Looking up and discovering hairline cracks on your ceiling is worrisome. You may wonder whether you or a contractor can repair these cracks easily or if they are a sign of structural damage. In many cases, ceiling cracks are due to movements that occur as a house settles. Small cracks do not pose a threat, but you should take care of them because they are unsightly. Here’s how to do this.
Get the Ceiling Checked Out
Before attempting any repairs, have a contractor or surveyor check the house. They will check whether the cracks are superficial or should be a cause of concern. If the latter is the case, have a contractor complete the necessary repairs before going forward. The repairs can also help the ceiling last much longer, especially if the house has completed settling and there is no additional risk of cracks.
You will also have to deal with other reasons why the ceiling has cracks. Common reasons include water damage, pests and poor workmanship. Also, older homes have undergone a lot of wear and tear so ceiling cracks are more likely.
Gather Your Tools
Once you have dealt with the underlying issues, gather your tools to start the repair. The most common tool for the job is a putty knife, a spackle knife or a scraper. These come in various sizes and handle shapes. They also have either stiff or flex blades depending on your preferences. You will need a putty knife with a wider blade to repair wide cracks, with the blade helping to even out flaws and textures.
You will also need a ladder, dust masks and goggles, sandpaper, and repair tape for larger cracks. Additionally, you will need a joint compound or some other type of filler.
Prep the Area
Prepping involves preparing the ceiling and the area beneath where you will be working. First, wear goggles and a face mask to protect yourself from dust and dirt. Next, cover the floor and walls with plastic and lay some cloth beneath the work areas.
Once you do this, it is time to prep the ceiling. The first step is removing loose paint or plaster around the work area. Next, use the putty knife to scrape around the crack to make it slightly wider. Doing so helps you put more filler inside it for a better and stronger bond. You should also sand around the crack and dust it with a rag to have a clean surface to work with.
You can use either spackle or joint compound to fill ceiling cracks, but spackle is the better option. Only use joint compound if you do not have spackle as the former is only recommended for drywall installation cost.
Use the putty knife or scraper to add filler into the gouge. Add a little at a time, ensuring the last application has settled before adding more along the length of the gouge. Doing this will ensure enough filler in the gorge to connect all sides of the crack.
Once you are satisfied that you have filled the gouge, scrape off any extra filler using a wet scraper, moving from the centre of the gouge to the side. Be sure to clean the putty knife with every stroke to avoid streaking.
If you have wide cracks, apply fibreglass repair tape or mesh over the crack and spread the filler on top. Smooth it out as explained above.
Drying and Sanding
It would be best to wait for the filler to dry before further work on the ceiling. Once dry, you can use sandpaper or sanding blocks to ensure the area is flat. You can also use an electric sander to make the process go faster.
Dust the area when done, and then climb down the ladder to see that the area is even. Check for bumps or raised areas so you can sand them down. Remember to wear a face mask and goggles for your safety.
Once you’re done, you can make the ceiling look better by painting it, which will hide the repair and ensure the ceiling looks great. You can also use ceiling wallpaper to make the ceiling look great while hiding the repair. There are several options to choose from, including patterned and textured designs. Ceiling wallpaper is also easy to clean and should last you many years.
Remember to clean the rest of the room because dust will likely have got through the plastic. You can use a vacuum cleaner and a cloth to ensure the space is clean.
Repairing ceiling cracks is relatively easy if you have the tools and know-how. However, calling an expert is a good idea if you are uncomfortable working on a ladder. Once you or the contractor completes the repairs, you can leave the ceiling looking great by painting it or applying ceiling wallpaper.