How To Repair Drywall in Simple Steps
Drywall is relatively simple to install and easy to repair. It’s also easy to repair badly, which can leave a lumpy mess that declares “shoddy” to anyone who enters the room.
Watch The Weight
If you have several large repairs to do and you’ll be buying a sheet or two of drywall, be advised that a sheet of regular 1/2-in. drywall weighs about 1.7 pounds per square foot. That means a 1/2-in. 4 x 8-ft. sheet weighs a bit more than 54 pounds (a 3/8-in. sheet weighs almost 45 pounds). If you stand it on edge and it falls over, someone–especially a child–could get hurt.
Beware Of Buckets
Five-gal. compound buckets pose a drowning or suffocation hazard to small children–when they are new and filled with compound, or later after they are cleaned and used for car washing and other jobs.
Clean Up The Dust
It also bears mentioning that drywall sanding dust is a respiratory irritant. Wear a dust mask when sanding to block airborne gypsum and silica particles. Also, spread a plastic dropcloth nearby. Wipe dust off the dropcloth with a damp sponge, then clean the surrounding areas with a shop vacuum, let the air settle, and finish vacuuming with your household vac.
Here’s how to repair a hole in drywall:
- Buy all the tools you need (listed below).
- Prep the hole by clearing debris and smoothing the edges.
- If it’s a small hole, fill it with spackle and let it dry.
- If it’s a large hole, measure and cut a piece of repair patch or mesh tape to cover the hole. Then, completely cover the patch with spackle and let it dry.
- Sand the area until it’s flat and smooth.
- Paint over the area you just repaired so it looks like nothing ever happened.
What Tools Are Needed for Drywall Repair?
Need to repair damaged drywall in your home? Use our drywall tools list to get the job done right. It examines the six essential drywall tools you will need.
- Hawks and mud pans
A hawk is a large square sheet of metal supported by a center handle. Mud pans resemble meatloaf pans and have crisp, sharp edges. These tools are used to carry the drywall compound with you while you work. Hawks are the tool of choice for professionals, so they tend to cost a little more. A mud pan will work nicely for occasional repairs.
Plaster repair requires the right kinds of knives. Putty knives range in size from two inches across to more than a foot. The size you need depends on how large a repair you are doing. Nail holes are easily patched with a narrow knife, but larger work over seams or big holes will require a wider blade.
You cannot do a proper patch job with sandpaper. A sanding block is OK, but actual paper with a special hard sanding pad is better. If you will be working on higher areas, invest in a sanding board that you can put an extension on.
- Sanding sponge
Sanding drywall produces a ton of dust. Small jobs can be finished with a sanding sponge. Used along with a bucket of water, the sponge will eliminate concerns about drywall dust. They should be used with care, however, to avoid removing too much of the compound.
- Corner tools
Inside corner tools are perfect for finishing off the difficult area in the corner of a room. It will speed up the process of finishing a stretch of drywall. However, it’s not typically required for repairs around the house.
Large repairs, like cracks or seams, should be fixed using tape. The tape will prevent the crack from reappearing and can easily be blended in with the wall. Holes can be covered using special sheets of self-adhesive mesh.
How To Repair Small Holes In Drywall
- Place the self-adhesive mesh patch over the hole.
- Use a drywall knife to cover the patch with lightweight joint compound in a crisscross pattern, feathering the edges so it blends with the wall. To feather the edge, increase pressure and angle on the drywall knife as you reach the outer edges of the patch area to minimize, or thin, the joint compound on the drywall.
- Let the patch dry and apply a second coat of compound if needed. Sand smooth.
Give it the Old College Try
If the hole is smaller than 1/4 inch, the first weapon in your quick fix arsenal should be toothpaste — preferably the same shade as your wall. Simply squeeze the paste into the hole, and then use a putty knife (or playing card) to scrape off the excess. Try to get the paste as flush as possible with the wall. The toothpaste might shrink a bit when it dries, so a second application may be needed.
If the toothpaste trick doesn’t appeal to you, another quick fix is to crush up an aspirin into as fine a powder as you can manage, mix the powder with just enough water to form a paste, and then use that to fill the hole. It’ll work in a pinch, but the toothpaste method is a lot easier