How to Fix Cracks Between Ceiling and Wall: The Definitive Guide

how to fix cracks between ceiling and wall

Last Updated on October 2, 2023

Ceilings are one of the most important elements of home design because they define space. Cracks between the ceiling and walls can be unsightly, but they can also indicate a more serious issue.  

These cracks are the result of either the drywall or plaster expanding or contracting with changes in temperature or humidity. They can be caused by many things, such as movement in the house, weather changes, or even just age. No matter what the cause, it’s important to fix them as soon as possible to prevent further damage and to keep your home looking its best.

Left unchecked, these fissures will grow into larger issues that may require more expensive repairs down the road. We’ve got step-by-step directions on how to fix cracks between ceiling and wall using materials readily found at any hardware store. But before we get into that, let’s talk about why this crack happens in the first place.

Why Do Cracks Happen?

A crack is formed when one type of material expands or contracts faster than another. Common reasons for cracks between ceilings and walls are:


Cracked concrete wall

Ceiling and wall material will shift and crack as they expand or contract. Consolidating 2 materials with different expansion rates like wood studs with drywall.

The most common areas that experience this are windows, doors, fans, light fixtures, and exhaust vents. As the seasons change so do humidity levels potentially causing cracks in your ceilings.

Water Damage

Water damage

Water seepage behind wallboards can cause them to expand or swell which will result in a crack in the ceiling. Repairing any water issues before you touch the crack in your ceiling will help ensure everything goes smoothly.

Movement in the House

As your home settles, it’s normal for walls to crack along the drywall seams which are held together by screws so they can shift slightly.



When the humidity in your home changes, so will the size of your walls and ceiling. This is more likely to happen if there is a large difference between the temperature on the inside and outside of your house.


Year of wear and tear

You may find that a year of wear and tear causes cracks to show up before other issues arise. Aging causes stress to building materials which can eventually lead to flaking paint, loose nails, or even larger problems like ceiling collapse. Fixing these smaller issues now will ensure your ceiling is in good shape for the future.

Identify the Type of Crack You Have

There are a few different types of cracks. There are straight cracks caused by your house settling, this is the easiest to fix. The second type is a crack that runs with the grain of the ceiling board and they tend to be longer and harder to fix. Finally, if you have a crack that zigzags across your ceiling then there is most likely a leak in the roof.

Fixing Straight Cracks

If you have straight cracks (from your house settling) then all you need to do is spackle over it. Use some light sandpaper to scuff up the surface of the ceiling and wall beforehand, making sure there aren’t any bumps or ridges that will hinder the spackle from adhering to the surface. Make sure that the spackle is spread evenly and thinly, any thicker than a pea and you may run into more problems in the future. Fix all of the cracks in your ceiling before moving on to do another coat of spackle.

Fixing Grain Cracks

This crack is most likely caused by soffits, another name for this is eaves. This happens when the roof overhangs are not supported properly. If these are not fixed then they will keep popping up in the same spot every time. It’s best to have a contractor come out and fix these issues if you cannot do it yourself.

Fixing Zigzag Cracks

If you have a crack that runs along the length of your ceiling, this is caused by a leak in the roof. The best way to fix this would be to call a professional as they know how to spot these problems.

How to Fix Cracks Between Ceiling and Wall?

What You’ll Need

To repair this crack, you’re going to need a few things and luckily most of these items can be found in your very own house.


Something that will fill the crack and keep it from getting any larger is what we need here. There are different types of caulk depending on the type of project you’re working on such as a watertight seal in a bathtub, a waterproof seal in a shower, etc. so make sure to get the appropriate one for this project.

Putty knife

You can purchase these at your local hardware store or dollar store and they are very cost-effective ways to smooth out any caulk that seeps out from between the wall and ceiling.


Light sanding of the wall where you plan on applying caulk for this project will help create a better “key” so the paint sticks to it. Make sure you get one that is not too coarse or your paint won’t stick well and if it’s too fine, it’ll just get stuck in the crack.


You’ll need to paint over the repaired area, so get the one that’s the closest match to your current wall color, just in case it is slightly different.

How To Fix The Crack?

It’s time for action now, let us begin fixing this crack between the wall and ceiling. Follow these steps to succeed in repairing this problem

1. Cut the Tape

Cut the tape

First, you need to cut the siding material that is buckled. Use a putty knife or drywall saw and carefully cut the sheetrock tape until it is flush with the wall.

2. Fill in the Crack

Fill in the crack 1
use a putty knife
Fill in the crack 2

Once you have removed any excess material, take a putty knife or a caulking gun and fill in the space with caulk. You want to be sure that the gap is completely filled, but you also want to make sure that there are no gaps or seams in your caulking.

3. Allow Time for the Caulk to Dry

Once you have applied the caulk, allow it time to dry until it becomes tacky. This usually takes around five minutes so if you are in a hurry, you will need to move quickly.

4. Smooth Out the Caulk

Smooth out the caulk

Now comes the most tedious part of this process. You want to make sure that any excess caulk is smoothed out and you know how important it is not to skip this step because if there are any ridges or weird bumps in your wall, it will be visible. Be sure to keep the putty knife or drywall saw nearby so you can fix any mistakes before they dry.

5. Sanding


Sand down any rough edges and apply paint if desired, or you can putty over the area for a finished look.

6. Paint

If your ceiling is unfinished, you should use a proper joint compound to fill in the gap between the walls and ceiling before painting as usual. You don’t want that gap there and if you do not patch it, your paint will be more likely to peel and bubble.

If done correctly this process should look like nothing ever happened once you paint your walls. Your walls will be crack-free, smooth, and ready for another coat of paint. Just remember if you don’t want to do this process again, use some type of adhesive before applying the sheetrock tape.


What Causes Cracks in the Drywall?

Ans. Drywall is a very thin material and even with the addition of a joint compound, it still is not tough enough to deal with changes in temperature and humidity. These extreme conditions can cause swelling cracks in your drywall.

What Does Joint Tape Do?

Ans. Joint tape compresses against the existing wall surface and compresses the joints to create a flat and smooth surface. It also helps prevent cracks in your walls from the weight of the new drywall.

How Can I Patch My Cracked Walls Without Painting Them First?

Ans. You can use a joint compound or spackle to patch the holes. Just remember that these materials dry out quickly so only patch a small hole at a time and you will need to sand down your patched wall before painting it or applying wallpaper.

What is Caulking and How Do You Apply it to a Gap Between the Ceiling and the Wall?

Ans. You can buy caulk at any hardware store and they usually come in tubes that attach to any standard caulking gun. Just place the tip of your tube into the crack and pull on the trigger to release some caulk in the gap. Smooth it with a putty knife or your fingers. Allow it to dry for five minutes before painting or to wallpaper over the area.


If you are looking for a solution to repair cracks in your drywall, this article is perfect for you. Also if you want to know how to fix cracks between the ceiling and wall without sanding it down first, read along!

I hope this article was of help to people who are looking for answers on what to do about their cracked walls, and what the best way is to fix them.

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How to Fix Cracks Between Ceiling and Wall: The Definitive Guide

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