How to Repair a Ceiling Crack

Cracks in ceilings are caused mostly by settling of the house and the expansion and contraction created during that settling.

To repair a crack in a ceiling:

  • Score the crack with a utility knife to remove any loose plaster or other material that may be inside the crack.
  • Use mesh tape to cover the crack. This will allow the mud to bond directly to the plaster which will make the repair stronger.
  • If your ceiling is drywall, you may have to add some screws to hold the two halves in place and make the crack even on both sides.
  • Apply joint compound over the taped crack.
  • Once the joint compound is dry, sand the ceiling smooth.
  • Prime and paint the ceiling.

Read our article on How to Repair Cracks in a Drywall Ceiling to find out more.

27 COMMENTS

  1. Will this procedure work on a double wide mobile home ceiling. It is not panels but all one ceiling – the rough material – pebbly like. Thanks

  2. We’ve got a lot of plaster ceilings up north. After you patch the ceiling, you need to use an oil-based primer before painting, or the joint compound will bleed through and won’t blend correctly with the plaster. Of course, Danny knows that, but viewers and readers may not.

  3. We have repaired a leak on our ceiling, now we need to know how to do the finish so that it will match the rest of the ceiling. It is not as thick as Popcorn but it does has some form of light textured finish.

  4. hi ,
    i am gypsum installer here in Malta and i have a problem in here when i make false ceilings sometimes altough i make mash tape the short side of the board(120cm side) the crack still comes out! can you tell me what is the reason of this and what you do for repairing it?

  5. Thank you for the great video, I tried numerous times fixing the crack in my ceiling and it would “recrack” my patient does home repairs and told me how to use the tape and mud but I came here just to make sure so I won’t have to redo it in another six months!

  6. Will this work for a side by side mobile home.
    Someone told me you have to rip part of the ceiling out and brace it and then fix it.
    It is not where any seams where the house was put together.

    Thanks
    Diane

  7. Hello, I am so thankful for finding a cheaper way to fix my ceiling. I would love to receive a quote on how much the material might cost.

    • Hi, Lee,
      Here’s “Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford’s answer to your question:
      “If you have access to the backside of the crack, lay a 2×4 or 2×6 flat to screw into on either side of the crack — then proceed with the taping and joint compound to hide the crack.
      Thanks for your question!”

  8. What would cause my ceiling to get like a bubble in the paint after it has been patched and painted. I have no signs of moisture or water damage.

    • Hi, Linda,
      Danny says, “Usually something like that would be a separation of drywall tape that may have been used on a repair, or sealing material separating from the drywall. It is a very difficult thing to do a quick repair on.
      “But sometimes you can make a small hole in the bubble. Inject regular white glue, like school glue, and gently push the bubble back into place. Sometimes, that works great; sometimes it may cause it to wrinkle.
      “If that won’t work, then the effective area will need to be scraped; then add joint compound and touchup paint.
      Good luck!”

  9. A wide uneven crack has developed all along the margin in the slant roof slab extending outside the wall. Some of these cracks on the margin fell down. How all these cracks can be solidly repaired ?

  10. What causes a ceiling to crack, in the first place. My living room ceiling has a crack starting at the south side and is two feet short of the opposite wall.

    Just wondering about small cracks (the paint has actually peeled back from the crack) in the ceiling in a north bedroom – only in this room. Do I need more insulation in the attic?

    Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    • Hi, Helen! Just like people develop wrinkles, over time, houses develop cosmetic changes that don’t necessarily indicate major problems.
      The cause of your ceiling crack depends on various factors, such as the ceiling material and the home’s age.
      If the crack is discolored, you could have moisture problems.
      If there’s an issue with the trusses, that could create a crack between the ceiling and the interior wall.
      Straight cracks could indicate a joint that should have been properly taped.
      Without knowing the specific situation, we recommend investigating the area for clues, or having an expert come out and take a look!
      Thanks for your question.

  11. How to repair ceiling cracks in my house. I have radiant heat tubing installed in the ceiling plaster. There is one long crack along the heating tubing. What material should I use to permanantly repair this crack?

  12. Have a lid on patio…has gotten wet and popped at seam..now it has hardened! About 2’ …not finding anything to nail or screw to…u mentioned Deadwood…gonna b hard to slip that into seam…to lift it up…looks like cardboard has seperated from plaster…..

  13. Not sure who your audience for these videos is, but it’s not an amateur homeowner. Might want to step back a bit instead of focusing on which tape is better when folks aren’t even aware what, when, or why any tape is ever needed at all.

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