The answer depends on an order of magnitude. Some cracks disappear with
paint, but I would bet it would open up later on. Try putting some wall
board compound in the crack if it is a really tight crack.
If you mean a ceiling that has hundreds of cracks in all directions it
is the paint, an old oil base that has no expansion contraction left,
rare but ive seen a few. A coat of latex will hide it a few years, 2
thick coats maybe for 15 yrs
Lightweight spackle. Other materials and methods may be better
depending on the size and cause of the cracks, and whether it's
plaster or sheetrock. And of course any fill repair will eventually
fail if the cause of the cracks isn't determined and mitigated.
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