Covering up cracks in internal walls

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Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 6:39 pm

Covering up cracks in internal walls

Post by GSJ »

Hi all,

I have a Victorian-era property (c1900, single-fronted, semi-detached, workers cottage) in Melbourne, Australia and need to tap into some of your experience with these properties in the UK.

The property sits on reactive clay soil foundations and due to this and various other factors, has experienced movement over the years. The property is not expected to collape, but eliminating movement all together is unlikely, particularly that associated with seasonal climate variations. Having said, that attempts to minimise future movement eg. by removing large trees are being undertaken.

As a result of this movement, the house has a number of cracks in the internal walls, that cosmetically do not look very nice. They are up to 10mm diameter in some areas.

A geotechnical engineers report is planned at some stage, to investigate the movement related issues in greater depth (an initial pre-purchase building inspection has already been done by an architect).

What I want to find out is what techniques people have used to cover up these cracks and improve the cosmetic appearance of these properties, in preparation for re-sale/re-rental/re-valuation?

I had this discussion in an Australian renovation forum (the link to the relevant thread is as follows: ... hp?t=35613) and the following ideas were brought up:

1. Get a plasterer to fix the cracks properly (the downside of this is that if there is ongoing movement, the cracks will just re-open).

2. Use a flexible sealant and paint over (some people have said this does not look good even when painted over? have to use textured paints, but it does at least allow for some degree of future movement).

3. Put new plasterboard sheeting on top (this is more flexible and less likely to crack, but will involve removing then replacing architraves/skirtings etc. so will be expensive).

4. A suggestion from a UK company was to do ´crack stitching´, a process that is described by the company Helifix (the link is: They use ´helibars´ to structurally re-inforce/stabilise a building, and this allows for further movement. They then re-point/re-plaster/re-paint over the cracks.

5. I had another thought, what about covering up the cracks in the walls with a strong, flexible type of wall covering? Vinyl perhaps? This would be like the plasterboard sheeting option, as the vinyl may be flexible and allow for further movement??? Maybe much cheaper though? I am not sure how it would look?

Are there any thoughts/comments regarding this???
Any other suggestions/ideas???

I am running out of ideas in Australia, so am keen to tap into your knowledge base/experiences with period properties like mine



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Post by d18mike »

May not have your solution, but I can add a few ideas to your bucket. A few years ago I had some shifting problems in an out building with a poor foundation.I essentially used a combo of your suggestions #1 and #2.

I dug the cracks (about 30) substantially deeper (as deep as I could) and wider with a knife, then I filled them 3/4 of the way with a flexible sealant. I let that dry (rubberize) a few days and then used a standard spackle for the remaining 1/4. This allowed me to paint and the surface and the somewhat larger more flexible cracks were able to acccommdate some of the movement. This was not a 100% solution. I still get cracks. The building is still "active." But the cracks I filled generally stayed filled. Maybe 20% were incurable based on the shifting weight/stress points the building. But it helped. Might be worth a test. Really not as much work as it sounds. And it was about $10 of material.

I failed intially becase I didn't use enough flex sealant. The spackle should really just be a paintable topper.

I know they make silicone spackle (see story below)which is presumably paintable but I have never been able to locate. Must be special formulation. ... rdt3.shtml

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Post by GSJ »


Thanks for that excellent suggestion.

I think the combination of a proper crack fix with flexible sealant and spackle is pure genius!

Of all the ideas, I think this combination makes the most sense, is the simplest and most cost-effective.

Will try this.


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Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:39 am

Re: Covering up cracks in internal walls

Post by liawilliam »

Crack in the wall is an eyesore. It is mainly due to the natural settling of a house over time; you can repair a cracked wall in a short period of time. Drywall cracking is severe and there are other indications of significant settling structural problems, before repairing the drywall, it is very helpful for you to have a home inspection by a qualified building professional like Building Inspector in Perth.

Fixing drywall - Fixing a crack in drywall is the easiest way.
Use a utility knife to cut a 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch V-notch along the length of the crack.
Cover the crack with mesh joint compound and paper tape, followed by a thin layer of joint compound, extending about 2 inches on each side of the tape.
Allow time to dry.
Apply another coat of joint compound, approximately 6 - 7 inches on either side of the crack.
Allow drying overnight. Lightly sand until it becomes smooth.

Concrete wall - To repair a concrete wall, you will need an epoxy repair kit. The epoxy will make a watertight seal in the crack.

The majority of cracks are caused by settlement in the house and expansion and contraction of the building materials during the settling. These cracks are easily repaired with simple tools.

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Re: Covering up cracks in internal walls

Post by HB »

I drill holes in the plaster where its loose and inject Loctite adhesive caulk into the holes and then screw the plaster back to the wall and lathe with deck screws in a fender washer. After 24 hours i remove the washer and the screw And the glue holds a plaster tight to the wall.

Once I’ve glued and screwed the wall I hit all the large deviations with Dura bond plaster in the brown bag To roughly level the wall.

Once the wall is mostly leveled I cover it with fiberglass mesh and then do a final skim coat with Dura bond.
In my area Home Depot sells 36 inch wide rolls of the self-adhesive fiberglass mesh. This material is typically used for stucco but it works great for interior plaster.

I’ve done this over severely damaged walls in my 200-year-old house and the cracks have not re- appeared.
The lord hates a coward....

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