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I'm looking for guidance on fixing some cracks before I repaint. I need to make some repairs in a bedroom where a cracked formed where the wall meets the ceiling. It mainly cracked due to settling, and from demolition in the bathroom on the other wall. Also, from being up in the attic walking across the beams while running new recessed lighting.

I don't expect there to be much more stress on the structure since we are done with all of the hammering and banging now. Think these could be repaired with a Flex spackle that Alex caulk makes? I've also seen some people on the web mention they simply chip these areas out and then caulk them, but I can't see how that would work since caulk doesn't sand to give me a clean finished corner. Or, must I do tape and compound? I'm naturally looking for the easiest way out since my compound skills aren't the best since I don't do it regularly, but I will if you all think that's the best way to not get these cracks again.

If I can chip them out and then spackle/compound alone will do the job and hold for 5-10 years before I need to do it again I'll go that route. Otherwise its tape and compound and lots of sanding.

How best to get this trim cleaned up a bit for repainting?

Crack where wall and ceiling meet

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    Without a pic of what you are dealing with, there is no advice that isn't speculation.
    – RMDman
    Apr 9, 2023 at 16:13
  • @RMDman Thanks for that, photo didn’t attach the first time, my bad I added a photo. This is the worst of them.
    – RocketManZ
    Apr 9, 2023 at 16:43

5 Answers 5

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Usual method is just to caulk the joint. No real precision required as you'll stop looking at it six weeks after you did it.

Acrylic caulk, wiped in with a finger or just applied carefully from a gun. Has some flexibility [though not as much as silicone] but its paintable with any water-based paint.

Standard fayre for all corners & joins these days & cheap as chips - $£€ 1 for a regular 300ml gun refill. Search term 'decorator's caulk'.

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  • And the caulk looks clean enough? I may try caulk and if it’s too noticeable I’ll use compound and see how far it gets me.
    – RocketManZ
    Apr 9, 2023 at 17:34
  • You can push it in so tight you can't see it. Paint & it's gone. If you want to see the other side of the argument see the accepted answer to diy.stackexchange.com/questions/159245/… - which I completely & utterly disagree with. Perhaps the guy got the wrong stuff, I don't know. I've never known caulk to shrink or be difficult to paint. Maybe it's different stuff in the US compared to the UK. That, I couldn't possibly guess at. The idea of trying to put tape & trowelled-on compound neatly into that corner - wouldn't even consider it
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 9, 2023 at 17:56
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    The caulk will look cleaner than what you've got, and probably cleaner than if you tried to re-tape the corner.
    – Huesmann
    Apr 9, 2023 at 18:02
  • If taping an entire new room there may be some arguments to tape corners too. But in your case I would go with this answer. Lightly and gently chip away the chunks that are protruding from the corner and use painter's caulk. I agree that it will quickly become invisible to you, but if you want a sharp angle use a sharp-angled silicone caulking spatula rather than your finger or whatever.
    – jay613
    Apr 9, 2023 at 20:54
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    I also agree with @Huesmann that if you're not experienced, you'll get better results with caulk. Taping a corner takes practice and lots of compound to feather the edges and then the compound won't match the texture of the wall and ceiling. OTOH with a small caulk bead with white caulk on white walls you may not need to refinish at all .... apply it, clean up and you're done!
    – jay613
    Apr 9, 2023 at 20:55
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What I usually do is get some joint compound, mud, and just apply it with my finger running it along the seam. It spreads out evenly and blends in with the ceiling and wall. It's fast, easy and really smooths out with a damp finger.

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    No taping, i like this. I may give it a go with just compound mud. Thanks
    – RocketManZ
    Apr 9, 2023 at 17:33
  • I've used a old wet paintbrush to fill in holes and cracks using mud. You can smooth it out, and paint it and never know. I'm thinking particularly of a worm-riddled windowsill. They thought I had replaced the wood :-)
    – Wastrel
    Apr 10, 2023 at 12:52
  • Good tips JACK. This gives me some good quick options.
    – RocketManZ
    Apr 11, 2023 at 21:19
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I have found if using either acrylic caulk or joint compound or just spackling paste, ( all will work equally well) the wiping is the key.

Using the big tile sponges, such as these is key.

Wet, ring out well and wipe in one direction. Allow to dry and paint and you have an invisible repair.

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  • Thanks for the simple yet helpful tips.
    – RocketManZ
    Apr 11, 2023 at 21:19
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Another solution, if course, is to cover that joint with trim -- painted or stained -- so it looks more deliberate.

For example, in this photo we are looking at the junction over my stairwell; a fancy moulding has been used between ground floor wall and ceiling, two pieces of flat trim handle the transition from ceiling to wall above the stairs, and the transition between that wall and the wall alongside the stairs is a simple fillet of plaster.

Picture of junction over stairwell between lower ceiling, adjacent wall, and wall above steps

Yes, the trim in this case is ceiling-white, while the walls are a pinkish off-white. And I should do something about the cobwebs, I suppose. But it illustrates several different treatments of a plaster right-angle.

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  • Tricky in OP's case with the curved ceiling.
    – jay613
    Apr 10, 2023 at 19:41
  • Granted, but perhaps not impossible. A simple PVC moulding (eg quarter-round) may be able to flex enough, or careful miter cuts can be made to do it in segments.
    – keshlam
    Apr 10, 2023 at 20:47
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    @keshlam Great idea, PVC trim would probably work in this case, but I'm going to try to just patch these cracks this time. If they keep happening then I'll consider covering them up. Most of the cracks showed up during demo from the back side of the walls so I don't think they'll be back.
    – RocketManZ
    Apr 11, 2023 at 21:18
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Until we agree what makes the cracks, then we can apply proper fixing method.

Just filling the crack with anything will not stop the crack from appearing again.

There will be always shear/flexing forces at the joint of two surfaces that create the crack.

The cheapest way is to fill the crack -lowest lifetime

Second option is to use drywall paper tape under the mud.

The strongest option is to use fiber mesh tape under the mud - longest lifetime.

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    But if you fill the crack with some compound which maintains elasticity, it can withstand some shearing and flexing (as long as it's not too much).
    – einpoklum
    Apr 10, 2023 at 14:17
  • @einpoklum correct it can, can you name a product that does that
    – Traveler
    Apr 11, 2023 at 21:25
  • Well, I can, but only in Israel/Palestine, which is where I live... AcryFill by Jacobi & sons.
    – einpoklum
    Apr 11, 2023 at 21:51

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