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Help! My Drywall Tape Is Cracking/Peeling!

While cracks in drywall can be a natural result of the lumber in your walls settling, the effect can be, well, unsettling! The most common place where cracks occur is at the seams between sheets of drywall. Sometimes this type of crack is minor, and it can be repaired without much trouble. Other times, however, the drywall tape that covers the joint actually begins to crack and peel away. What can you do with cracking or peeling drywall tape?

Examine the Extent of the Problem

Determining the extent of the problem is fairly simple. Using a putty knife or another type of sharp, thin blade, probe the crack a little bit. If the drywall compound seems solid and sound (apart from the fact that it is cracked), the fix will probably be fairly quick and simple. However, if the probing shows that the drywall tape has come loose and is peeling away from the drywall mud behind it, the repair will take more serious remediation.

Fixing a Hairline Crack with no Peeling Tape

In the case of a thin drywall crack with no signs of peeling drywall tape, you just need to apply a little bit of spackle to the crack. Use a putty knife to spread the spackle and push it into the crack. Next, use the same putty knife to scrape away the excess spackle, so that there is some in the crack, but extremely little on the wall.

Tip: Using a wide-blade putty knife gives you better results when smoothing out spackle or drywall compound.

Once your spackle has dried, sand it lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper or a drywall sanding sponge. If the crack is filled and the wall is smooth, you are ready to prime and repaint the wall. If there is some unevenness remaining, you can apply another (very thin!) coat of spackle, tapering (or feathering) the edges so as not to leave a seam. Let it dry, sand it again, and you should be good to go!

Fixing Peeling Drywall Tape

If your drywall tape is just pulling away in one small area, it may be worth trying to glue it back down. Insert a moderate amount of household glue and hold the tape tight against the wall for the time indicated on the glue bottle. If the glue holds, you have saved the day, with very little effort or expense!

For many people, however, peeling drywall tape indicates a deeper problem. The seam is failing, and the tape will need to be removed and replaced. Begin by using a razor knife to cut along the edges of the tape to a point several inches to either side of the peeling area. Next, use the knife to cut across the tape so that the section can be removed. Use a putty knife to finish peeling out the tape, taking care not to rip away the paper surface of the drywall beneath.

With the failed tape removed, the next task is to rebuild the joint:

  • Use your razor knife to cut away any more loose drywall compound, and to open up more space in the seam where the sheets of drywall meet.
  • Fill the crack between the drywall sheets with new drywall compound, then apply a coating of drywall mud in the whole area where the tape was removed.
  • Cut a new piece of paper drywall tape and place it in the space where the old tape was. Use a smooth scraping motion with your putty knife to firmly affix the tape in place and to squeeze out the excess compound from behind it.
  • Apply a thin layer of drywall compound over the whole repair with a wide-blade putty knife. Let it dry thoroughly.
  • Sand the repaired area smooth, then apply a very thin coat of drywall compound, spreading it slightly beyond the repaired area, tapering away to nothing.
  • Repeat this process (sand, apply, dry) until the wall is smooth and seamless.
  • Prime the repaired area, then repaint the wall.

Why Hire a Professional Painter?

While the principles involved in drywall repair are quite simple, the actual process can be surprisingly difficult. It takes years of experience to acquire the steady hand for excellent application of drywall compound, and to develop the expert eye to notice and sand away seams and irregularities in the repaired area. When you hire a professional house painter, you will have…

  • A faster, more efficient repair process
  • Beautiful, seamless results

Equally important, you will not have…

  • Hours (or days) of frustration and effort
  • A mess to clean up.

At Southington Painting, we offer drywall services as part of our house painting repertoire. Whether you have hairline cracks, failing tape, nail pops, scuffs, gouges, holes, or any other drywall problems, we can repair them with confidence and skill. When our craftsmen and painters are through, your walls will look better than ever!

In addition to drywall services, Southington Painting offers interior painting, exterior painting, kitchen cabinet painting, epoxy floor coatings, deck maintenance, and more. Contact our office for a free estimate, or use our online scheduling tool.

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