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What is the best way to fix small cracks in ceilings?
If its a larger crack I usually tape and mud, but for smaller cracks, is it worth breaking the crack apart with a blade and then filling with plaster?
Do I have to tape over it after plastering it? or is the plaster good enough to hold?
 

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If it's like surface crack V-groove the crack and just hit with compound or similar. If it's chipping away dig and scrape until you hit a solid part. Depending on the width and depth of the crack will depend on if we use tape or not. If I can stick a putty knife in the crack we tape.
 

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What is the best way to fix small cracks in ceilings?
If its a larger crack I usually tape and mud, but for smaller cracks, is it worth breaking the crack apart with a blade and then filling with plaster?
Do I have to tape over it after plastering it? or is the plaster good enough to hold?
I am curious about this as well. What type of ceiling? Drywall? Plaster? Other?

I have often thought it would be nice if there was a tool somewhat like a power planer that could dig a 2" wide groove in the ceiling or wall that would be deep enough to hide the tape or mesh along with the mud. That way, the repair could be made flush with the surface. Perhaps there is a tool and I just don't know about it.

If there was, I would probably first clean out the crack of loose debris, then fill it with Durabond, taking care to push the Durabond into the crack as far as I could. Then I would plane down a 2" wide or so groove over the crack. Then I would seal the planed area with Gardz and let dry well, then tape and cover with more Durabond flush with the surface, topcoat with Easy Sand, sans smooth, then another coat of Gardz.

What I have done in the past is to clean out the crack, drill 1/4" - 3/8" holes every few inches through the crack, sometimes angling the holes one way, then the other, then squeeze Durabond into this whole mess and go from there. The idea of the holes is to prevent the edges on either side of the crack from moving up and down against each other.

I recently watched the GC I paint for at some hi rises in Chicago repair a crack that ran vertically in a solid concrete and plaster wall. He rolled out grid mesh fiberglass tape in several layers, then skim coated all with Easy Sand 20, then applied fiberglass mesh tape (looks like the fiberglass in a furnace filter) in several layers on top of the ES, then skim coat ES over everything, all in less time than I am taking to write this post. He has a unit in these buildings that he works out of and sees his customers all the time. I am guessing that he has figured out how to take care of cracks as best he can, but if a crack has occurred in some structures, it might be near well impossible to completely prevent them from coming back. And I have seen this happen with his work anyway.

Another trick that I am sure many here know about for drywall is to find the studs nearby the crack, drywall screw the heck out of them for a good area around the crack to stabilize the drywall, then go about repairing the crack.

I guess it is hard to tell you how I would repair any particular crack without seeing it first. Do you have any photos? Not trying to be lewd.......

futtyos
 

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How big are the cracks?

I am trying Tom Silvas method today, I will keep you all updated. How to Repair Plaster Walls - This Old House - YouTube
I liked this video and will file it away for future reference, but it didn't sound like you were talking about large cracks such as in this video.

If parts of the ceiling or wall are moving, I would not call that a small crack. The plaster washers are nice for bringing the section back flat against the lathe. I have used metal plaster washers for this and actually mud right over them in addition to everything else I am doing.

If there was no movement in the ceiling or wall around the crack in the plaster and the crack was not very big or long, I might just drill holes through the crack at varying angles through the lathe, vacuum the holes out, then squeeze Durabond far enough into the hole to get past the lathe to form a "key" that will help hold the plaster to the lathe in the event that the original plaster keys are starting to fail.

If the cracks were like in the video you posted, I would be tempted to use Tom Silva's method. It looks pretty good to me. What I would do different is use Durabond 20 or Easy Sand 20 to fill the holes afterwards instead of ready mix mud, put a fan on the area for an hour or 2, then use ES to skim coat the area, use the fan again, sand smooth and make sure the surface is flat with no spackle ridges, then skim coat with Durabond. This will give it a nice hard surface not too different from the plaster (both DB and ES are 60-70% plaster of Paris).

In drywall cracks, I have used drywall screws all around the crack into the studs to sort of stabilize the whole area, then tape and mud (Easy Sand) the crack. I might also drill holes every couple of inches through the crack, vac out, then squeeze DB 20 through the holes to hold the edges together and prevent them from moving in and out - sort of like stitching a wound.

It is hard to know how to approach a particular problem without being able to see it, at least in this case IMO.

It would be nice to have worked with an expert at some point to really see how repairs in plaster should properly be done, but I never sought out that opportunity, so I come here and to Youtube for ideas and advice. :)

futtyos
 
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