How to fix a drywall crack

How to fix a drywall crack

Many issues may contribute to cracking in plaster and drywall, including structural problems, poor workmanship, improper curing and moisture. Stress cracks near windows or doors or cracks from settling homes can leave behind unsightly reminders.

A Los Angeles handyman should be able to fix most drywall cracks, as well as attend to other odd jobs around the house. Angie’s List has about 1,900 local listings for handyman services in the LA area. Sign-in to see which service providers are highly rated.

The List also contains member reports about recent service experiences, such as the report from member Bowen Chung. In the report, Chung describes a recent positive experience with highly rated Gonzalez Handyman Services in Culver City, Calif.

“I will definitely be using Byron [Gonzalez, owner] again and have already recommended him to my parents who will plan on using him for a little electrical work at their condo nearby," Chung says.

Once you find a handyman, the type of cracks and treatment will need to be determined. In homes with plaster walls, hairline cracks are not considered to be of great concern in most instances. They can usually be filled with a patching material.

For cracks that reopen because of seasonal humidity changes, they can be slightly widened and filled with drywall mud or spackle.

For persistent cracks, it may be necessary to bridge the crack with a fiberglass mesh tape, covered with a couple of layers of joint compound that is allowed to dry fully between layers and feathering the edges. Apply a third coat, let dry and then sand smooth, wiping away dust with a damp cloth.

Larger cracks caused by structural movement require repair of the structural problem before they are repaired. In that instance, the plaster on each side of the crack should be removed. Take off about three inches on each side down to the lath. Clean out the debris, and apply metal lath to prevent further cracking, leaving the existing wood lath in place.

Follow the same patching procedure in the case of smaller cracks. If the crack seems to expand, you may need to consult a Los Angeles structural engineer. Though there are many listed, only a select number are highly rated by Angie's List members.

Drywall, unlike plaster, has a paper covering that rarely cracks or splits. Cracks in drywall tend to appear on the seam where two pieces meet. In most instances, the crack just needs to be filled with a few layers of joint compound, allowed to dry and sanded between applications. Once that last layer is applied, dried and sanded, wipe away the dust and paint.

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