Like a squeaky floor or a loose lockset, even the smallest drywall crack or nail pop can be cause for concern for new homeowners or prospective buyers, triggering service callbacks or resulting in lost sales.
Sure, you can try to explain those blemishes away with talk of “normal settling,” which may in fact be true, but folks on the fence about buying a home at all look at those figures and dimples as red flags of poor construction quality and perhaps something more problematic and costly, and not worth the risk.
Drywall cracks and nail pops occur at framing joints, primarily around openings and corners.
What Causes Drywall Cracks?
Causes range from foundation or soil settling to lumber components reacting to seasonal climate changes and misaligned or improperly installed framing members, supports, fasteners or connectors.
Deep-seated reasons, often indicated by diagonal cracks (as opposed to straight along a framing joint) may indicate a failing (or failed) foundation, improperly engineered framing loads or truss uplift.
How To Fix Drywall Cracks
- Use a utility knife to cut a narrow, V-shaped groove along the length of the crack.
- Blow out debris and drywall dust to create a clean cavity.
- If the crack is along a framing member, drill screws on either side of the crack into the solid wood behind it, about 6 inches along the crack, with the heads countersunk.
- Bridge the entire groove with fiber-mesh joint tape and apply a hot-mud compound with a taping knife on either side of the tape, covering it and leaving a 20-inch “patch.”
- Feather and sand/texture to match the surrounding finish.
How To Prevent Drywall Cracks
Cosmetic cracks and pops are almost inevitable, but you can go a long way toward reducing or even preventing them by using high-quality, straight-framing lumber that is allowed to acclimate before being installed.
This helps ensure that framing and drywall joints are aligned, tight and properly secured.