patching ceiling crack

hello again...
as part of the can or worms I've apparently opened in my kitchen, I've busted out the mud and sanding screens in preparation to paint the area that I've freshly exposed by taking down a cabinet that was in the way of the shiny new fridge that's set to arrive in a couple days. Since I've already got the stuff out, I suppose I might as well patch the ceiling where the ugly fluorescent light fixture used to be. I think I took it down Christmas day 2007 so... yeah. I'm a little slow. there's a crack running the length of the area (4') and I know the RIGHT way to patch it is to dig it out, then put down some mesh tape and feather it. However it looks like on the previously exposed area someone just shoved some mud in it and called it good, and the crack has also not reappeared in the two plus years we have been in the house, which says to me that it's pretty stable. Would it be really, really bad to just do the same? To fix it "right" I'd probably end up painting the whole damn ceiling, and I'm just not ready for that yet (and I don't know that I have enough paint to do that... right now I'm just trying to make it look "acceptable," a full repaint/color change is a ways down the road)
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

SWMBO's opinion on this quick fix?
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On Mon, 30 Mar 2009 22:16:39 -0400, against all advice, something

If you don't mind doing it over again a ways down the road, it sounds like an ok plan to me.
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I would work some carpenters glue into the crack before applying the mud into the crack. The glue will help delay recracking.
Bob Hofmann
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Nate Nagel wrote: (snip)

Paper tape would be better than mesh.

Nope. (As long as you understand what you're doing, which it sounds like you do.) If it's a small crack, latex caulk (no silicone) might be a better short to mid-term fix.

If it'll look acceptable without a full repaint then a temporary fix for the crack shouldn't be a problem. I find that paint/texture/gloss mis-matches are usually more noticeable than cracks.
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Sounds like you have plaster. Seems safe to assume since there shouldn't be a drywall seam that close to the wall as in most instances of over-the-refrigerator cabinets... (but it is described as 4' long)... (and, these days, who knows what idiot hung the drywall).
You didn't mention the crack width, but since it is described as a "stable", "crack", I think I'd probably try spackle first. -----
- gpsman
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yes, it is plaster. I guess you got confused as I am working in two different locations - first, where I took the cabinet down, which was surprisingly and refreshingly in very good shape save for a) screw holes and b) brush strokes (I guess the last paint job before the cabinets were put up was done with a brush with some really heavy paint.) I spackled the holes, then sanded the whole area well, skim coated with mud, and that's where I'm at right now. Hopefully when I get home tonight I'll just sand again, find it good, and put a couple coats of Kilz on it.
The area with the crack is where there was a 4' fluorescent light fixture on the ceiling; I removed it and replaced it with a new ceiling fan. (yes, I did remove the old fixture box and replaced it with a fan box and hanger.) I never went back and repaired the ceiling in that area, there's a crack that apparently runs the whole width of the kitchen ceiling that someone apparently mudded over (as there's no ridge from tape) right up to the edge of the light fixture but did not take the light fixture down to patch it underneath.
Doing it "right" would probably mean I'd have to dig out the whole length of the thing, tape, mud, an paint enough of the ceiling it'd be silly not to do the whole thing. Just sanding and skimming would be a lot easier, and I'm thinking that even though I know it's wrong that's what I'm likely going to do, and let the real repair come whenever we actually remodel the kitchen.
I guess what I was curious about was if there was something about just mudding over it that would make a proper repair more difficult in the future. One wouldn't think that there would be, but IANAPPG (I Am Not A Paint 'n' Patch Guy) and probably watching my inept fumbling with a taping knife and mud box would have made the guy I usually use for commercial work ROTFL.
Now painting, I think I can manage to do that without making too much of a dog's breakfast of it...
nate
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