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Cracks in Drywall: 5 Steps to a Permanent Fix with 3M Patch Plus Primer

fix drywall cracks permanently

Do you have a crack in your drywall that keeps coming back?

Today’s post will help you fix this annoying problem in 5 easy steps using 3M’s Patch Plus Primer.

This weekend I was cleaning out the guinea pig cage that sits in our living room (did you know guinea pigs can live from 5 to 8 years, what the!!!) and noticed a crack in our wall under the window.

Apparently the previous homeowners tried to fix it since there was evidence of old joint compound around the crack.

Dealing with old rental homes has taught me a thing or two about drywall and plaster. After reading this post I guarantee you’ll be able to permanently fix any drywall crack in no time.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


That’s not a bad supply list.  My grocery list puts it to shame and is far more expensive (and that’s without buying Dogfish Head IPA beer).

Let’s get started and eliminate your cracked drywall 🙂


Step 1: Apply Fiberglass Mesh Tape to Your Drywall Crack

One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make is to just add joint compound or spackling to the drywall crack. Over time the crack will come back because the compound or spackling will never win the fight between it and your house settling. It’s like Pee Wee Herman challenging Mike Tyson.

Adding fiberglass mesh drywall tape to the crack is like giving Pee Wee anabolic steroids.

Cracks in Drywall Use mesh tape

Center the tape on the crack. Since one side is sticky you can place it on the wall and get your Patch Plus Primer ready.

Cracks in Drywall Mesh Tape over Crack

Step 2: Add a Thin Coat of Patch Plus Primer to the Drywall Tape

3M Patch Plus Primer is great for repairing cracks or holes in drywall because it doesn’t require a primer coat like traditional joint compound.  So you save time and money 🙂

Cracks in Drywall-3M Patch Plus Primer

Big Tip: when you buy 3M Patch Plus Primer at the hardware store make sure it hasn’t been opened. Otherwise, it might be bad and unusable. The same principle applies to any product that comes in a container (including pre-mixed joint compound).

Apply a thin coat of Patch Plus Primer over your mesh tape. Just enough to fill the voids and make the tape adhere even more to the wall.

Cracks in Drywall Add Spackling to Tape

If your crack is long (say 2-5 feet) I recommend applying the patch plus primer to the tape with a 6 inch drywall knife. To do this, you’ll have to scoop some of the Patch Plus Primer into a mud pan to use the larger knife.

Cracks in Drywall Add spackling to mud pan

Add the spackling by starting in the middle of the tape. Spread the spackling on the tape in a downward motion from the center. Then go back and add the rest of the spackling moving upward from the center of the tape.

This stretches the tape along the crack and prevents it from wrinkling.

Allow this coat to dry for 30 minutes and watch 1 episode of Big Bang Theory.

Step 3: Add Your Second Coat of Patch Plus Primer 

The reason for the light coat of 3M Patch Plus Primer in Step 1 is so you don’t have a big hump on your wall where the tape is located.

Use your 6 inch knife to put on a second coat of the Patch Plus Primer.

Make the width of the new coat be two inches to the right and 2 inches left of the center of the tape.

Then smooth out the spackling with your 6 inch drywall knife like you did in Step 2 (always starting in the center and moving toward the ends).

The key tip I have here is to apply slightly more pressure on the side of the knife that touches the drywall. This pressure change will feather the Patch Plus Primer and blend it into the existing drywall.

Cracks in Drywall Feather the outer edge of the Patch Plus PrimerDepending on your skill and how perfect you want the wall you may have to apply a 3rd coat.

Step 4: Lightly Sand the Patch Plus Primer 

For small drywall repair jobs I like to use a fine grit sanding sponge to feather the edges of spackling or joint compound. Lightly move the sanding sponge in a circular motion over the patched area. Circular motions will help blend the patch into the drywall.

It will take a well trained eye to notice where you made your repair.

Step 5: Paint Your Wall

The best part about the 3M Patch Plus Primer is that you don’t have to prime it.

Patch Plus Primer can be painted over after 30 minutes. Use a good quality paint brush or roller. I’ve been using a Purdy 2 inch brush for 2 years now and while the handle is rusted, the bristles look fantastic. I always rinse my brush in warm water then wrap it in Glad Press N Seal. Brittany also has a great tutorial on keeping your paint brushes looking new.

The wall looks pretty darn good, wouldn’t you say?

Cracks in Drywall-Finished look with Patch Plus Primer

I’m gonna go out on a limb here but I think even Dr. Evil would be pleased with this job.

Cracks in Drywall-Dr Evil would be pleased

Now you know the secret to permanently fixing a drywall crack. This entire project can be done in one afternoon or over the weekend without breaking a sweat.

Stick around for a while! We have a lot more home and auto fixes and repairs for you:

Home & Auto Fixes and Repairs


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88 replies
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  1. KAREN
    KAREN says:


    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Karen, my initial though is that the drywall finisher didn’t use enough joint compound under the tape or the compound wasn’t wet enough to absorb into the tape. Unfortunately you might have to have it redone.

  2. Norma
    Norma says:

    Hi, I bought a 1995/1997 house 2 yrs ago. I’ve noticed many areas on the ceilings along the joints and coming down the walls along the joints there are cracks appearing. Do I need to replace the drywall or just repair it. There are also some areas where patch work was done to prior cracks and it looks bad. There is also a portion of the ceiling and wall where I was told a wall was taken down to make the room bigger, but the repair looks tough. There are very thick lines visible along the wall and ceiling where there used to be a wall. Can this all be fixed with joint compound/spackling or replace the drywall?

  3. BOB
    BOB says:

    Have a 2006 manuf mobile double home in a 12x 12 foot room the ceiling is cracked from one end to the other. The thing is the 4×16 sheet of wall board is cracked right down the middle there is nothing to nail it to how can I fix this without taking the whole ceiling panel down.
    Thanks Bob

    CHERRI says:

    Can you help with corners? Every ceiling to wall junction is separating ALOT…don’t think the guys actually used ANYTHING under the tape. Some seams in the walls have appeared which didn’t even have tape.

    I can fix those now because of your advice…but what about ceiling to wall junctures….

  5. Marsha
    Marsha says:

    I have thin cracks appearing at drywall joints on the wall and ceiling. My ceiling is vaulted and that crack is in the joint at the top of the vault. It is starting at the wall and moving across the ceiling and a joint crack is also starting to go down the wall at the same starting point. Will fixing these cracks now stop any further progression of these cracks?

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Marsha, depending on why your cracks are appearing, if you prep and repair the cracks as shown, they should stay away. But, if you have foundation or moisture issues, no amount of patching will solve the problem.

  6. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Hi there,

    I have three quick questions:

    The corner metal bead is coming loose in a few places at my house. How can I fix that? Would I have to remove it and start over or can I repair it?

    Also, how would I handle popped nail heads? I have several in my bedroom ceiling.

    One last thing . . . you mentioned knock down texture in one response. Is there a way to get that same texture without having to buy a texture blower and blow it on? My kitchen and second bath both have very outdated paper that needs to be replaced.

    I would love to do this myself and save money.


  7. Pam
    Pam says:

    I have vaulted ceilings and I have had two place fixed many times and they still keep cracking. I know for a fact that they used fiberglass mesh tape. What does the 3M patch plus primer have in it that is so special? The last time they were fixed again was maybe 4months ago and they are already cracking. I have had this work done by a professional as I am not good on a ladder.

    Thanks so much Pam

  8. Joanie
    Joanie says:

    Hi – just wanted to comment that the instructions for fixing cracks in the house was very well written. Made easy to understand.

    Thanks Jeff and I enjoyed the big bang idea – good show~


  9. PaintingService
    PaintingService says:

    Drywall seams “should” run along studs or ceiling rafters/trusses. What hasn’t been said is that if a contractor failed to meet the edge of your drywall with a stud or rafter (or failed to properly stagger seams)…then you may be facing more cracks that can keep coming back. I would recommend using a stud finder to make sure the stud (rafter / truss) runs along the seam (where the crack is forming). If it does: I would ADD drywall screws on either side of the crack every 4 inches along the crack – making sure they are going into the stud (rafter / truss) -make sure you know where your utility lines are in your wall/ceiling so you don’t hit them! Some contractors get lazy and screw too far apart on seams which can cause those cracks. A second problem comes from when the drywall seams don’t meet at a stud (rafter/truss). You could probably gently push on the wall to see if the area flexes (has no resistance behind the drywall. In this instance…. If it were my home… I would then pull the section between the studs, run some 1x strips or sister some 2×4’s in the area to properly secure the drywall seams to “something” rather than have a seam “floating.” For those who are scared of buying LARGE sections of drywall and opt for small sections for a higher price….ANY DIY center (Home Depot/Lowes/Etc) will cut the drywall into pieces that will fit your project, and will even cut the remaining sections into pieces you can take for future use…. Do it right the first time!

  10. Jimmy B
    Jimmy B says:

    I would like to make my garage more of a show room for my restored vintage car. That means cleaning up the drywall joints originally done with paper tape. All the joints have flaked apart since they were never painted. The garage is not heated. The ceiling is the worst since its attic above and the ceiling flexes a bit when I go up there likely contributing to the failing of the joints. What’s the best way to close up these drywall joints?

  11. Amy L
    Amy L says:

    What would be the ideal time of year to do a project like this – in winter before cracks disappear or narrow again with summer heat and humidity, or in summer when they are smaller?

  12. JohnL
    JohnL says:

    I have cracks from settling on the second floor where the ceiling meets the wall in 3 different areas. how would you fix that?

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      John, if the crack is along the top of the wall and runs with the ceiling, you probably need to run a new line of caulk up there. Caulk will flex with the movement of the two independent surfaces.

  13. Scott
    Scott says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I have a seasonal crack over an exterior sliding door that is about 2 feet long. It is at a drywall joint. In the winter, the crack widens on both sides of the tape (compared to the summer when the cracks are narrower).
    I have dug this out before (in the summer) and replaced the tape using fiberglass tape and proper technique, but after about a year, it recurred. Is there any hope to permanently repair the crack. It’s the only thing I see when I walk in my house.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Now is the time to patch any and all holes (unless it is a picture hanger and you are going to use the same hanger after painting), Read this tutorial for patching all types of holes. And patching recurring cracks can be repaired with this tutorial. […]

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