How to Repair Drywall Cracks - Overview

Drywall 101
First Published:
May 08, 2013
Last updated:
May 03, 2024

How to Repair Drywall Cracks

Drywall cracks occur for a variety of reasons. Most cracks appear in drywall within the first year after construction. Depending on the cause, drywall cracks can show up later as well. To repair cracks in drywall you can follow these basic steps:

  1. Determine and mitigate the cause of movement
  2. Tape the crack to provide added strength
  3. Finish the area by floating over the tape with drywall mud

Picture of a large crack in a plaster wallThis steps listed in the articles linked to above, apply specifically to repairing cracks in drywall. Cracks that appear in plaster can be repaired using similar techniques. However, when working with plaster, preventing cracks from reappearing in the future is more difficult. Movement in the underlying structure is the main cause of cracks in plaster walls. Identifying the cause of movement and preventing it is not easy.

Why do drywall seams crack? Cracks appear in drywall seams and joints primarily because of some movement in the underlying structure. Sometimes it is simply because the sheet of drywall was not adequately secured. Other causes of movement in the underlying structure of the building are more difficult to prevent. In any case, identifying the cause of movement is important. Once identified, you can work to either limit the movement or use means such as expansion joints to manage the movement and prevent future cracks from appearing.