This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to permanently patch a damaged and cracked ceiling.
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In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to repair drywall cracks in a ceiling.
How to Repair Drywall Cracks in Ceiling
- Climb into the attic and remove the insulation from between the ceiling joists directly above the damaged drywall.
- Drill a 3/16-inch-diameter hole down into the 1×3 strapping and through the drywall ceiling. Be sure to center the hole between two joists.
- Now go down into the room below and locate the hole in the ceiling.
- Make a screwing template by first cutting and screwing together two pieces of ⅝-inch plywood; make them slightly larger than the damaged area on the ceiling.
- Bore a series of 1-inch-diameter holes through the template, spacing the holes about 3 inches apart. Space the rows of holes 16 inches on center.
- Hold the screwing template against the ceiling, directly over the damaged area. Use the 3/16-inch diameter hole to align the rows of holes with the 1×3 strapping above.
- Set a small square of plywood on the floor, then wedge a 2×4 brace into place between the plywood square and screwing template.
- Use a drill/driver fitted with a drywall tip to drive 1¼-inch drywall screws through the holes in the template, through the drywall ceiling, and into the strapping above.
- Cut ⅝-inch-plywood backer boards to fit between the ceiling joists and the 1×3 strapping.
- Climb back into the attic and apply construction adhesive to the top surface of the drywall ceiling.
- Press the plywood backer boards down into the adhesive.
- Slide shims beneath the ceiling joists to force down the backer boards.
- Go back down into the room and run drywall screws up through the remaining holes in the template and into the plywood backer boards.
- If the ceiling crack extends beyond the template, drive in a few screws on each side of the crack.
- Tap out the temporary 2×4 brace and remove the screwing template.
- Use a hammer to lightly tap along the ceiling crack to break free any loose debris.
- Apply a strip of painter’s tape to the very top of the wall to protect it from joint compound.
- Cover the ceiling crack with adhesive-backed fiberglass mesh tape.
- Use a flat trowel to spread a thin layer of joint compound over the entire repaired area, including the mesh tape and all the screw heads.
- To create a skip-textured finish, apply more joint compound with very light pressure, allowing the trowel to skip over the surface.
- Let the compound dry overnight, then apply a coat of primer, followed by two paint topcoats.