Why Drywall Cracks: How to Prevent and Fix Issues

Drywall is a critical component of building structure and aesthetics. It’s important to pay careful attention when you work with drywall because of the tendency for cracks to form if the installation is not done properly.

Drywall cracks can lead to many other problems such as weakening the building, wall, structure, and more. Especially when installing drywall around a door, you should pay special attention to the potential for drywall cracks.

To avoid complications and ensure the best quality, you need to know what causes drywall cracks, how to prevent them, and how to repair them.

Causes of Drywall Cracks

Most drywall cracks occur on the seams, where two pieces of drywall meet. Usually the seams are invisible due to the use of drywall mud and tape. The mud fills in the seam, and the tape covers it up. Cracks form due to stress placed on the seams. These cracks tend to occur around high-stress areas like windows, door frames, and corners.

This stress can come from many sources. Temperature fluctuations can cause the drywall to expand and contract creating stress that cracks the seams. The building is always settling, and this causes stress in the walls that can create a crack in the drywall. Settling can be worse if the building is constructed on fill-dirt. This soft material at the foundation leads to more settling and movement.

Some drywall cracks could have been prevented by better installation. The cracked seam could have been made stronger with better mud or tape. However for some cracks, there is nothing that can be done. The seams can only be so strong, so some stresses will just be too much for the seam to handle without cracking.

Another problem that can occur in drywall is nail popping. The nails that hold the drywall in place on the stud actually start to pull out. This causes dimpling on the drywall surface. The good news is that these unsightly problems can be prevented or easily repaired.

How To Prevent Drywall Cracks

The best way to prevent drywall cracks is a good installation. You want to make the seams are as strong as possible, so you can’t take short cuts. You must use the right drywall mud and tape in order to strengthen the seams and prevent cracks.

There are several grades of drywall mud. Some are more adhesive than others. The most adhesive muds are the best for the first coat. On second and third coats, you can use a lower grade mud. Look for quick-setting “hot” mud or all-purpose drywall compound for the first coat. Then use a lightweight mud for the finishing coats. Using the right mud will create the strongest seams that resist cracking.

Using the right tape is also important. Traditionally, drywall seams are covered with a paper tape. A fiberglass mesh tape is also available. It is generally agreed that paper tape is stronger and prevents cracks better. Avoid using mesh tape unless you are going to use the “hot” quick-setting drywall mud.

Nail popping can be avoided by choosing high quality lumber for the studs of the wall. Nail popping can be caused by the warping of the studs, so using higher quality lumber will prevent this warping. You can also apply an adhesive on the studs before hanging the drywall to make sure it will not pull away. Using more nails can help distribute the stress and prevent the nails from pulling away from the stud.

Read the rest of this article on the WB Doors blog here: http://www.wbdoors.com/blog-layout/drywall-cracks-causes-prevention-and-repairs