The purpose of the following guide is to help the beginner do-it-yourselfer accomplish his/her first drywall repair, with minimal steps, tools and materials. Since most of the homes I repair are in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area, I am going to focus this discussion toward conventional drywall, finished with a smooth texture. If your home’s walls are made of plaster, I wouldn’t recommend attempting a repair yourself. With plaster, it is best to leave it to a qualified professional.
Drywall repair is a straightforward process that just about any homeowner can learn to do. Given that homes today are built with lumber inferior to that of generations past, movement of drywall from warping and shrinking in the home’s framing causes a variety of drywall-related problems. Therefore, many homeowners will need to repair corners, cracks, screw pops, tape seams, and other Drywall Quote imperfections that accrue over time. In addition, damage from water intrusion, household accidents and normal wear and tear necessitate a periodic drywall repair to keep the walls looking good, especially before they are painted.
Drywall Repair Tools and Materials
Go to your local home improvement store and buy:
- (1) 4″ Drywall Knife
- (1) 12″ Stainless Steel Mud Pan
- (1-qt) All-Purpose Joint Compound
- (1) Drywall Sanding Sponge
- (1-qt) Latex-Based Drywall Primer
- (1) 2″ Angle-Tipped Paint Brush
1. Depending on the amount of drywall repairs required, remove an appropriate amount of joint compound (or “mud,” as it is commonly referred to) from the plastic tub using your 4″ drywall knife and scrape it off into your 12″ mud pan. The idea here is to keep the joint compound fresh so that is doesn’t dry out-so only take as much mud out as you can use within 10 minutes. Otherwise, “chunks” of drywall mud develop, making your drywall repair much more difficult.
2. Briefly work the drywall mud back and forth in your pan a few times-like you would knead bread dough. This removes air from the mud to help reduce bubbles when you place it on the wall.
3. Apply a thin coat of drywall mud to the crack or dent. Use the knife to scrape the mud flush with the surrounding surface of the drywall. It is better to apply 2 or 3 thin coats of mud (allowing each coat to dry in between applications) versus one thick coat. One of the more common mistakes I see with drywall repair is mud that is applied too thick. This rarely results in a good surface and makes for additional time and mess during the sanding phase.
4. Allow the mud to dry. Dry time is highly influenced by type and brand of compound, thickness and amount of mud application, as well as ambient temperature and humidity of the room. If you want to accelerate dry time, grab a hair dryer to dry the area (as seen in this picture of my craftsman Drew).
5. Once the drywall mud is completely dry, place a drop cloth below the area of drywall repair, as you’re going to make a mess next! Use your sanding sponge to sand the area flush with the remaining wall. Use lighter pressure as you finish to avoid gouging or scratching up your work. Some people like to have a buddy hold a shop vacuum up to the area to suck up all the drywall dust while they work. If you decide to do this make sure you have a drywall dust or HEPA filter installed-otherwise you’ll just end up blowing the dust throughout the room.