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Crack Where Wall Meets Ceiling – What To Do?

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Seeing a crack that runs along the wall and meets the ceiling can be a worrying sight. The crack you’re seeing might even be a sign of structural damage. So what can you do to repair a wall crack that meets the ceiling? We researched the solution for you, and here’s what we found.

Homeowners should utilize a repair technique based on the materials of their wall and ceiling surfaces. For instance, here are the steps to fix cracks on a plaster wall that meets the ceiling:

  1. Use a screwdriver to poke holes in the crack's lining.
  2. Dilute PVA in a bucket of water.
  3. Apply the PVA mix in and around the crack with a paintbrush.
  4. Put in plaster sealant into the crack. Then, let it dry.
  5. Apply another layer of diluted PVA over and around the crack.
  6. Add a Polyfill layer over the crack with a trowel or paint scraper.
  7. Let the application dry before flushing it out with sandpaper.
  8. Paint the repaired areas.

It’s also important to know why these cracks occur to prevent them from appearing. Continue reading to know some relatively common reasons why cracks in ceilings and walls surface. We’ll also tackle the steps to repair these fractures in greater detail.

A crack from the wall leading to the crown molding of the ceiling, Crack Where Wall Meets Ceiling - What To Do?

What Causes Cracks In the Ceiling and Walls?

Cracks that appear in ceilings and walls can happen over time or because of other forces. Some fractures can become major causes of concern. On the other hand, some cracks, such as those with the length and width of a hair, may not require immediate attention.

A huge crack on the wall

Some of the relatively common causes of cracks in the ceiling and walls are:

Old Age

A fairly old home can show signs of damage and deterioration over time. Cracks may gradually appear around the premises, including parts of the ceiling and walls.

Take note that materials have age and need repairs or replacements based on the number of years they served. For example, drywall has an expected serviceable life of about 30 to 70 years. However, that material can have a short lifespan because of exterior forces like termites and excessive moisture.

Heavy Floor Above the Ceiling

Poor property design can lead to structural damage because of the miscalculations in building load-bearing walls. Keep in mind that these walls should support the weight of the floor above. Cracks in the ceiling and/or the wall may form if the floor above the load-bearing wall is heavier than usual.

Moisture Damage

Significant moisture can cause foundation and structural damage to different materials used in homes. In particular, excessive moisture on concrete may cause its surface to shrink more than its interiors, causing cracks.

Improper Drywall Installation

Drywall, along with certain building materials, is a reasonably strong material that can hold up to 200 pounds of weight. However, the studs and other hardware used in the installation should support the drywall’s ability to hold different loads. Otherwise, it poses a high risk of acquiring and accumulating cracks, leading to more serious problems over time.

Read our post on installing drywall in a new house to learn more about this topic.

Foundation Settlement Issues

Dry weather, plant overgrowth, and poor drainage are some examples that can lead to a settling foundation. If so, the house can become lopsided, resulting in poor weight distribution. If left unsolved, it can also lead to cracks in the ceiling and the walls. Also, not solving this issue may result in the house crumbling down.

How To Fix Crack Where Wall Meets Ceiling?

Worker pointing at the huge crack on the wall

It’s important to mention that the exact process to fix a crack in a wall that meets the ceiling often depends on the materials of these surfaces. For example, fixing fractures in plaster walls generally requires different steps and pieces of equipment compared to repairing cracks in drywall.

Also, make sure to practice proper safety protocols for this task. One example is to call an assistant to help you complete this job. That individual can aid you in different steps, such as holding a stepladder in place while you’re working on the ceiling. You can also wear a respirator or face mask to prevent breathing small particulates that might otherwise become the precursor to respiratory issues.

Make sure that you also cover the surrounding appliances and furniture. Some of the items you’ll be using might drip and ruin your home’s equipment if you’re not careful.

Once you finish the preparations, here’s a guide on how to fix a crack that meets the ceiling and wall in a plaster wall:

What You’ll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Paint scraper
  • Sandpaper
  • Screwdrivers
  • Shave hook
  • Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA)
  • Plaster sealant
  • Polyfill
  • Paintbrush
  • Cloth or towel

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Poke a few holes in the crack’s lining with a screwdriver.
  2. If you see hairline cracks, extend the fracture’s gap by slicing it with the utility knife.
  3. Remove loose dirt, dust, and debris from the inside of the hairline crack with a screwdriver.
  4. Mix the PVA in a bucket of water according to the product manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Apply the diluted PVA to the crack with the help of the paintbrush. Then, wipe the excess product with a cloth or towel.
  6. Put the plaster sealant into the crack. Don’t forget to wipe the filler applicator’s opening if it encounters some buildup.
  7. Let the filler dry and remove the excess with the paint scraper.
  8. Apply another coat of the diluted PVA mixture over and around the area of the crack.
  9. Add a layer of Polyfill over the crack. Use the paint scraper or a trowel for this step.
  10. Allow the application to dry before using the sandpaper on the repaired surface to flush out any bumps.
  11. Once dried, paint the repaired locations with the same color as their surrounding ceiling and walls.

Aside from painting the ceiling and walls to cover the repair job, you may also install wallpaper over the offending areas. Read our post on covering cracks and imperfections with wallpaper to know if this material can provide satisfactory results.

At this point, you may also want to call professional services if you think this task is too much for you to handle. Make sure that you call a reliable home repair company to gain excellent value from the expert assistance.

Check out this PVA adhesive on Amazon.

You can also watch the video below to learn additional details for this project:

What Is The Best Filler For Ceiling Cracks?

Worker using a palette to cover crack on the wall

The right filler to use for ceiling cracks often depends on the surface’s material. Here are some excellent choices, along with explanations on where to use these products correctly:

Drywall Putty

As its name implies, this product is often ideal for fixing certain imperfections in drywall. Generally made from gypsum powder and binders like vinyl, this putty can be an excellent choice in repairing cracks, holes, and other issues in surfaces made with drywall.

Check out this drywall repair putty on Amazon.

Watch the video below if you're curious about the steps to apply drywall putty on a ceiling.

Non-Shrink Grout

Non-shrink grout can be a good option in filling gaps and holes in masonry structures. Other applications for this product include anchor bolt grouting and tunnel void backfilling. Noteworthy options exist wherein they supply repaired constructions with high-strength and non-bleeding material to prevent cracks and other issues from reoccurring.

Check out this product on Amazon.

How Do You Know If A Ceiling Crack Is Serious?

Covering the crack with plaster

Property owners should assess the appearances and specific locations of ceiling cracks to gauge risks. For example, a crack can be serious if it’s running along the ceiling’s edge.

Another reason to be wary of these fissures in the ceiling is when the surface bows. That means that the ceiling is having trouble supporting the floor above, causing the crack. If left unchecked, the ceiling and the floor above can fall.

Does Home Insurance Cover Ceiling Cracks?

The typical home insurance doesn’t cover ceiling cracks. It’s because most cracks are preventable problems, which should fall under the control of the property owner to prevent and/or fix.

However, some homeowners' insurance policies may cover collapsed ceilings. These instances typically happen for homes built between 1960 to 1980. During this period, many properties used building methods that created widely spaced ceiling joists. The result is fewer than usual fasteners used, resulting in the reduced strength provided by the ceiling.

Final Words

Worker scraping the excess plaster using a palette

Some cracks on walls that meet ceilings can be tell-tale signs of structural damage. Homeowners should take immediate action in repairing these fractures to prevent more serious problems from surfacing. Hiring professionals to do the repair job is also an option, particularly for people who may not have enough time, skill, or confidence in tackling the procedure.