How To Fix A Cracked Wall And Why They Happen

A cracked wall is usually nothing to be alarmed about. They happen over time and in most cases can be easily repaired. There are occasions when they mean a serious underlying issue, but this is rare.

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If you are afraid that your cracked wall is serious, have a professional take look. Otherwise, take initiative, and find out if the cracks in your wall can be repaired by checking out our guide on cracked walls here. 

What Classifies As A Cracked Wall?

There are many different types of cracks in walls. A cracked wall is simply a wall with an elongated gap in the wall that isn’t natural. If a hole is punched in the wall, it isn’t a crack. But if the wall splits, then it’s a crack.

However, most other types of damage done to walls can be fixed with the tips you’ll learn today. With only a few types of damage, like water damage, excluded from the steps you can take to repair the wall. 

Why Do Cracked Walls Happen?

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There are many reasons that cracked walls can happen. Usually, the reason is natural and nothing serious. But occasionally, things go wrong and your home could be in danger. Check out these reasons to see what your think caused your cracked wall. 

Settling

This is the most common, and least worrisome, type of crack. This is what happens in new houses for the first year or so. It is completely normal and usually appears as hairline cracks around doorways. 

Impact

If the wall suffered some sort of trauma then it could easily get cracked. While blunt force usually causes holes in drywall, in concrete, it may result in small cracks. Direct damage can always cause cracks.

Vacancy 

If you leave a home empty for too long, even for a vacation, it can cause cracks in the walls. That’s why abandoned homes need so many repairs despite the home not being used. This is a different type of settling.

Bad Taping

When it comes to drywall, nothing can cause uglier cracks than a bad taping job. If the taping isn’t done right, to begin with, the seams will show, especially if the sheetrock wasn’t installed tightly. This is never a fun project to repair. 

Learn to tape correctly before attempting to put up sheetrock. If you need to repair someone else’s bad taping job, then take a class or learn via tutorials online like the simple one below to find out more.

Leaks

Although water damage doesn’t always cause cracks and is a problem on its own, water can cause cracks. This is because it softens the wall and makes it more susceptible to tears as it swells and warps.

Water damage is the most expensive type of crack to fix because it usually involves removing the wall affected and getting to the bottom of the issue. This takes time and a lot of money, but it’s definitely necessary. 

Structural Damage

This is the most serious type of crack and needs to be investigated right away. There are many things that can cause structural damage that can then cause cracks, such as termites, which will eat through your foundation from beneath the floors. 

If the crack is wide or jagged, call a professional to make sure you don’t have a serious problem. If it’s a hairline crack near a door or window, then it’s probably fine and can be repaired normally on your own.

How To Fix Cracks In Walls

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The way you fix cracked walls primarily depends on the type of wall you have. Plaster and drywall and the most common types of walls that need to be repaired regularly. Here’s what you need to know about each type.

Plaster 

When it comes to plaster, here are a few types of cracks you may see and how to repair each of them. For a full guide on repairing plaster, take a look at this article which takes this info and goes more in-depth.

Hairline Cracks

If what you are dealing with is a hairline crack, your best bet is to remove the loose pieces and apply spackling to the affected area. You can apply a thin coat and let it dry before applying another if there is a need. After each coat, sand the area with sandpaper to see where you stand.

Wide Cracks

The first thing you need to do with a wide crack is press hard on each side to see if the crack is moving. If it is, the technique will be different. If it isn’t, then you need to apply plastering tape to the crack. Apply a thin coat of plaster underneath, then stick the tape to it.

Afterward, you apply to the top surface to even out the wall. Make sure that you apply more plaster to any side that’s deeper. Don’t forget to sand! Many people think they can get by without sanding, but not only does this make for a rough surface but it’s nearly impossible to paint an unsanded wall.

Moving Cracks

This is when things get complicated. Moving cracks aren’t as easy to repair because the problem isn’t on the surface. What you do here is dig out the moving side until you find solid plaster that does not move. It may be more work, but if you don’t fix it now, it will be even more work later.

Secure the loose side with plaster washers, drywall screws, and perforated discs. This will allow you to attach the loose plaster to the original lath. In a way, you’re starting over with the affected area. If you’re not a professional, you may want to watch a tutorial on how to fix moving cracks.

Drywall

The easiest way to repair drywall is to get a drywall patch kit. This includes everything you need to repair drywall as well as instructions on how to take care of each type of crack It’s a worthy investment for anyone with drywall.

Most drywall can be repaired by removing any loose tape and falling mud that is crumbling away from the wall. Then, sand the surface of the drywall where there is mud leftover. There’s no need to sand non-mudded areas. 

After sanding, you can start filling the crack with drywall mud. Make it smooth with a drywall joint knife. Then place the tape on top of that mud. After you get the tape to stick, apply a thin layer of mud on top of it.

After this dries, sand it very well but don’t go deep enough that you compromise the tape’s adhesion. It can be easy to get lazy and opt for a simple spackling job but take will cover much better and last much longer.

Basement Wall Crack Repair

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Most basement walls are made of concrete. Hopefully, the crack you have is vertical or diagonal cracks in concrete walls which is generally natural settling. If the crack is horizontal, it could mean something serious.

Contact a professional if the cracks seem strange or if they are wide. But if they are simple and vertical, namely hairline, then you should feel free to repair them on your own with one simple method.

Step 1: Dry The Crack

If the crack is damp, you need to dry it with a blowdryer before trying to repair it. Moisture will only cause more problems so this step is important. If you can’t get rid of the moisture you probably have a plumbing problem. 

Call a plumber or contractor to find out if that’s your problem. If they don’t believe there is a problem, you can get away with paying very little for their visit. But if there is a problem, you want it fixed asap.

Step 2: Injecting Epoxy

Although you can use a simple mortar system, an epoxy injection system works quicker and is easier for beginners to do successfully. This type of epoxy is often called liquid concrete and can be found at most hardware stores

It is usually applied similar to caulk like the type you use to caulk a bathroom. It’s super simple and involves squeezing the epoxy into the crack and smoothing it out to match the rest of the wall. Super simple!

Step 3: Sealing The Crack

Although epoxy works great for leveling, it can help to get a separate concrete sealer to ensure that the wall looks the same color throughout. It can also help with protecting it, so get a concrete sealer in a small can. 

When To Hire A Professional

If this job is overwhelming you, don’t hesitate to call a professional. It’s their job to ensure your safety and to get the job done quickly as well as efficiently. Most cracked walls can be repaired on any budget. 

The average cracked wall repair cost is around $2-5 per linear foot. This type of contractor generally costs $50-$100 an hour. Most people end up paying a few hundred dollars to repair their cracked walls.

But when you take everything into consideration, it’s almost always worth it. Safety always comes before your budget. So finding what works for you should always be most important! Because we’re all different.