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Repairing cracks over windows and doors in sheetrock?

Repairing cracks over windows and doors in sheetrock?

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  #1  
Old 09-24-13, 12:10 PM
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Repairing cracks over windows and doors in sheetrock?

I mainly do faux finish on walls and furniture, but I have done some drywall in the past though I am far from skilled at it.

Now I need to fix some cracks in textured walls and ceilings. I had some of them done professionally years ago and the guy simply mudded the crack, put a piece of tape over it, floated it and sprayed some texture over it. After that, I had a bulged texture place where the crack had been. And now, I have a bulged crack there.

I've been googling for the right way to repair these cracks and have come up with a variety of expert solutions. I would like to remove everything down to the sheetrock and start over, but none of the solutions I found recommend that.

For long term success (and I live in an area where there is a lot of ground movement) and best look after repair, how do you repair stress cracks over windows and doors? Time is not a factor. I'm slow, but careful, and I'd like it to look like the wall did when the house was first built 30 years ago.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-24-13, 02:31 PM
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I decided to try a crack over a door. It's a crack that had been repaired once before and I found that mesh tape was used there for the repair, and paper tape used originally. There was very little mud under the paper tape, and what is odd, is that there wasn't a crack in the paper tape except in one spot near the door frame. I took everything down to the sheetrock and beveled the edges of the texture left beside the cut out area.

Then I decided to do inside a closet that had never been fixed before and took everything out down to the sheetrock there too. That tape did have a crack in it. I also noticed that there were no nails or screws where the two pieces of sheetrock came together, unless there are a couple under the door frame. I checked and there is a stud behind the joint. There are 8 foot ceilings, so only a foot of sheetrock over the doors and windows.

Is it normal not to fasten sheetrock to a stud in a small area like that? Or just have nails in one corner of the joint, like under the door trim? I'd like to know if there are nails under there but I'm not willing to take off the trim to find out. But I am wondering now if there would have been any cracks if there had been more, or any, nails there. I also wonder if there are any nails in the joint over the other door. There aren't any that I can see but there is door frame at the bottom of the joint and crown mold at top. I am going to put a couple in the top and middle even though the sheetrock doesn't move when I press on it.
 

Last edited by PainterLou; 09-24-13 at 03:09 PM.
  #3  
Old 09-24-13, 03:53 PM
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Cracks in the areas you are mentioning are fairly normal stress cracks. What kind of texture are you dealing with? Is it the same on the walls and ceiling? Adding additional nails to the areas above the door may help if there is something to nail too behind the sheetrock. Don't use mesh tape, use paper tape. Don't use drywall compound use setting type compound, it comes in a powder and you mix what you need as you go. It sets up by chemical reaction and doesn't shrink. You use it the same as joint compound, but work fast as it will begin to set up in the pan. It comes in different speeds of dry time. For a beginner, use 90 minute setting type compound. Use a hair dryer if you want to speed the process up. Also, you need to wet your tape first and ring out if using setting type compound. Sometimes everything dries so fast that a good bite is not achieved, wetting the tape helps provide a little insurance that the joint will take.
 
  #4  
Old 09-24-13, 04:17 PM
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If a crack is repaired correctly, and then it comes back again later, it's most often a problem with the way the drywall was originally hung. Either that or a framing issue.

Sometimes guys will use up their scraps around a window or door and it looks like a jigsaw puzzle- they usually will make joints right in the same place where the header/trimmer joint is, which is just asking for it to crack. Something about the way the framing moves will usually make those joints crack with seasonal changes. Sometimes on ceiling cracks, you will find that the drywall on one side of the crack isn't secured very well (maybe it almost misses the joist) and as a result the joint will fail.

So I guess what I'm getting at is that in some cases, retaping and mudding it is not necessarily the whole answer.
 
  #5  
Old 09-25-13, 07:28 AM
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It's a knock down texture on both walls and ceiling. Turns out there wasn't a stud or cripple above the door of the first joint I did. Looks like maybe a 6" header so I screwed the sheetrock to that. and hope it is screwed to something at the top.

Thanks for your replies. I'll try that compound. I used an all purpose compound yesterday and so far it looks good. I need to finish it today.
 
  #6  
Old 09-25-13, 11:51 AM
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The cracks I taped yesterday look good. So I decided to move on to one at the corner of a window. I think I found the jigsaw puzzle style XSleep mentioned. I took off the previous mesh repair and the original paper tape that was under the cracked area. I'm not sure how to deal with the tape in that corner though. I'm going to try to attach pictures but as you view the pictures, remember that I said I am not skilled at this.

It was a big, bulging crack from the ceiling, straight down the joint to the spot marked with a red X, and then a flat, jagged crack from the X to below the corner of the window. The crack didn't follow the joint from X to A. I haven't scraped down to the sheetrock there yet. I removed the mesh tape and compound from the last fix and can't find the crack in the texture now.

I removed the tape from X to A until I saw that it wrapped around the edge of the window. This is where I'm stumped. How do I handle the joint from X to A? Should I leave the tail of that tape so I can lap over it, or cut it flush with the edge of window? And how should I handle the place where there was a jagged crack from the X to below the window corner?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

Edited to add: There is a stud behind the main joint and the piece on the right is a full sheet. I only removed the tape under the crack. I ran the point of the blade across the area and couldn't find any nails but they have to be there somewhere. The only thing I found were nail holes from curtain rods.
 
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  #7  
Old 09-25-13, 02:41 PM
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Around the window opening has metal corner edging under the drywall mud and most likely that is hiding any nails. The other nails will be under the tape that is between the ceiling and the wall. You may have to poke around and find where the header and the king studs are located to see if you can add some screws to keep the joint from moving. Run tape on the main crack and put a small piece next to it in the same direction to lap over the horizontal crack.

Again, you are defeating your efforts by using regular joint compound on the tape and skim coats. The setting compound is harder and more resistant to cracks. Use the joint compound for the texture match of the knockdown only.
 
  #8  
Old 09-25-13, 03:11 PM
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Thanks, I'll do that. I used the all purpose before I read the advice here. But I've got the other now so will use it on these and and future cracks.
 
  #9  
Old 09-30-13, 11:27 AM
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Finished, thanks to everyone here. Thank you!
 
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  #10  
Old 09-30-13, 03:53 PM
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Looks REALLY good, PainterLou! Thanks for the pics!
 
  #11  
Old 09-30-13, 05:04 PM
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A+ Got here late but here is some interesting reading;http://www.curee.org/projects/EDA/do...A03-public.pdf

Be sure to open the joint with a can opener for a fillet to hold the setting mud which gives an added strength (bonding the two board edges together) bond rather than only the paper tape on the surface.
Nice job! Hints for others; Matching a textured wall finish - YouTube

Gary
 
  #12  
Old 09-30-13, 07:48 PM
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Thank you. I used the Homax Texture Touch up hand sprayer. Wall & Ceiling Texture Touch Up It worked pretty well and wasn't too messy. The texture is different than my walls only because the wall texture has 6 or 7 coats of paint over it. But someone would have to stand on a step ladder to really tell the difference.

That is some interesting reading Gary. I think I'd have to read it 6 or 7 times to be able to understand it but I got the gist I think. Interesting that setting compound was adequate in the smaller cracks. I also have noticed that the newer construction around us has wall board set horizontally instead of vertically and wondered why. Now I know.

You lost me on opening the joint with a can opener though.

The area we are in is located between two fault lines and I have wondered how long houses on slab foundations will last with the constant movement. At least pier and beam can be repaired without permanent damage to the foundation. In any case, I know I will be repairing cracks again someday. I only repaired the cracks in one room so far. Four more rooms to go.
 
  #13  
Old 09-30-13, 08:01 PM
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I think the can opener is the old style bottle opener kind... and if you drag it down the joint, it will create a "V" that will hold more setting compound that a narrow crack would. Took me a second to figure it out too. I was thinking about opening the bucket with the can opener at first. LOL
 
  #14  
Old 09-30-13, 08:34 PM
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Yes, that makes sense. 24, 25
 
  #15  
Old 10-01-13, 03:18 AM
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I've never used a can opener on cracks but the edge of a putty knife or screwdriver works well - a must when repairing plaster cracks!
 
  #16  
Old 10-01-13, 08:32 PM
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Any tool to open the joint crack up in order to add enough (1/4", min.) setting mud to bond the two sheets at the side edges in addition to on top. Repairing Plaster Cracks, by Peter and Noelle Lord - Old-House Journal

Old Plaster Repair FAQ

Gary
 
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