Repairing Drywall

Repairing Drywall

One of the more common repairs a homeowner will face is drywall repair after some inadvertent circumstance results in there being a hole in the wall or ceiling.  Older homes (generally those built before 1945 or so, with some exceptions, are usually found with plaster walls.  Some of the higher end homes had plaster even much later -for those who could afford it.  Sheetrock (sometimes called gyprock, gypsum board, drywall) is not as durable as plaster.  Plaster is a cementious substance that was troweled on ‘wet’ over wire lath in recent times or wood lath all the way back to colonial times.

This short tutorial will demonstrate some excellent craftsmanship in drywall repair.  Notice the tradesman is wearing his PPE (rubber gloves) to protect his hands from the gypsum dust.  It’s a sign of the times.  Years ago, we thought little of what we had our hands into, probably because PPE was not readily available, mostly.  Safety glasses and gloves are a minimum standard these days.

Tools to have on hand for repairing a hole in drywall are:

  • a 6″ broadknife
  • a mud pan or a hawk
  • a 10″ broadknife
  • a medium grit sanding block
  • a self-adhering patch kit
  • some all purpose joint compound

Remove loose pieces of gypsum and frayed paper, taking care not to remove too much, making it worse than it was.  Apply the self-adhering patch by applying gentle pressure to get it smoothed out.    Apply the first coat of mud using the 10″ broadknife.  Apply the mud by placing the knife half on and half off the patch.  Repeat all around.  Use smooth strokes taking care not to remove too much mud.  While applying mud , place pressure on the outside corner of the knife when wiping the edges of the mud lifting the outside of the knife off of the mud.

Allow to dry thoroughly, usually overnight. Take the sanding block and sand -giving special attention to ‘feather out’ the edges nice and smooth.  This is what will stand out in a poor patch job.  Cautionary Note: Drywall (gypsum board) dust is toxic and care should be exercised to ‘contain’ the airborne particulates when sanding.  It is a fine dust and goes everywhere.  Where adequate PPE (dust mask or respirator).

The final skim coat will be a little wider than the first coatall the way around. This will help create the ‘illusion’ of a flat surface.  Once this coat is dried overnight, you can sand the entire patch, again, giving special attention to the edges so they don’t show through the paint or texture.

Overall, it’s fairly easy to do but requires some practice to get good at it.  Not a bad idea to try this home repair in the garage or cellar before you attempt to patch your living room wall.

For further information:

What is Drywall?

Drywall Safety

Gypsum Board


Drywall Taping Compound

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