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Cracks In Ceiling Keep Reappearing

Question: I have cracks in my ceiling. I repair them using a joint compound and a few months later they reappear. How can I eliminate them?

Answer: It is difficult to stop the reappearance of ceiling cracks because in most cases they are caused by the shifting and settling of the home. You did not say whether this was a plaster or drywall ceiling.

You can try to use a fiberglass tape, as shown in Figure 1, over the crack and then feather out the drywall compound a good 8 inches on either side of the tape.

fiberglass joint tape

Figure 1 - Fiberglass joint tape

Another method would be to hang another layer (or if this is plaster a layer) of 1/4 inch drywall in the opposite direction to the current drywall that is on the ceiling. This will make the ceiling stronger and may prevent the cracks from appearing.

Make sure that you screw the drywall into the ceiling rafters and not just into the current drywall or plaster as the case maybe. Also, do not get lazy with the amount of screws that you use to hang the drywall to the ceiling.

At a minimum you want to have screws every 6 inches on center on the ends of a 4 foot sheet of drywall and 12 inches in the center of the sheet. I would also put some construction adhesive on both sides of any ceiling cracks before I raised the drywall into position.

If the drywall is cracking at the joint between the ceiling drywall and the wall drywall you may have a relatively common problem known as roof truss uplift.