Fix cracks around your home

Small cracks eventually become large ones and the cost to repair grows with them, so it’s best to fix cracks before they get too big.

If you fancy yourself as a DIY tradie, you’ll probably find yourself fixing cracks in the wall or floor at some time in the life of your home. Here is some advice to help you do it like an expert.

Cracks in plasterboard

Use a putty knife to scrape inside the crack to open it up a little. This creates a bit more surface area to make it easier for the plaster to stick. Sand around the crack to roughen up the paintwork. Dust the surface down with a rag and cover the crack with a piece of jointing tape.

Scrape the plaster compound into the crack and flatten it onto the wall with your paint scraper. Let the compound dry, then lightly sand it until it is smooth. Dust the wall off and apply a second, slightly wider coat of plaster compound to the wall. Repeat the light sanding and dusting once it’s dry. Your crack is now repaired and your wall is ready for painting.

Cracks in tiles

You can repair hairline cracks in tiles without replacing the tile or damaging the rest of the tiled area.

Remove dirt, grime or mould with a cloth and soapy water, then rinse clean and dry with a clean towel. The unglazed tile exposed by the crack absorbs water that isn’t easily wiped dry, so run a hair dryer over it for about 15 minutes to completely dry the tile.

Apply oil-based primer to the crack with a small paintbrush. Apply the primer in a thin layer and only to the crack. Don’t paint the tile’s glazed surface adjacent to the crack. Allow the primer to dry for at least two hours. Then apply a coat of high gloss oil-based paint that matches the tile colour to the crack.

Cover the cracked tile if necessary to protect it from foot traffic and leave the paint to dry overnight.

To seal the paint, use a two-part marine epoxy. Dip a narrow paintbrush or a toothpick into the epoxy and dab the epoxy directly into the crack. Apply in small amounts and use just enough epoxy to bring the epoxy level with the top of the tile along the length of the crack.

Leave the epoxy to set. This usually takes about an hour. Protect the tile from foot traffic for at least 24 hours.