Walls and Ceiling

The walls and ceilings of your home, especially a home with children, can get dirty over time. Whether it’s smudges, scuffs, dust, or even minor damage like cracks and dents, these things can add up to make a home look less than tidy. With a little regular cleaning and repair, your ceilings and walls will continue to look as good as the day they were built.

Care and Maintenance

Follow these care and maintenance suggestions for your home’s walls and ceilings.

Interior Walls and Ceilings

The interior walls and ceilings in your home have been built with quality drywall and paint products. They’ll last for the life of your home if you care for them properly.

Remove most spots by gently cleaning with a mild soap. Don’t scrub painted walls. This may stain flat paint, which stains easily.

Check your walls and ceilings for signs of condensation and/or mold growth; if you detect any, call for service immediately.

Don’t wash newly painted surfaces for the first few months; the paint needs time to dry and set.

Vacuum acoustical ceilings gently to remove dust.

Keep the filters for your heating and cooling units clean, use the exhaust fans over your range and in the bathrooms, and vacuum dust promptly as it collects to help avoid having to repaint frequently.

It is common for some sound to transfer between neighboring units.

Don’t overload closet rods.

Ceiling outlets, which are sometimes installed in garages and attics, typically can’t support light fixtures or ceiling fans that weigh more than 50 pounds.

Most latex paints can be stored for two years without risking deterioration; however, exposure to extreme heat or cold may shorten the paint’s life span. Avoid using latex paint when the wall or ceiling surface temperature is above 90°F or below 45°F.

Ceiling drywall is not designed to support any weight. Locate a ceiling joist in which to attach hardware for heavy hanging plants, lamps, and macramé.

To Repair the Surface

As new homes go through a normal shrinkage process, minor cracks, and possibly nail or screw pops, will appear. Don’t make any repairs in the drywall until you’re ready to repaint the room.


Fill any cracks with an elastomeric caulking, which is available from any paint or hardware store.


Fill indentations in the surface of drywall with two or three applications of the joint compound used for drywall taping, which is available at any hardware store. Smooth out the compound with fine sandpaper and repaint the area.

Nail pops

A nail pop looks like a small dent (concave) or bump (convex) on the surface of the wall. It occurs when the point of attachment between the drywall and the wood framing fails. Despite the name “nail pop,” this common drywall issue can occur with both nails and screws, the two types of fasteners used in drywall installations. Happily, popped nails and screws don’t diminish a wall’s strength – they’re just unattractive.

To Fix a Nail Pop

To fix a nail pop, follow these steps:

1. Use a hammer to drive the popped nail back into the wall. Then, drive a new nail into the wall, lapping the head of the new nail over the head of the old one. If your drywall has screws instead of nails, re-tighten the popped screw back into the wall using a screwdriver.

Make sure the nails (or screw) are set into the drywall just enough where they aren’t protruding from the surface. A good way to check is to run a putty knife over the nails (or screw) and listen for a clicking sound.

2. Apply a spackling compound over the nails (or screw) using a putty knife; follow the spackle manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you spread the paste evenly across the surface. Spackle is available from any paint store or home care center.

3. Smooth out the surface with fine sandpaper once the spackle has dried. The wall should be smooth to the touch.

4. Use a cloth to wipe away any dust from sanding.

5. Redecorate the surface using paint, wallpaper, or other wall décor.