How to Repair Cracked Drywall Taped Seams

Step by Step Instructions on Repairing Cracked Drywall Taped Seams

By Mark J. Donovan




Cracked drywall tape typically occurs because there was insufficient joint compound applied underneath the drywall tape when it was applied to the drywall seams. When insufficient joint compound is not applied underneath the drywall tape, air bubbles form and appear as bulges on the wall. Over time, the drywall tape begins to separate from the wall and drywall tape lines begin to show. Fortunately it is relatively easy to repair cracked drywall taped seams.

To repair cracked drywall tape seams the best solution is to remove the old cracked drywall tape.

To do this use a utility knife and score the edges of the drywall tape just beyond the bad edges of the tape.

Next, run a utility knife down the center length of the cracked drywall taped section.

Remove the cracked drywall tape section using your hands. You may need to use the utility knife to lift the edges to start the process.

After removing the drywall tape, use 100 grit sandpaper or drywall sanding screen and sand over the seam. The purpose of this is twofold (1) to remove much of the old joint compound and (2) to rough up the surface to enable better adhesion of the new joint compound. After sanding the cracked seam, wipe it down with a rag to remove any dust.

Now apply mesh drywall tape over the seam. Apply the sticky side surface to the wall.

Alternatively you can use paper drywall tape however you will first need to apply a layer of joint compound over the seam to imbed the paper tape into. Use a 6” drywall taping knife to apply the tape to the wall.

After applying the drywall tape to the wall, apply a thin layer of joint compound over the tape and allow it to thoroughly dry. Again, use a 6” wide drywall taping knife to apply this layer of joint compound.

After the first coat of joint compound has dried, apply a second coat of joint compound over it, however use a 10” wide drywall knife and flare out the seams to about 6 inches wide.

Also, just prior to applying the second coat of joint compound you may want to use your 6” taping knife to knock off any high spots on the first application of joint compound.

After the second coat of joint compound has fully dried, apply a final skim coat of joint compound, again using the 10” drywall knife and flaring out the seams a little more, to approximately 10-12 inches.

Once the third application of joint compound has dried use drywall sanding screen to gently blend in the joint compound edges into the surrounding drywall wall panel area. Make sure you are careful to not sand too much over the actual drywall tape.

Immediately wipe down the wall and vacuum up the dust.

How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole EBook

Finally apply a coat of primer over the repaired cracked drywall taped seam, and then paint the entire wall.


For information on repairing a large drywall hole, see the “How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole” Ebook from HomeAdditionPlus.com.  The “How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole” Ebook provides step-by-step instructions on how to repair your damaged wall so that it looks as good as new.

See HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Drywall Calculator

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