Drywall crack repair differs from other drywall repairs in one key way. As a rule there is no obvious reason why a crack appears.
For related information see the articles 'How To Patch Drywall', 'How To Cut Drywall' and 'Taping and Mudding Drywall'.
Cracks in drywall will occur for two reasons in residential construction. There are probably more than two, but I am not going to discuss them. One is settling, over time the house will settle and the drywall may crack due to the stresses put on it by the structure. You don't want to blame the drywall, it is doing its job. The second reason would be ill advised placement of joints in the drywall.
The bad news is that if the problem that caused the crack is still there, the crack may reappear. Stopping a house from settling is not possible and repairing subtle structural problems is also not practical. The likely case scenario would be to fix the drywall and hope the crack does not reappear.
Drywall Crack Repair - The Issues
What Can You Save? - Drywall crack repair could be as simple as spackling or as involved as a full blown drywall patch. Even with quick setting compound you can be looking at one to two hours to take care of something. When it is your house you can find other things to do, maybe watch some television. Someone you hire will either wait or make return trips. The size of the patch matters but let's say between $50 and $200 dollars to hire someone to repair drywall in your home.
How Hard Could It Be? - A drywall crack repair may require taping and that takes a bit of practice and patience. It could be very simple. These repairs will have a Difficulty Level of: A Bit of Work. These repairs require a Skill Level of: Determined Handyman. For and explanation of the terms in this section, see 'How to Use This Site'.
Check the Simple Things! - See if the paper has been compromised. A crack that is just in the drywall mud can be repaired with just compound or spackling. See Step One below for instructions.
What Can Go Wrong? - Failing to take your time and make sure that your drywall crack repair is smooth can leave a patch that will show after it is painted. You would be amazed at how unforgiving drywall can be when the right light hits it.
There is nothing quite as bad as finishing the painting on a wall and having someone comment 'boy that patch really shows'. Drywall is messy in it's own way, take precautions to deal with the mess. Yes the dust can wind up in a room that is on the other end of the house. In fact it may get there quicker than you can.
Troubleshooting Drywall Cracks
There are two types of cracks to address. The first and easiest is one that has not broken through the tape or paper on the drywall. The second is a severe crack that may have split the drywall all the way through. Even if only the paper is broken, you will have to use tape to bridge the gap.
The first article on 'Causes for Drywall Cracks' provids some insight into the reasons for cracks. It also explained why some of them come back after they are fixed.
Some cracks are fairly minor and only require filling and sanding. When does a drywall crack become a serious issue? When the paper face of the drywall has been compromised, you will need to apply new tape. The article 'Fixing Cracks in Drywall Walls and Ceilings' coversd this topic.
Fixing a crack will involve the use of mud and tape. There are steps you need to follow when you are patching drywall cracks. The article 'Taping and Mudding Drywall Cracks' gave you the information you need to perform this task.
They say that drywall installers and finishers are a breed of their own. That is probably because not too many people like doing it. OK, it was several steps, but none of them should have taken that long. The trick is to be patient. Allow a drywall crack repair to run over the course of a couple of days. Find other things to do while the mud is drying.
We hope that your experience with drywall crack repairs has not been too traumatizing. From this point forward, try to forget the past and move forward. Cracks may occur in your drywall again. Now you have the strength of character to face up to them.