How To Fill A Wall Crack So It Doesn’t Come Back

Crack is still whack. I couldn’t resist breaking out that Whitney Houston inspired one-liner, even though we already used it here. Why? Because this is a serious hard-hitting blog about real life issues. Just kidding. This time my fifth grade crack joke is in reference to a giant crack that was running across the side of the ceiling in the laundry room. Here’s the craggy before:

And the much less craggy after:

We had them check that beast of a crack out during inspection and learned it’s nothing like foundation issues (just normal house settling). Whew. And it was nothing that a little paintable white caulk couldn’t fix. Double whew. Tip: always make sure it’s paintable for jobs like this or it’ll never blend in correctly – we like Dap’s white paintable window & door caulk. We didn’t use spackle (as opposed to caulk) because we’ve heard experts mention that it can shrink up and “fall out” of the crack over time, but caulk usually doesn’t shrink or crack as much. Anyway, it was a super easy process. I just:

  1. Squeezed out a line of it along the crack
  2. Smeared it with my finger to remove excess caulk
  3. Went over it with a wet rag for an even smoother look
  4. Let it fully dry (I waited around 48 hours, mostly out of laziness)
  5. Touched it up with wall & ceiling paint left in the basement by the previous owners

So if you have a crack in your wall or ceiling and are wondering if you can handle it, I promise you can. Even if you’re 5’2″ and have to stand on a chair while the baby naps and the dog looks questioningly at you as if you’ve lost your mind and gives you the stink eye the. entire. time.

Like this, but picture one bug-out eye and one sinister squinty one:

My mom even recently caulked her bathroom all by herself (after calling me ten times from the hardware store to compare the merits of different caulk guns). So proud of her.

And so (almost) ends our second crack-related adventure. You thought I could keep it short? Do you even know me? Not in real life, I mean via the internet. Anyway, we’re actually sharing this mundane caulking detail since we’ve decided that it’s high time we tackled our laundry room makeover. Woo to the hoo. Cue the fireworks! Strike up the drum line! Watch out for those fire juggling clowns (don’t be afraid, they’re of the friendly and not freaky or nightmarish at all variety).

We’re planning to make a few one-project-at-a-time changes that hopefully add up to a nice refreshing difference when it comes to the look and function of our tiny 3.5′ x 8′ space. Here’s what it looked like when we moved in:

And here’s what it looked like after we 1) upgraded to some new (very on sale) front loading appliances, 2) took down the window shutters, 3) frosted the everybody-can-see-me-breastfeeding side door that looks into the kitchen, 4) removed the shelves behind the side door (opposite the washer/dryer):

We’ve been meaning to add some built-in storage next to the stacked washer and dryer among a few other functional (and just plain purty) things, so here’s the to-do list as it stands today:

  • Paint the odd brown quarter round near the baseboards glossy white
  • Redo all the dinged up trim (also in semi-gloss white)
  • Paint the walls (we’ll be back with color details later this week)
  • Add adjustable built-in shelving in that nook next to the stacked washer & dryer <– we can’t unstack them and put them on the long wall since the room is only 3.5′ wide, so we’d only be left with seven inches of space between the front of the unit and the opposite wall if we moved ’em
  • Replace the hinges and knobs on the upper cabinetry
  • Get a new light fixture (see the old one in the first two pics?) <- DIY something?
  • Add a window treatment (maybe a homemade one?)
  • Add other functional storage near the door for shoes, Burger’s leash, etc
  • Hang some art to keep it cheerful and obscure the giant metal fuse box

And of course in the long term we’d love to rip out the vinyl tile to hopefully uncover hardwoods that we’ll someday refinish (we’re crossing our fingers that they carry into the kitchen as well). But that’s a waaay down the road thing since it’ll necessitate removing all of our kitchen cabinets to get to it (they rest on the vinyl tile and a layer of plywood with hardwoods underneath- oh the humanity). So for now the focus is on adding some everyday function and storage… and some cuteness while we’re at it. Game on.

Do you guys have any laundry room makeovers going on? Any projects or art or colors that you love in your laundry area? Do you think all clowns are of the terrifying murder-you-in-your-sleep variety? I think there are two kinds. Friendly and skeeeeery. It’s all in the eyes and hair.

Psst- Check out how we hid a big ol’ electrical box at our first house here and here, and how we pimped an old bi-fold laundry closet here and here.


  1. says


    I, too, am tackling a laundry room makeover in the near term! Ours is open to the rest of our downstairs, so it has to be pretty and fun. Most of what is on your list is on mine as well!

    Second, all clowns are evil. I am terrified of them and even the sight of the word “clown” is enough to make my heart start pounding. One time I was driving from Philly to DC early in the morning and I kid you not, I was on the road with a clown car – and a clown driving in full clown regalia. She even had a clown nose on the front of her car. It was traumatizing and awful and that clown followed me for miles.

    I stop talking clown now.

    • says

      Haha- now driving clowns… those are scary! You can’t look into their eyes and tell if they’re zombies or not. I prefer in person sweet heart-face-makeup-ed clowns. But I understand those with a no clowns at all stance.


    • says

      Can’t do it! The room is only 3.5′ wide, so if we put them on the window wall there would only be seven inches between the edge of the unit and the wall on the other side!


    • says

      nards. you probably want to be able to open the W/D doors I bet. Perhaps it would be a ploy to get the tinest human in your house to be the only one would could fit in that space so she’d have to do all the laundry!

    • Jessica says

      By helping out, do you mean grabbing each neatly folded piece of laundry and tossing it about the room? Because in that case, my little bean loves helping out with laundry too….lol

    • says

      Oh shoot! In the livingroom???? And we thought ours was bad being in the kitchen. We had it flipped around so it ended up looking into the now laundry room to make room for our fridge (code doesn’t allow anything placed within 3 feet of those panels, really).

      How about some art hung over it? Easy peasy eyesore remedy :o)

    • kelly says

      My old condo had it smack in the middle of the wall over the dining table. I just hung a really big picture over it, and it was invisible. Did it in the current place, too!

    • Julia says

      Any tips for painting the electrical box? Mine is right in the middle of my kitchen, and I’m not sure if I could just use the regular wall paint? Or spray paint? Or if I have to sand it at all to rough up the surface?

  2. Meg says

    Since you mentioned kitchens with hardwood – any tips on how to prevent any damage from kitchen leaks? We’re renovating our kitchen and I really want hardwoods but we’re so concerned about leaks. Thanks!

    • says

      We had hardwood floors in our last kitchen and loved them! Just make sure your floors are poly’d (which actually protects them a lot). You’ll hopefully see leaks under things like dishwashers or fridges well before they do any damage since they tend to seep out the front and the poly should protect them for a while. Many older homes (100+ years old) have original hardwood floors in the kitchen that are worn but amazingly not-water-ruined-or-anything. Hope it helps!


    • Meg says

      Ha ha – we bought all new appliances when we moved in and already had dishwasher leak issues – hence the concern. Hopefully it works out. I really want hardwoods!

    • says

      I don’t- those are all John. Which actually works out ok since he does most of the laundry. Jackpot. Haha. But once we add shelving to the right of the units I’ll be able to access a lot more stuff that we’ll store at my-short-arm’s reach.


  3. says

    Caulk – The Secret Weapon! Caulk and I are developing a very close relationship these days, and we haven’t even started on the outside of the house. Lots of almost 100 y/o windows that need a lot of caulk lovin’ …

    For now, our laundry room isn’t at the top of our list. It has storage, it ha flooring and it works. We have a tight 4.5 week deadline to create a masterbathroom from almost scratch and set up the guest bedroom for my parents’ arrival. Oh, and clean the house, you know, to mother vist standard …ugh

  4. says

    im excited for this room makeover! do you think for the window treatment you guys will do cafe length curtains, with some blinds, or a fun patterned fabric roman shade? orrrr do I have to wait to find out? ;-)

  5. says

    Woo hoo! I’m excited about this room. I think you should make your art have a seekrit drying rack… something like this – but with a paintin like the one you tried out and rejected for the bedroom behind the bars. Hmm…. how to make the bars not look like a prison… OH! you could get some decorative fancy turned something, and paint it pretty. That could look crazy haha. Just thinking off the top of my head (as is pretty obvious).
    Here are some pins of similar pretty laundry things:

    • says

      Thanks for the eye candy! The weird thing is that we like to lay things out to dry in the sun (like Clara’s cloth diapers, the sun bleaches them to like-new condition) and that room is off the carport so it doesn’t get much sun. Boo. But maybe we’ll add a drying rack anyway (we currently use the windowsill in the living room or the daybed/table in the sunroom)… not sure yet!


  6. Lindsay says

    Nice. I’m weirdly excited to see what color you pick for the walls (not sure why I care, but it turns out I TOTALLY DO – heh).

    Also, good choice on the caulk. They actually make stuff specifically for filling in cracks in plaster walls (doesn’t shrink, etc). It comes in a tub just like spackle, but, pro tip: be sure to read it and notice that it is NOT, in fact, sandable. ARG!
    Two years later, I’m still sort of too annoyed about the whole thing to explain why I know this, though I’m sure you can guess. ;)

  7. says

    Oh, I’m excited to see what color you choose! And, I’m curious to see your diy light. I love to make light fixtures but I’m running out of rooms. Ha. We’re in the process of finishing our laundry room: Most recently, we made laminite countertops: I really love the storage and counter space we’ve gained.

    Here’s a super cheap light I made for our boys’ room: I think it would be possible to make a light similar to the WE one, too: Maybe use embroidery hoops and skewers for the frame and wood veneer strips to weave… Or I live the faux capiz pendants, too.

  8. Dave says

    That looks like an abnormally large/wide crack on the exterior wall. Did you guys check to ensure you don’t have any wall sinking, settlement or foundation issues along that wall that would result in a crack that large?

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