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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. A Prater
    A Prater says:

    This post was so simple to understand that I thought a woman wrote it! Shared on Pinterest! Thank you Jeff!! 😉 No more cracks for me!!

  2. Diane Kaspar
    Diane Kaspar says:

    We have a pantry and next to it a6=8 inch width of drywall. We keep getting a repeat crack at top and the 3m sound good wondering what your thought are. It has been taped and muded and continues to come back as a big eyesore in center of kitchen. We have never used the 3m

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Diane, I suspect you might have some movement in your walls that may not be fixed cosmetically. Have you had anyone look at your foundation or floor joists? It seems that the mudding and taping should have solved your issue otherwise.

  3. Stacie
    Stacie says:

    When my house was built none of the sheetrock joints were taped. Instead they were filled with mud and painted over. Now all the seams are cracked. My question is do I need to remove the paint and mud then tape or can I just tape over the paint.


  4. Diana
    Diana says:

    We are novices when it comes to patching and painting. We have a rounded corner in our house where the drywall tape is coming up next to the corner and on the corner itself there are several chips and you can see whatever is under the corner (metal?) I am assuming I would use this method to fix the tape line but what is best for the chips on the corner?

  5. Rich Ollier
    Rich Ollier says:

    Great information, thank you! I have a question ou may be able to help with…. My house has gone through a fair amount of settling and it is time to do some cosmetic repairs. Family room ceiling has several seams that are showing as bulges or actual cracks along the seams. How would you repair these? Textured ceiling as well… Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Callen
    Callen says:

    Hi Jeff, how did that crack hold up? I’ve never been ever to fix one that looks so good. Amateur here 🙂 This next one I’m attempting is much larger.

  7. roxanne
    roxanne says:

    my problem is I did use fiberglass tape and the walls looked awesome but in less than a year they are cracking just as it the fiberglass tape wasnt there

  8. Dianne
    Dianne says:

    We have repaired cracks in the walls over the years, using mesh and the next time the weather changes, the house shifts causing crack to reappear what can I do to fix this, many houses in my area have the same problem…help

  9. Dan Drell
    Dan Drell says:

    Some cracks are never really “fixed” they are just covered up, which is fine because you are only trying to cosmetically fix it. But the crack is still under there, so if it is caused by dissimilar materials like drywall to plaster or a wall that was extended and there is a structural reason that the 2 different panels are moving, then I think with the fiberglass tape the crack can keep coming back because you only have little threads of the mesh spanning the crack. Also the drywall compound is not flexible, it dries hard so it is brittle. For these 2 reasons, I think it is better to use paper tape and an elastomeric compound. The paper tape results in a continuous membrane that spans the crack. If the crack is caused by movement (expansion/contraction, or other structural movement) the membrane of paper tape and flexible compound will flex and keep the crack from transmitting thru.


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