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I am doing some minor drywall repairs throughout my home and am uncertain how to properly finish the inside corners of the drywall returns. After 45 years in quake country, these joints are cracked in every window. In the attached image, I have scraped away loose joint compound to reveal the corner bead. To prevent re-cracking for as long as possible, would it be best to tape this joint, caulk it, or simply recoat with mud and pray?

Thanks for your time!

enter image description here

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  • What are we looking at here? Is that just two standard beads coming together, or is there more metal? Was there no tape originally on the horizontal joint?
    – isherwood
    Apr 7 at 18:21
  • They are just standard beads. The horizontal extends past the return so the beads form a t-joint, if that makes a difference. There was no tape originally, only joint compound, it seems.
    – michaeldan
    Apr 7 at 18:32
  • It can either be shrinkage or movement joint. I'll seal it with the flexible sealant and paint it over.
    – r13
    Apr 7 at 18:44
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This is one of those rare cases where I'd use fiberglass mesh tape, and I'd also use setting-type compound like Easy Sand 45. Together they'll make about as strong a joint as you can get with conventional drywall materials.

First clean away any loose material down to bare metal/paper (if possible). Give the new compound a fighting chance of a good grab.

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  • I did use mesh tape and hot mud to fix the lower horizontal bead that had cracked along its entire length. I was leery about doing this for a corner joint though, because I had read about issues a) getting crisp, straight lines with mesh vs paper b) likelihood of cutting into the tape while finishing, and c) increased chance of cracking with slightest movement. What has been your experience encountering any of these issues with mesh on corners?
    – michaeldan
    Apr 7 at 20:19
  • You'll need a heavier layer of mud, so just taper it out further.
    – isherwood
    Apr 7 at 20:20
  • Sorry, I accidentally posted before finishing my comment...edited to include the rest.
    – michaeldan
    Apr 7 at 20:26
  • Your knife creates the lines in a corner that short. I'm not sure how you'd cut through the tape.
    – isherwood
    Apr 7 at 20:43
  • Good point. That issue was probably referring to using mesh tape on corners in general. I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for the advice!
    – michaeldan
    Apr 7 at 21:04
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I have two things for you...

First if you have corners cracking:

  1. I take out as much of the old mud as possible, scraping down to corner tape/metal.

  2. Put a thick bead of caulk in the corner make sure it has smooth edges.

  3. Joint compound over it. Works 80-90% of the time.

Second if you have a mess of issues like your picture:

  1. I would scrape back more of the corner area.

  2. Hit the whole seam area - in and out - with caulk.

  3. Then I would use something more flexible like - Elastopatch. Note that the link is an example. I have used it. It works, does not dry super hard. There are a wide range of options here including Plaster of Paris (which I think takes more skill/practice using.)

  4. I would finish off with a thin coat of joint compound so that the texture matches (this is something you may notice even after painting).

Third for the stubborn wall cracks:

  1. If I have a wall crack - especially ceiling - that just keeps coming back the first thing I do is notch out a "V" and make the crack bigger. The small point of the "V" should be about 1/8".

  2. Then I go over with a bead (thick) of caulk to cover up the 1/8" gap.

  3. Then I hit it with caulk again to fill up most of the "V".

  4. Put a piece of mesh tape over it and mud/sand as normal.

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  • Thanks for all the suggestions. That Elastopatch looks like it could be perfect for the myriad stress cracks I will be repairing! As for the corner joint, would you tape it at all, and if so, before or after applying caulk/elastopatch?
    – michaeldan
    Apr 7 at 20:43
  • @michaeldan - I doubt it will work perfectly. But when you have areas in your house like that you have to mix it up. Unless you love drywall work just filling it with mud and sanding every year gets old. The idea with an elastic compound isn't perfect but may using that you only get a hairline crack every once in a while (every big earthquake) and you either live with it or paint over it. There are also outdoor paints that have "rubber" additives in them. They really work for areas like this too. However they may not blend in with the paint for the room so didn't suggest.
    – DMoore
    Apr 7 at 21:10

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