Plaster cracks can be a scary sight to see in any house, especially your own. It can also be a bad sight for potential buyers and inspectors to see when viewing your home. The best option is to repair it and find the underlying issue of the cracks. New Jersey Plastering, who fixed my friend’s plaster ceiling in New Jersey, says that often times, these cracks happen as a house ages and settles into the ground. So, it’s a quick fix. 

So, how do you repair plaster ceiling cracks? Cut a deep V-notch around ¼ to ½” around the crack. You can open the notch and vacuum any debris or excess plaster.

Clean the area with a damp washcloth before putting a setting compound like Durabond. Let it dry and then you can sand down any excess to make the ceiling level. Let dry and then paint.

This article will go into detail on how to repair your plaster ceiling cracks. There are reasons behind the cracks that you’ll want to research in case there needs to be more fixing to be done.

There are also various steps you can do depending on your comfort level with repairing the cracks. Lastly, we’ll discuss how to maintain the repair and prevent cracks. 

Why Do Plaster Cracks Happen?  

Houses settle as they age and the movement can create cracks. Often houses will settle on their foundation, which is a natural process as the house ages. Often the house will shift or move subtly over time. These movements cause cracks in the ceiling. These are the least troublesome cracks since you can simply repair the ceiling and be done with it. 

Plaster cracks can also be due to water leaks. Water damage can also cause these cracks, which is a bigger issue. If it was a one-time occurrence, like a freak storm, you can easily repair the cracks and dry out the area to prevent water damage. If it is due to a pipe leak or recurring water leaks, you’ll have to replace the plaster and piping or cause of the leak. 

Lastly, if you have multiple cracks it could be a sign of falling foundation. This is another big-ticket item that will need more than just a ceiling repair. You can tell if it’s a falling foundation by going outside and looking at your home. A sagging roof is a sure sign something is wrong with the foundation. You’ll want to call a foundation expert to inspect it. 

What Do I Need To Repair My Ceiling? 

Sharp blades to make the cuts around the cracks. You’ll need a variety of sharp blades to make the cuts. With anything sharp, you’ll also want to wear protective gloves and goggles to keep any debris or dust from getting in your eyes. A mask wouldn’t hurt to protect your lungs. 

You’ll need a setting joint compound or plaster. This is what will adhere to the plaster and the beams of your ceiling. It will prevent further cracks or potential pieces falling from the ceiling. You can use Durabond or plaster since both do the same job. You have a bit more flexibility with Durabond since it doesn’t dry as quickly. 

Sand it down so the ceiling is level. You can sand down sandable Durabond or plaster before painting the ceiling to make sure the repair is level with the other parts of your ceiling. This is also the time to check and make sure your plaster isn’t dented. If it is, you can repair that with an additional coat of plaster or Durabond, it just takes additional time.

How Do I Fix A Bad Repair Job?

Be sure you know why the repair job was bad. If you’re going in to repair someone else’s work, be sure you know the reason why the dent or additional cracks are there. It can be due to a poor setting or if there was water damage after the initial fix. You may be better off reopening the area and surveying it before simply putting another coat over it. 

Repair it like it was the initial repair. Simply follow the steps you would do if it hadn’t been repaired at all. This can fix any issues the previous person did or mistake that you may have done while doing it the first time. There’s no shame in repairing your own work! It happens, the important thing is to fix your mistakes and learn from them. 

Call in the professionals. If you don’t feel qualified to fix the crack and worry that you’ll only make it worse by trying to DIY it, call in the professionals. They can fix the cracks for you as well as check for any additional damage or worrying sights you might want to be aware of, such as falling foundation or leaks. They will also be able to refer out if needed. 


We’ve discussed how to repair plaster ceiling cracks and why they may happen in your home. Hopefully, this article was helpful! 

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