Chances are at some point your house will need some drywall repair. Whether it is merely filling in pinholes from an overzealous teenager or major repair work due to water damage, most drywall problems can easily be repaired. Deciding how extensive the damage is will help you determine whether you need a professional, as a homeowner can do many drywall repairs. As always, if you are uncomfortable or unknowledgeable about repair work, leave the job to a professional.
The proper way to repair drywall depends on how extensive and the type of damage incurred. A hole can easily be patched, but water damage will most likely require that you remove a large section of drywall. Small holes may be able to be patched in an afternoon, while larger drywall repairs can take a week or more. To repair drywall, first diagnose the problem. Then follow these steps for the correct drywall repair method.
Drywall repair is easily accomplished on superficial marks to the surface of the wall. These marks include nail holes, scratches that tear through the paint, or chips off the corner of a wall. Using a small putty knife and some spackling compound, carefully fill in the hole. After the spackling compound has completely dried, carefully sand and repaint.
Larger holes can be filled in a similar manner or may require a patch to cover a particularly large hole. If you do decide to use a patch, make sure to cut out a hole that is a regular shape. This allows you to cut a patch that is sure to fit. If you are unfamiliar with patching drywall, research the different methods before beginning or call a professional.
Sometimes drywall repair is needed because of previous shoddy workmanship. If the drywall tape or drywall joint can be seen through the paint, it is time to do some drywall repair work. In particularly poor construction jobs, the drywall tape can separate from the wall leaving the joint exposed.
To repair these problems, remove any paint or tape that has already begun to peel away from the wall. Then, repair any exposed joints in the wall using drywall tape and spackling compound. Sand lightly after repairs and repeat until the area is smooth and ready for paint.
Water damage can cause serious overall damage to your home. This is often repair job that requires a contractor, but some owners can do the work themselves if they have prior experience. Before doing anything, make sure there is no electricity to the damaged part of the house. If the drywall is saturated with water, you must remove it and replace it. Remove the drywall as soon possible. Also remove any other materials that will have to be replaced. Using fans and open windows, dry the area as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Do not even attempt a repair until everything is completely dry and there is no mildew or mold in the house.
After the house is dry and you have verified that there is not structural or other damage, replace all of the drywall you have removed. If you are unsure how to replace drywall, call a contractor who can do it. Also call a contractor if electrical wiring is involved in the water damage.
If the drywall in a wall is cracking, without being exposed to an outside force, it often means that there is a structural problem. Call a contractor or a building inspector who can diagnose the problem to ensure it is not something serious. Without repairing the underlying cause for the crack, the drywall will crack again.
The homeowner can often accomplish small drywall repairs, but a professional should repair serious problems. Water damage or cracks in your walls are often indicative of another, more serious problem. A licensed contractor should be able to assess the damage and make repairs that will keep your house as well as your drywall in excellent shape.