How to Repair Damaged Drywall

Tools and materials you will need.

Utility knife
dry wall saw
8″ drywall knife
2′ square
sanding block
sand paper (100 grit & 150 grit)
joint tape
Phillips screw driver or bit for drill motor
drywall screws
joint compound (pre-mix or easy sand dry)
mud pan
1×2 pine or 1/2″ plywood
Drill motor (optional)
1″ paddle drill bit (optional)
primer sealer

It can be caused in many ways, moving furniture, opening a door, horse play and the list can go on and on. Regardless of how it happened you have a hole in your drywall. You can hide it by placing a piece of furniture in front of the hole or if it’s high enough you can place a picture over it. You do have another option, repair it.

*It is best to use a dry-mix on your first coat of joint compound (I use it for the whole project). Dry-mix compound comes in a powder you have to mix with water. I prefer easy sand made by Sheetrock, it comes in different setting times. The bag will say Easy Sand 20, 45, 90, 210 and 300 which is the time in minutes it takes to setup (check directions for working time). I would recomend you use the ninety minute. Using the dry-mix will speed up the job and I feel it bonds better. The pre-mix will take up to 24 hours to cure after your first coat and longer then dry-mix between each remaining coats. Easy Sand comes in 4 lb tubs or 18 lb bags. Check container for mixing directions.

Dryway paper tape comes in a roll 2″ wide and 250′ or 500′ long. Fiber tape (mesh) comes 2″ x 250′ and has an adhesive back. You can also get rolls which are wider and made for repars.

I rarely use fiber tape, in fact the only time I will use it is if I absolutely have torush a job. Paper tape is best as long as it is applied properly. When using paper tape you first apply the mud to the joint and then lay the tape on top. To avoid bubbles be sure that all of the paper tape facing the joint is completely embedded in mud. If it doesn’t completely soak in the wet mud, it will not bond causing a dryspot that will result in a bubble later on. For this type of application your mud should be just thick enough to use with your tools. You’re better off to apply several thinner coats than one thick coat.

This is to avoid having to do a lot of sanding between each coat you apply. Each coat should be as smooth and flat as possible. Using a sanding block sand between coats in the same direction you put the mud on. Each coat should completely cover the previous coat.

Drywall is manufactured with bevel joints on two sides for ease of mudding. When you have a butt joint (no beveled edges) you should spead your mud wider to get an even finish. When doing repairs on drywall you are dealing with four butt joints, so you should spead your mud a minimum of 15″ beyond all sides of the repair and keep feathering back.

Be sure to use a drywall primer/sealer or a good quaility sealer after you sand your last drywall compound coat and before painting.

Repairing small holes 1″ or smaller:

If more then a 1″ hole I find it easier to cut it out and repair as a big hole. Your first task is to perpare the area for repair by cutting away the loose or frayed paper with a utility knife. Be sure not to rip the paper so a sharp blade is important. With a hammer lightly tap around edges of hole and slightly indent edges of drywall. Sand 12″ on 4 sides of hole with 100 grit sandpaper.

Mix up a small amount of Easy Sand 90 as thick as possible (so it will stand up) and let it sit for 30 min. Using a putty knife work into hole moving putty knife in different directions until filled. After it is dry mix more Easy Sand 90 wet for enbedding tape. Cut a piece of drywall tape to cover hole with an 1″ overlap on each side.

*Now follow the above directions for finishing.

Repairing a large hole:

Using a square and a pencil draw rectangle or square around damaged area of drywall. Using a utility knife or a drywall saw cut out square/rectangle making sure not to damage the drywall paper.

After removing the drywall you will want to install some wood backers. How many you will need will depend on the size of the damage. If you have a small area use one in the middle of repair area and if a bigger area use two, one on top and on on bottom. You can use 1×2 pine or rip down 1/2″ drywall. Cut the backer 4″ longer then the the whole in the direction you are installing it. Drill a 1″ hole in the middle or the backer for a finger hole to hold backer while installing. Hold backer in place and put a drywall screw through existing drywall into backer. Make sure screw is inset a little below surface of drywall, just enough not damage drywall paper.

Using a utility knife cut a piece of drywall to fit the hole (don’t make it so tight that you have to force it in). with a utility knife bevel the edge of the existing drywall and the piece you just cut, so when put together you will have a “V” (this will give a better bond and more strenght to the joint). Attach cut piece of drywall screwing it to the wood backer (s).

*Follow the directions above for finishing.

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