• DIY Drywall Repair

    DrywallConsidering drywall covers the majority of your home’s walls and ceilings it is inevitable that at some point you will need to patch a hole. Of course you could call someone to patch it for you, however this is indeed the kind of project that a homeowner should be able to repair themselves. Some hardware stores or home improvement centers even stock a variety of drywall patches that can help speed the repair. It is a good idea to patch the holes promptly. If you wait until a day before guests arrive, you probably won’t have enough drying time for the coats of compound and touch-up paint.

    Step 1

    The first step in repairing an irregular hole is to square up the opening. Cut a square patch slightly larger than the damaged area, and trace its outline onto the wall. Penciled marks on the wall and patch ensure that you’ll put it in the same position when you fasten it later.

    Step 2

    Use your jab saw to cut along the penciled perimeter. Cut just to the outside of the line to create a bit of clearance for the edges of the patch so you won’t have to force it into place.

    Step 3

    Using your circular saw cut 2-inch-wide strips of 3/4-inch plywood about 3 inches longer than the hole’s biggest dimension. Slip a strip through the hole, center its width along the opening, and screw it into position.

    Step 4

    Finishing a patchScrew the patch to the plywood strips. For large holes, put strips around the entire perimeter of the hole. Apply tape over the edges of the patch, then apply three feathered coats of joint compound to blend the repair to the wall’s surface. Sanding and painting complete the process.

    What If… You don’t have wood strips to attach a patch?

    You can take advantage of the adhesive property of drywall compound to bond a tapered plug into the hole. To do this, create an inward bevel of about 45 degrees along the hole’s perimeter when you square it. Then rasp down the edges of the patch to an approximate matching hole. When you’re satisfied with the fit, brush loose particles from the mating surfaces of both the hole and patch, and “butter” the edges with joint compound. Push the plug into the hole, and tape the edges. Subsequent coats of compound and sanding follow the usual procedures.

    Use a self-stick patch:

    For a fast patch, consider a self-adhesive sheet of perforated metal or plastic. Trim it to size, if necessary, strip off the backing, and press it into place. No taping is necessary, so you can immediately apply the first coat of joint compound. For a super-sturdy repair, top it with a self-adhesive sheet.

    Applying a “hot” patch:

    Some drywallers like this technique because it eliminates the installation of supports for the patch. Cut the patch about 3 inches larger than the opening it will cover and score lines on the back of the drywall 1-1/2 inches from each edge with a utility knife. Snap the board, but instead of cutting the face paper, carefully peel the gypsum core from the face paper. After cleaning any remaining gypsum from the paper, test-fit the patch. To install it, smear drywall compound around the hole’s perimeter and firmly press the face paper into it. Use a drywall knife to remove excess compound. Two or three feathered coats of compound complete the repair.

    Checklist:

    Time- Allow 30 minutes to insert the patch and apply the first coat of compound

    Tools:

    • Square
    • Utility knife
    • Circular saw to cut plywood strips
    •  Jab saw
    • Drill/driver
    • Joint compound
    • Mud pan
    • Drywall knife

    Skills:

    Cutting drywall, driving screws, applying tape and joint compound

    Prep:

    Put down a dropcloth to protect finished flooring

    Materials:

    • Plywood strips
    • Screws
    • Scrap drywall panel for patch material
    • Drywall tape

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