Fix Small Wall Cracks Quick and Easy

Making your home presentable for company may be easier than you think, even if it involves fixing small wall cracks.

Do-it-yourselfers can easily fix many plaster and wallboard cracks around their homes with a minimal investment in both time and materials. 

While these imperfections are easy to ignore on a daily basis, they can suddenly seem to be gaping flaws when guests are scheduled to visit. Fortunately, most small cracks and holes in plaster and wallboard can be repaired quickly and easily using inexpensive materials.

United States Gypsum Company, a leading manufacturer of gypsum board and plaster products, offers the following tips for completing the repairs.
Prep the area. For plaster walls, begin by pushing against the crack to determine how soft the surrounding wall area is. Remove loose material with a screwdriver and clean the area with a slightly dampened paintbrush or sponge to remove any remaining dust. 
Gather your materials. You’ll need a utility knife; a 4- to 6-inch-wide drywall knife; an 8- to 10-inch-wide drywall knife; joint tape for wider cracks; a ready-mixed or powdered joint compound product, such as SHEETROCK® Brand Lightweight Setting-Type Joint Compound (EASY SAND™); safety goggles and dust mask; and either a fine, 150-grade sandpaper or a sponge. 
Fill with a first coat. Fine to small drywall and plaster cracks require only one application of joint compound, while deeper cracks require two or more coats of compound. Using a 4- to 6-inch-wide putty knife, apply a generous amount of joint compound over the crack. Angle the knife to force compound into the crack and then smooth it out as if you were spreading frosting on a cake. Allow the compound to dry completely before sanding or applying additional coats (for deeper cracks). 
Reinforce deeper or wider cracks with joint tape. For larger cracks, apply a thin coat of compound over the crack. Then embed a strip of joint tape into the compound to bridge the crack. Draw a knife firmly over the crack to tightly embed the tape. Allow this coat to dry completely. 
Apply a coat of joint compound over the tape to level the repair. Apply a generous amount of compound with a drywall knife and smooth and feather the compound out along the edges of the repaired area. Let the repair harden and apply another coat of compound, if necessary. 
Smooth the surface once the wall is completely dry. Lightly sand the edges of the repaired area with fine sandpaper or a damp sponge. 
Prime and paint. To ensure a uniform finished surface, prime the patched area with a high-quality primer or flat wall paint. Wait until the primer dries completely before applying a new coat of paint.