks in the ceiling by applying a new layer of the plaster and then repainting the ceiling. If you see sections of plaster being loose then it is quite likely that the system below the plaster is not ok and must be completely removed. It can be replaced with drywall.

How to fix ceiling cracks

There are many reasons why plaster cracks appear in homes and most times it is as a result of house movement. Timber in walls and ceilings will expand and contract with the changing of the seasons as will homes with steel beams and posts. Homes that are built on top of stumps will have moved or settled over time and will need to be re-stumped so as to level the house. Sometimes even footings or foundations would have sunk slightly and will need to be under pinned in order to strengthen them. There are occasions were cracks appear due to poor workmanship by cutting corners when applying a plaster mix or not using enough screws or glue to attach the plaster sheets or cornices.

Where do cracks appear?

As the house gently absorbs movement over time, plaster cracks will generally appear within internal corners and along cornices where the cornice is attached to the wall or ceiling. There are also times where cracks will even appear along plaster sheet joints in both the walls and ceilings. Where foundations or stumps have moved considerably and have been underpinned or re-stumped, most of these plaster cracks will appear at the corners of doors and windows and travel at an angle outward from the architrave. This scenario is exactly what occurred with this project because the rear of the house, which was built on stumps and needed to be re-stumped, had moved significantly.

Scope of work.

The back half of this weather board home is an extension of approximately 40 years old and it was built with plaster board walls and ceilings as well as a 75mm Cove cornice throughout the house. With the re-stumping completed and left for 8 months to settle, the scope of work required to repair cracks to plaster walls and ceilings and to replace cornices that had fallen because of the movement.

What is a Cove cornice? I’m glad you asked because you can learn more about it from Gyprock.

How to repair cracks?

The repair of cracks begins with removing any loose plaster from within the cracks and making sure that any plasterboard is reattached to the walls and ceilings with nail clouts, plaster screws or glue. Once this is done you can begin filling the cracks with a plaster mixture and paper tape to help with strengthening of the joint. An article I wrote titled How to repair plaster cracks will outline the method of repairing any plaster crack in detail as it is the same process. Once the plaster cracks were repaired and dry, all that was required was to attach a new section of 75mm Cove cornice and the work was complete.

I have attached pictures below of the finished walls and ceilings that were affected by re-stumping.


Cracks that appear throughout a home need not cause to much anxiety and once the root of the problem has been identified the task of rectification can begin. With the project above, when the house was re-stumped and allowed to settle, the process of repairing the plaster cracks could start and the method to repair those cracks is the same as if it was a hole in the wall or a small internal wall crack. With the plaster repair now completed, all areas are ready for painting.

How to fix ceiling cracks

Trust Ceiling Repair Services from Patches in a Day

Your ceiling is an essential component of your home. Whether you notice a crack, a hole, or any other kind of damage to your ceiling, it is wise to have it taken care of as soon as possible. Patches in a Day is Sonoma County’s leader in ceiling repair. Whether you need a simple patch job, or perhaps you have a bigger problem, such as your ceiling caving in, our professionals will get to work for you! Our drywall technicians specialize in fixing your ceiling and walls so that they are as good as new.

What Causes Ceiling Cracks?

One of the most common causes is heavy moisture damage from above the ceiling. Cracks can form in the ceiling due to moisture issues in either the roof or the floor above the ceiling. Moisture problems are normally the result of poor drainage or waterproofing and can also lead to serious foundation issues.

It is possible that the space above your cracked ceiling is bearing too much weight. There are specific ceiling supports required to carry the weight of what is a floor above. If shortcuts were taken during construction, this could ultimately lead to sagging or cracking.

Houses and foundations go through a settling period, especially during the first years after they were built. This settling can lead to cracks in the ceiling, walls, and other areas of the home. Foundation problems can lead to serious structural damage and should be taken care of right away.

Our Ceiling Repair Services:

Our ceiling repair services can help with all of your ceiling repair needs. Whether the damage is apparent and out in the open or hidden between the floors in your home, our specially trained technicians can recognize the telltale signs. We will give you insights into the likely causes of your ceiling damage and offer the best possible solutions to get your ceiling fixed fast. Working with us, you get comprehensive home ceiling repair that includes leak and crack restoration, plaster repair, popcorn ceiling removal, and more. All of our ceiling repair technicians have the knowledge and skill to fix various ceiling issues and stay up-to-date on the latest tools and techniques to ensure the best possible experience.

The Cost of Ceiling Repairs

Many of our clients ask about the out-of-pocket costs for residential ceiling repair. Every job is unique. Costs will vary depending on the time and level of skill required. However, we can offer average cost estimates on the jobs we typically encounter to give you an idea of what you might pay. Ceiling repairs cost approximately $350-$400. Our repair techs will be happy to provide you with a more accurate estimate when conducting a personalized assessment in your home.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) vs. Professional Ceiling Repair

How do you know when to repair a ceiling yourself and when to call in a professional? You can repair ceiling cracks and damage yourself. However, doing so puts your home at additional potential risk. We always recommend working with an experienced ceiling repair technician for any issues you encounter for many reasons:

  • The extent of the Damage: There may be ceiling damage you cannot see. If you have experienced a water leak, you may also need to consult with other professionals like plumbers or electricians. Not doing so can lead to more extensive damage.
  • Materials: You must know what materials are right for your repair and where to get them. Big box stores do not always have everything you need. Our company works with proven vendors with professional-grade materials that can fix ceiling damage fast. And we bring those materials, and our knowledge, to your home for every repair.
  • Lasting Repairs: DIY repairs are seldom perfect. Even when they are almost perfect, the potential for additional ceiling problems is high. Our comprehensive work gives you permanent peace of mind. You can always trust our repairs to stay strong and even. You can also trust us to return to fix any issues that may arise after our work is done.

Call Today for Ceiling Repairs in Northern California

Whether the damage to your ceiling has occurred on its own or if you have had previous contractors perform a botched job, we are here to help. With over 20 years of experience serving clients throughout the Sonoma County area, our experts can handle any ceiling repair job that you may need. Our team of contractors can even offer you a free estimate on any of our services. Do not wait. Give Patches In a Day a call today and get the perfect ceiling that your home deserves.

Whether you brush off a new crack in the ceiling like it’s nothing or you get alarmed if a new crack appears, it is essential to know the difference between minor ceiling cracks and ceiling cracks that might indicate serious problems.

Are cracks in the ceiling normal?

Cracks in the ceiling are a normal occurrence and are often more of a cosmetic issue than a structure issue. However, some cracks in the ceiling might need immediate professional attention. If you need a professional to repair ceiling cracks, search no further than our London decorators, who can also fill cracks in walls and repair plaster walls.

How to tell if ceiling cracks are serious?

The seriousness of a ceiling crack will depend on the location, size and type. To give you a better idea (or some peace of mind!), we ranked different types of ceiling cracks from least to most serious:

Hairline cracks.

How to fix ceiling cracks

Hairline cracks are thin cosmetic cracks that are caused by temperature or humidity fluctuation. These fluctuations can result in plaster shrinkage or swelling, creating small fissures. Hairline cracks are simply an eyesore and can be easily fixed with a new coat of paint.

Small cracks might also appear on walls and ceilings due to layers of old paint. When a ceiling or wall has had multiple layers of paint, cracking might appear. If you want to repair hairline cracks fixed by old paint, be sure to remove old paint before applying a new coat.

Straight cracks.

How to fix ceiling cracks

Straight cracks often follow the edge of the drywall tape along the joint. These are most commonly the result of poor workmanship during drywall tape application when an insufficient amount of plaster is used making drywall tape unable to properly adhere to the joints.

Discoloured cracks.

Discoloured cracks, such as yellow cracks and brown cracks, are a sign of water damage. Even though these are not linked to structural damage, water damage might lead to more serious problems. We recommend contacting a professional plumber in London to determine the source of the water leak and repair it.

Spiderweb cracks.

Spiderweb cracks have a centre point and the cracks spread out from that centre point, much like a spider web would. Small spiderweb cracks are usually not serious and often the result of poor workmanship, however, larger spiderweb cracks may be caused by foundation settlement which might be linked to compromised structural integrity.

Cracks between the ceiling and wall.

How to fix ceiling cracks

Cracks that appear between the ceiling and wall might be caused by truss uplift. Roof trusses tend to slightly move due to temperature or humidity. However, cracks that run along the ceiling and continue down to the wall are a sign of structure damage, and should be dealt with in a timely manner.

Large, deep cracks.

How to fix ceiling cracks

Large, deep cracks are a serious concern. In case you have large, deep cracks alongside sagging ceilings, this means major structural damage that needs to be dealt with immediately as the ceiling may collapse.

Are cracks in the ceiling covered by insurance?

Cosmetic ceiling cracks are not typically covered by insurance. It is recommended to double-check your insurance policy to understand what type of ceiling cracks are covered by your home insurance.

Should I worry about cracks in my ceiling?

Small, thin ceiling cracks can be ignored or dealt with by applying a new lick of paint. However, when ceilings have multiple cracks that are more than just a tiny hairline crack, a professional should be called to diagnose the cause of the cracks and recommend a solution.

How to fix ceiling cracks

Can cracks in plaster ceiling be repaired?

Small cracks in plaster ceilings can be easily repaired by applying new plaster and repainting the ceilings. Larger cracks should be dealt with by a professional to ensure there are no structural concerns.

Can you paint over cracks in ceiling?

Hairline cracks can be quickly fixed with a fresh coat of paint.

How to fix ceiling cracks

Can cold weather cause cracks in ceiling?

Yes, change in temperature and humidity can cause cracks to form on walls and ceilings.

What causes cracks in the ceiling?

Ceiling cracks can be caused by a variety of issues:

  • Normal wear and tear.
  • Water damage.
  • Heavy weight above.
  • Poor workmanship.
  • Structural problems.

If you recently found new ceiling cracks in your property and would like a second pair of eyes to double-check the type of crack and recommend a solution, get in touch with our team. Give us a call on 0800-0-12-12-12 or, alternatively, request a free quote by filling our online booking form.

How to fix ceiling cracks

by The Hosts

LESLIE: Christine in Rhode Island needs some help with a wall that seems to be separating from the rest of the bathroom. How can we help you?

CHRISTINE: In a bathroom – it’s on the second floor. And the – I guess it’s from settling but this building is 12 years old and I patched that area with Durabond and it has separated again. So I don’t know what to do. Cover it up with crown molding maybe?

TOM: Mm-hmm. So the wall between the wall and the ceiling is what’s cracking?

TOM: And you say Durabond. Is that a plaster – a spackle?

CHRISTINE: It dries very hard.

TOM: Well, look, so if you just put that on the wall, it’s got no stretch to it. What’s going to happen is it’s essentially going to crack again. It’s only filling the gap that’s there. It’s not stopping the crack from happening.

If you want to stop the crack from happening, what you have to do is you have to sand the wall and the ceiling in that area. You have to apply a drywall tape. We recommend fiberglass tape because it’s easy for DIYers. It’s like a netting. You put it across that crack and then you spackle on top of that. That gives it the strength to kind of bridge those two surfaces, which now want to move and expand and contract in different directions. Does that make sense?

CHRISTINE: Yeah, it makes sense. It sounds like a whole lot of work.

TOM: Yeah. And that’s what’s going to stop it. Or of course, like you say, you could just cover it with molding and call it a day, alright? Either way is fine but if you just put spackle on it or this product you’re calling Durabond, it’s not going to stop the crack. It will just come back again and again and again.

Patching ceiling cracks is an essential step in prepping a room for fresh painting. Usually a sign of normal settling, shallow cracks seldom indicate problems. Knowing how to patch them correctly, however, can make the difference between a clumsy and a polished paint job. The best way to fill cracks in ceilings is slightly different for plaster or drywall ceilings, but the results are similar: a smooth, seamless surface that shows your new decor at its best.

Repairing Plaster Ceiling Cracks

1. Scrape Away Loose Paint

Using a screwdriver or 5-in-1 tool, scrape loose paint and plaster fragments out of cracks. Enlarge narrow cracks to a width of 1/4 inch, so that they will hold an adequate amount of patching compound.

Note: Before sanding and scraping, it’s important to put on a pair of safety goggles to protect your eyes.

2. Sand Over Cracks

Sand over cracks with 100-grit sandpaper to smooth the edges of chipped paint areas.

3. Vacuum Up Dust

Wipe down or vacuum away all sanding dust.

4. Apply a Layer of Patching Compound

Spread a layer of patching compound. The best filler for ceiling cracks is either spackling compound or another plaster-repair compound. Spread the compound over the cracks with a 1-inch putty knife. Let it dry for four hours minimum and then sand it smooth with 200-grit sandpaper.

5. Add a Second Layer of Compound

Spread a second, very thin layer of compound over the cracks and adjoining paint, advises Old House Online. Patching compound sometimes shrinks when it dries, replacing old cracks with new ones. A second, broader path of compound addresses this problem. Let dry thoroughly.

6. Sand and Vacuum Again

Sand again with 200-grit paper. Vacuum or wipe away all sanding residue.

Note: Deep cracks in a plaster ceiling may indicate more severe problems, including the separation of plaster from the underlying lath. If you see any buckling or hear crunching when you press gently against the cracks, seek professional help before proceeding with repairs.

Repairing Drywall Ceiling Cracks

1. Scrape Away Loose Paint

Scrape flaking paint and any other loose material from around the cracks with the 1-inch putty knife. You do not need to enlarge drywall cracks.

2. Sand the Ceiling

Sand the scraped areas with 100-grit paper.

3. Cut a Strip of Fabric Tape

Cut a strip of paper or fabric tape 1/2 inch longer than the cracks. For a long curving crack, several pieces may provide better, broader coverage than a single strip.

4. Apply a Layer of Patching Compound

Cover the crack with a thin layer of patching compound or drywall mud, applying it with the 3-inch putty knife and spreading it at least an inch from the crack in all directions.

5. Install the Fabric Tape

Press the paper or fabric tape gently into the wet patching compound and smooth out fingerprints with the flat of your hand or the 3-inch putty knife, instructs Today’s Homeowner. Let dry thoroughly, for four hours or more.

6. Sand the Edges

Sand edges lightly with 200-grit sandpaper and apply a second thin, even coat of compound over the tape. Let it dry thoroughly.

7. Vacuum Up All Residue

Wipe or vacuum all sanding residue, and get ready to paint.

Note: If ceiling cracks are numerous or recurred quickly after the previous painting, using a primer under the topcoat may prolong the quality of your paint job. This slightly heavier, stickier paint can provide better coverage for small cracks.