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Old 12-22-2008, 07:44 AM   #1
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


I have a crack in the drywall running vertically next to a window frame in my wall. I am assuming to fix it I just spread spackle in it and sand?

Should I be using spacke or joint compound?
Do I need to put tape over the crack as well?

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Old 12-23-2008, 11:44 AM   #2
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


To do the repair properly, you need to tape the crack to (hopefully) keep it from coming back. Sounds like you may have some settling or wood "movement" issues, so it could be a repair you'll have to repeat. It's not uncommon around doors and windows. If so, tear out the old tape before repairing again. I've never used spackle, but I don't think it will last for long........

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Old 12-23-2008, 10:37 PM   #3
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


as stated above you need to open the crack up and tape it properly to make a lasting repair. Forget about the spackle as the crack will return quickly.

To repair these cracks, I like to open them up slightly clean out any loose debris, put down a strip of fiberglass mesh tape, one coat of 20min mud to set the tape and two coats of joint compound to finish, let dry, sand and paint.

Last edited by jensenconstruction; 12-23-2008 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:45 PM   #4
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


Also remember that the tape repair for a tiny narrow crack is going to be much wider. You'll want to feather the joint compound out a few inches in each direction so the thickness of the tape doesn't show. Use some primer over the dried compound before painting.

You can of course fill the crack with spackle and paint it. Nothing wrong with using spackle for that. However, the crack will inevitably open up again if the settlement or movement continues.
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:56 PM   #5
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


thekctermite, who would ellisje007 contact to take a look at that and determine what is causing the crack? It seems like filling the crack is just putting a band-aid on the problem. Unless it's an old house and has finished settling and the crack has been there a long time without getting bigger, won't it just crack again and again until the cause of the problem is found and fixed?
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:34 PM   #6
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


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Originally Posted by gma2rjc View Post
thekctermite, who would ellisje007 contact to take a look at that and determine what is causing the crack? It seems like filling the crack is just putting a band-aid on the problem. Unless it's an old house and has finished settling and the crack has been there a long time without getting bigger, won't it just crack again and again until the cause of the problem is found and fixed?
Well, I would ask them to make some educated guesses first as to why it happened. Did something happen to influence it like having the heat / cooling off for an extended period of time? I've seen a house develop many cracks rapidly once HVAC was off. Was there any physical damage to either side of the wall that caused it?
If it is a foundation problem, I would talk to a licensed firm that specializes in foundation work or a structural engineer or both.

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Old 12-29-2008, 08:11 AM   #7
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


Unfortunately I live in a condo so I can't really control foundation issues. The condo is kind of old...built in the early 80's and the crack has been here ever since we lived here (~ 4 years).

Is "20min mud" spackle or joint compound or neither?
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:02 AM   #8
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


It is a powder, "setting type" joint compound. (Available in 20, 45, and 90 min.) You mix it with water and it "sets" hard enough in the specified time (or close to it) to allow multiple coats in a few hours time. And it sets harder than regular ready mixed joint compound so, hopefully, the crack won't come back. You can mix small amounts in a mud pan for small repairs. Put about an inch of water in the pan and add powder until a creamy consistency is reached. Clean your tools before the compound sets up.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:17 AM   #9
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


When you apply the fast-setting compound, fill just the crack and don't leave any excess outside of the crack. That stuff works really well, but it's hard to sand.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:38 AM   #10
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


gma2rjc makes a good point, the setting compounds are somewhat harder to sand. But as stated above, you will need to tape the crack (either type of tape). So using several thin coats of mud over the tape rather than piling on a heavy coat and trying to cover in one shot is the way to go. Setting compound does not shrink nearly as much as regular mud. You can pre-fill the crack before taping if you want, but it's not really necessary....
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Old 12-29-2008, 04:51 PM   #11
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


Do you own or are you just renting? If renting, personally, I would use spackle and be done with it. If you are renting for a l-o-n-g time, you are probably going to have to do this again. Also, it depends on your geography. I am originally from the San Francisco bay area where i have in the past used a LOT of spackle due to earthquakes and settling. Jean123
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:55 PM   #12
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Spackle or Joint Compound For Crack


It sounds like you own your condo, but if you are renting, it would be best to let your landlord take a look at it. He may want to have it looked at to find the cause of the crack and have it fixed by a professional.

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