[Restore & Renovate] This is the second installment of an informative series on making structural repairs to your home. Find the first here.
Drywall, also known as wallboard, plasterboard, gypsum board or sheetrock, is that durable, sensible material covering nearly every wall and ceiling in your home. It is prevalent in most rooms, including your finished garage or basement, and even the attic storage area. Drywall damage is relatively easy to fix using just a few tools and skills you’ve probably already mastered, such as sawing, drilling, sandpapering and painting. The trick is to repair and conceal holes and other damage so no one can tell. There’s the rub! However, if you learn the right way to repair holes in drywall, your walls will always look good as new.
What You’ll Need:
- Drywall – for making repairs, buy a smaller amount such as 2′ x 2′ section, in the correct thickness for the repair. Most interior walls use ½-inch drywall; ceilings may use 5/8-inch.
- Paper Tape or Mesh Tape – whatever your preference
- Spackling or Wallboard Joint Compound
- Backer Board – such as plywood to secure the new piece of drywall
- Setting or Patching Compound (Mud) – a powder that you mix with water, which dries very hard with little shrinking. The compound is sold with different set times calculated in minutes, so choose one that works for you.
- 100 Grit Sandpaper
- Primer, Paint and Brushes
What To Do:
Adjust these steps to the size of the drywall damage.
1. Clean up the damaged area by brushing away pieces of paint or drywall and evening out the edges of the hole with a file or sandpaper.
2. Cut the hole into a square or rectangle using a drywall saw, so it’s easier to work a new piece of drywall in its place.
Good-to-know tip #1: Before cutting or drilling, be sure you won’t hit pipes or electrical wires inside the wall.
3. Attach a backer board such as plywood or a scrap board inside the hole using a drywall screw gun and screws in each corner, countersinking each one.
4. Cut a new piece of drywall that fits into the hole.
5. Cover the joints and edges with tape using a mud taping tool or by hand, or spread spackling compound with a putty knife.
Good to know tip #2: wash or wipe away excess compound between putty knife swipes to insure a cleaner patch job. Also, don’t let the knife cut into the drywall paper.
6. Mix a batch of setting compound and apply the first coat with a drywall knife. Use thin coats to eliminate a lot of sanding and mess. Once the first coat is set, continue applying compound, feathering out until the patch is as smooth as possible.
7. Sand the surface smooth using a drywall sander, removing any dimples or ridges.
Good-to-know tip #3: it’s better to use too much compound that not enough – you can always sand down smooth. Also, damp wiping is cleaner than sanding, but use sparingly and let the paper covering dry thoroughly before sanding.
Once all the components are dry:
8. Prime the area with primer because compound takes paint differently than drywall does.
9. Paint the patch using paint that is matched to the wall color.
Good luck with all your DIY in-home repairs – you’ll be glad you took the time! And as always, if you have questions or comments please utilize our section below or the contact us page on our website.
About the Author
Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.