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How to Repair a Hairline Crack in a Wall

There are two kinds of walls: the ones with cracks and the ones that will have cracks someday. Hold the house together with some easy and affordable quick fix ideas.


  • Step 1: Clean the area Clean the drywall area and remove any loose bits of plaster, spackle, and grit, depending how wide the crack has gotten. Remove old tape, textures, or popped nail heads.
  • Step 2: Cut trench Cut a trench wider than the crack with your utility knife to get more surface area for the compound to adhere to.
  • Step 3: Use mesh tape Lay mesh tape in angled and deep spots that require too much compound to patch. Be sure to attach it an inch over either side of the crack.
  • TIP: You can choose between fast-drying or flexible compounds. Use water-resistant kinds in bathrooms.
  • Step 4: Sweep smoothly Scoop out compound liberally with your knife and apply it to the area. Sweep the knife back and forth diagonally, angling it so the compound spreads and fills evenly. Use slow, careful pulls, feathering the compound.
  • Step 5: Allow to dry Allow the first layer to dry following the compound manufacturer's instructions.
  • Step 6: Sand with the wooden block Wrap the sandpaper around a small block of wood to get a flat surface and sand the area. Pass a damp sponge over the area after it is dry to inspect it for grooves and blemishes.
  • TIP: If the crack returns, widens, or if more appear, the house may be settling faster than you thought or the structural integrity may be compromised. Call a contractor to inspect.
  • Step 7: Skim on second coat Skim on a second, thinner layer of compound. Dry and sand again, without being too aggressive. Paint the wall and no one but you will ever know.
  • FACT: The Associated Press reported that American imports of potentially tainted Chinese building materials exceeded 500 million pounds over four years, and might have been used in one hundred thousand homes.

You Will Need

  • Joint compound
  • Putty knife
  • Utility knife
  • Mesh tape
  • Fine grit sandpaper rated for drywall
  • Wooden block
  • Sponge
  • Paint
  • Contractor (optional)

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