What is the best product for recurring drywall cracks?


Every couple of years, cracks in my drywall keep reappearing in more or less the same spot. I resurface them with drywall compound, repaint and sure enough, they come back.
The cracks are very small(possibly due to a weak spot susceptible to freeze-thaw shifting of the house foundation) ..... is there are more flexible product I could use to cover them up? Drywall compound is too brittle and does not do the trick.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Thanks ..... what a great forum! Wish I would have discovered it years ago.
Eric
Eric N. Leclair
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Eric wrote:

Paintable caulk, from any paint or hardware store. Smoosh it into the crack with your finger, wipe surface with damp rag, let dry, prime, paint.
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Use drywall glass mesh tape over crack. Frank
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Frank wrote:

Actually, the paper tape is stronger and less prone to cracking.
Chris
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But it has less give.
Banty
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I endorse this solution. I had a drywall cracking issue in one bedroom at the corner of my house where I had freeze/thaw foundation issues. The foundation was later upgraded, but the drywall cracking was repaired using the mesh tape before that, and held up well over a couple of seasonal cycles before then. Worked amazingly well.
Banty
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wrote:

I too recommend the fiberglass tape. I had an old house in Los Angeles where one corner over a door cracked very badly every year. I must have repaired that crack half a dozen times before I used the tape. After using the tape I never had another crack over that door for the rest of the time I lived in that house which was about twelve years.
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Are you saying you used paper tape and it cracked?
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wrote:

I'll add a vote for this idea. It even works well on plaster. Previous home: 15 years later, no cracks, according to new owner.
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I think the choice between elastic caulk and mesh tape depends on how bad the cracks are, how many they are, and how much work you want to do. The caulk is proably more likely to have to be redone, but the mesh will be noticablly thick and noticeably meshy and will have to have a lot of stuff put over it to cover the mesh. And it might be easier to do the caulk 2 or 3 times than the mesh even once.
There are caulk or spackle-type products, special for cracks, that are elastic. I forget the names but the paint store guy will know.

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There's a dozen of products -- hard to say which will be best for your specific problem.
However, it sounds like you need something a lot more flexible/elastic than what you've used in the past.
Bear in mind, those products are likely not sandable! You'll need to apply it correctly, first time. Spend a few minutes playing with the gunk and an old bit of sheetrock, cardboard or whatever just to get the "feel" of the stuff.
You probably don't want to go for the ultimate in flexibility (i.e. silcone) since that is neither sandable nor paintable.
One problem I have found with many of the more flexible fillers is that they shrink during the cure. That's only likely to be a problem if the cracks are large.
Alternatively, you might consider applying a textured finish to the entire wall/room. This can be done using relatively flexible mixes that may absorb the movement well enough. Even if some minor cracking does come through, it will likely be a lot less visible. Hairline cracks are a hugely less obvious on textured versus flat/smooth finishes.
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