Skip to Content

Drywall Seams Showing in Ceiling – 5 DIY Steps To Solve The Problem!

Drywall Seams Showing in Ceiling – 5 DIY Steps To Solve The Problem!

Everyone loves a nice smooth, seamless surface in their home. So when you notice drywall seams showing in the ceiling, it can be disheartening. That said, what could be the reason for these pesky seams appearing?

Well, that’s why I’ve drafted this article about drywall seams showing in the ceiling. Herein, we’ll explore why they appear, whether it’s normal, and – most importantly – what you can do to fix them. So, if that’s your recent dilemma, let’s dive right in and get to the bottom of it!

Why are Drywall Seams Showing in the Ceiling?

Drywall seams showing in the ceiling is obviously a telltale sign that something isn’t quite right. It could be something to do with the quality of the installation, movement in the wall, improper taping and mudding, among other causes. Always find out the source of the problem before attempting any remedial work.

As homeowners, we all want to make our homes look beautiful and feel like the haven they’re meant to be. 

Now, that calls for paying attention to even the smallest details. So, those unsightly drywall seams in the ceiling need to go!

But before we get into how you can hide them, it makes sense to trace the problem right from the root. That way, we can make sure it doesn’t come back days, weeks, or even months after you’ve done all that work.

Here are some of the major causes of drywall seams in the ceiling:

Poor Quality Of Work

The first and most likely reason for drywall seams showing in the ceiling is shoddy workmanship. It’s possible the installer rushed through the job or didn’t pay attention to details – resulting in an uneven surface with visible seams.

Likely areas of compromise include:

  • Insufficient taping
  • Uneven mud application
  • General lack of skill.

It could also be that the installer was in a hurry, and that’s especially true if the payment was based on the square footage covered, creating an incentive to cut corners and rush.

That’s why for any future projects where quality is of utmost importance, it’s always better to hire someone who’ll take their time and do the job right. Always begin by looking for a good professional installer and ensure that you hire them on an hourly basis.

That way, they’ll take their time and ensure that they leave no stone unturned in the installation process.

Movement in the Wall

It’s possible that gaps developed between drywall boards because of movement in the wall. Usually, movement in the wall can be a result of either:

  • Settling of the house
  • Poor fastening
  • Expansion and contraction from temperature changes

In cases like these, you’ll notice the drywall tape pulling apart along the seam. That way, the joint compound may not adhere properly, resulting in drywall seams showing in the ceiling.

Improper Taping and Mudding

If you hire a professional installer, they should know to tape, bed, and mud any drywall seams. Taping involves pressing paper tape into the seam and mudding is the process of covering it with joint compound.

But, if done wrong, you could end up with bumps and ridges along the seams. Also, uneven application of the joint compound can cause it to shrink and crack, leading to drywall seams in the ceiling.

So, if you’re tackling the job yourself, make sure you do lots of research and understand each step of the process.

Exposure To Moisture

It’s not unusual for drywall to suffer from moisture damage due to plumbing leaks or condensation. When exposed to water, the paper tape on drywall can start to peel or swell, resulting in unsightly drywall seams.

So, locate the source of all moisture problems and repair any leaks before attempting to fix the drywall seams. It’s only when the problem has been resolved that you should move on to remedial measures.

Paint Issues

Sometimes, you may end up with a bumpy texture on your walls because of the paint. That’s usually an issue with either too much or too little paint that wasn’t applied evenly.

Incorrect painting techniques can also lead to drywall seams showing in the ceiling, so it’s important that you hire a professional who not only understands how to install drywall properly but also knows how to paint it in a way that looks flawless.

At times, the mistakes aren’t in the skill but in the products. So, make sure you’re the best paint and primer for the work. You can always consult with a professional to determine what works best in your particular situation.

Improper Sanding

Once the taping and mudding is done, the next step involves sanding the surface. This step helps you to smooth out any bumps and ridges, resulting in an even surface that’s ready for priming and painting.

But if done wrong, say with too much pressure or excessively, it can leave visible drywall seams in the ceiling. That’s why it’s essential to use a light hand and understand the proper technique when sanding.

Is It Normal To See Drywall Seams in the Ceiling?

In most cases, no. It’s not normal to see drywall seams in the ceiling. If there are any visible seams, more likely it means that something isn’t right and needs to be addressed. But if the reason has anything to do with unavoidable circumstances, like house settling, visible drywall seams are normal and not a sign of poor workmanship.

But again, whether it’s because of poor workmanship or unavoidable circumstances, the seams need to be addressed. If the cause has anything to do with poor workmanship or other avoidable reasons, normal repairs can help rectify the issue.

However, where the cause is the result of something unavoidable, like the settling of foundation, then your house will need special treatment. This will ensure that the problem doesn’t keep on recurring.

How To Hide Drywall Seams Showing in the Ceiling?

Once you have identified the reason your drywall seams are showing in the ceiling, you can go ahead and fix it. It’s a straightforward process that you can do yourself, but you may need the help of a professional if the problem is complex.

Here are easy steps to hide the drywall seams in your ceiling:

Step 1: Apply a Thin Layer of Setting Compound

Using a putty knife, apply a thin layer of setting compound over the seams. You can use an all-purpose joint compound as it’s versatile enough to serve in any area of the installation or repair process.

Alternatively, you may work with taping compound. This type of compound will fill the gap and help the tape adhere better to your drywall. But if you choose this compound, you’ll still need another type of compound, either topping or all-purpose, to finish the job.

The third option you have is quick-setting compound. It’s the ideal option if you’re working in high-humid areas or just want something that will allow you to finish the project in a day or less.

Now, whatever type you choose, apply enough amount to fill the joint. The thickness of the mud should be about 1/32 to 1/16 inch, and the compound needs to extend by 2 to 3 inches on either side of the seam.

Step 2: Tape The Seams

The second step in the process involves taping your seams. You can use mesh or paper tape, but the latter is preferred as it’s more durable. In fact, using mesh tape could be the reason you’re having issues in the first place.

Now, when taping, ensure that the mud is still moist. Additionally, consider dampening the tape in a bucket of water before running it over the joint. Doing so will help avoid troublesome bubbles that often show up once the compound has dried. But ensure that you don’t soak it in water lest you damage it.

Also, keep in mind to overlap the tape by about an inch on either side of the joint. And once you get the tape into place, apply a layer of the compound down the center of the seam. You can use a 5 or 6-inch taping knife for the job.

Then, working from the center to the right, wet the tape and run the taping knife over it. You want to ensure that the mud underneath it oozes out on the sides of the tape. That’s the only way to ensure that you don’t leave air bubbles under the tape.

Once to have it in place, repeat the same process on the other side of the joint. Of course, the layer of mud you apply over the tape should be thick enough to embed the tape thoroughly in the compound.

Step 3: Sand The Seams

Once you’ve embedded the tape, wait until the compound has dried fully. You can tell it’s dry by running your finger over the joint.

Using a sanding block with at least 150-grit sandpaper and lightly sand the area. Doing this will hide any drywall imperfections, smoothen the area, and make it appear more polished. It’s also a way to prepare the surface for the next step. So, do it well as you’re killing two birds with one stone.

But as you do so, keep in mind that inhaling drywall dust can cause coughing, breathing difficulties, and other respiratory issues. Of course, that’s not what you want, and that means you should wear a dust mask to keep your lungs safe.

Step 4: Do The Priming

Once the surface is smooth and you have wiped down the dust, you can do the priming. You need to work with a primer sealer designed specifically for drywall. The primer sealer is to help the paint adhere better.

Primers are available in water (latex) and oil-based (alkyd) options. As usual, you can only use the latex option if you intend to cover it with latex paint. As for the oil-based primer, it’s more versatile and can work with both oil-based and latex paint.

Step 5: Finish With Paint

The final step is the most fun part – adding your favorite color to the ceiling. The step should come after the primer is completely dry, so pack some patience as you wait.

Here, it’s best to work with a professional when picking the paint, especially if you’re not entirely sure what type to pick.

But generally, for your drywall ceiling, a dark or matte paint is highly recommended.

You see, your ceiling is one area that receives a lot of light reflection, so a more reflective glossy paint finish won’t do any good. Plus, the lighter colors don’t hide imperfections well. So, just settle for a dull one.

And when painting, use a roller and a brush to help you finish the job faster. And remember, oil-based paint works well with natural fiber roller covers, while latex paint is best with synthetic roller covers.

And that’s it – you now know how to hide drywall seams showing in the ceiling.


Drywall seams showing in the ceiling is an issue that most homeowners have to deal with. But the best way to resolve the problem is to first pinpoint the cause. Once you know the source, you can go ahead and fix it using the steps mentioned above.

That said, if you experience any difficulty with any of the steps, don’t hesitate to call a professional. But with this guide in mind, you should be able to do it right with no fuss.