Drywall Repair Issues You Can Easily Do On Your Own.
Drywall damage can be caused by many things, from water damage and cracks to old drywall ankers or just damage from hitting the wall somehow. No matter the cause, it’s vital to tackle the repair work before the damage spreads or worsens.
By maintaining your drywall and its appearance, you can keep your home in good condition as it ages, which can increase your resale value and save you money in the long run.
Read on to learn how to tackle small drywall repair issues before they worsen. We’ll also discuss the importance of addressing them quickly and tips for preventing damage from occurring in the first place.
1. Patch Drywall Holes Up To ½” With Finishing Compound
Finishing compound is a lightweight compound explicitly designed for finishing walls ready for paint, as well as patching small to medium-sized holes in drywall. When restoring a small hole up to ½”, it is vital to use the right product to ensure structural integrity, durability and be able to give you a nice quality finish ready for paint without having to sand your guts out. Do not use a multi-purpose compound that you can also tape with, this has glue added which makes it way more difficult to sand compared to finishing compound, and it's just not needed.
Begin by protecting the floor around the area you are working on with some poly or paper to keep it clean in case you spill mud on the floor. For holes ⅛” or less, all you need to do is use the back of your putty knife to push the edges of the paper in so that you create a little dimple in the drywall so you can fill it. It’s always better and much easier to fill a repair vs trying to cover it over because you will just end up creating a larger hump in the wall instead of a flat surface when done. After you dimple the hole, just apply mud, and whip it tight, leave no access mud behind other than that which stayed in the hole and dimple your filling, then give it a day to dry, and re-apply another coat the next day the same way, let dry and sand. In the end, apply 3-4 coats in total, and that's it, you're done.
Now for holes between ⅛” to ½” there is a different process to ensure the hole is fixed properly and won’t crack in the future. Start by grabbing a utility knife and cutting the hole larger on the surface of the board, but not any bigger at the back of the board. Almost like cutting a “V”, or cutting about a 30-45 degree angle around the hole, making it larger on the surface but the back of the hole is no bigger. What this does is create backing for the mud, so once it's dry it can not be pushed into the hole. Imagine a ¼” perfect cylinder hole in a wall, if you just put mud in it, and once dry you pushed on it, the cylinder of mud you installed would just push right through, and you would have your hole there again. Now imagine your V-shaped hole we discussed earlier, once filled with mud and dry, if you tried to push on it, it would not move at all, because the gypsum or drywall is actually acting as backing to hold the patch from being able to move. Filling a larger hole this way, up to ½” is a little more work, but it is an exceptionally good way to do the repair without actually having to tape it and skim the wall. It's easy for anyone to do, and you can get quality results on your own without having to hire a professional. Now once cut out, dimple the edges a little, and fill with 3-4 coats, whipping it tight with your putty knife each time and letting it dry in between coats, then sand and paint.
2. Nail Or Screw Pops.
One of the most common issues with drywall is popped nails or screws. It can be very frustrating. You could have perfectly finished drywall that looks beautiful except for these few dreaded screw or nail pops right in the middle of your ceiling or wall.
There are mainly 3 different reasons this can happen.
1) Screws/nails were sunk too deep during installation. The drywall paper is what screws/nails use to hold the drywall in place, unlike plywood, if the screw is sunk past the paper, there is no integrity left. Although the gypsum inside the sheet of drywall is solid, it is actually brittle, and has no real strength on its own, and will crack and fall apart if it weren't for the paper sheath that holds it together. For this reason, once a screw or nail penetrates the paper surface, it is compromised and is actually providing no support at all.
2) Three adjacent studs, joists, or trusses are not flush, so as the drywall lays against these, one stud, joist, or truss in the middle could be inwards say ¼”, compared to the other 2, putting a lot of pressure on all the screws or nails. This pressure over time can eventually cause the screw or nail to rip through the paper and create the dreaded so-called “pop”, or everything could look just fine, and then from nowhere these pops can come about, typically when you paint, or repaint. You see, as mentioned earlier, it's the paper sheath that holds the screw, so when you get the paper wet from painting, it becomes weak, and with enough pressure from the miss-aligned studs, joist, or trusses, the paper can tear through and the pop appears.
3) If there is a screw or nail too close to an electrical box that has plastic ears that space it off the stud, these ears create a bulge between the drywall. Heat vents with layers of metal that also create a bulge, or protection plates installed to prevent screws or nails from penetrating pipes or wires, but end up creating a large bulge in the drywall, also metal brackets used for framing. All these things need to be considered when deciding where to install the fasteners to hold or support your drywall. It is recommended to keep screws or nails at least 6-8” away from these situations to keep the pressure off of the screws to prevent pops in the future.
How to properly repair screw or nail pops.
For Screw Pops, use either a screw gun or a screwdriver and remove the popped screw to start with. Once the screw is pulled, it will need to be replaced properly with a new screw that is guaranteed to stay in place and not pop out again. You can test your new screw by pushing on the drywall after you install it, and carefully watch your new screw to make sure you don't see any movement at all. Repeat if necessary until you have a good screw that holds strong, just below the paper surface so you can fill it tight, but not too deep that it tears the paper sheath.
For Nail Pops, you will need to use some kind of punch to hammer the nail through the drywall and flush to the stud, joist, or truss underneath. Then replace with a 1 1/4 drywall screw, not another nail. Nails were used all too often back in the day, but they do not hold nearly as well as screws, I'm not sure why it took so many years for people to stop using them, but it is highly recommended not to.
Once the popped screw or nail is replaced with a new screw, you can then fill it and any other holes that you pulled with a swipe of finishing compound. To do this properly, take a little mud on a small drywall putty knife and whip it over the screws tightly to remove any access compound, all you want to do is fill the hole, any mud left behind will just have to be sanded off later, so don't cause yourself any extra unnecessary work. Then allow a day to dry and repeat the same process 3 times minimum, and sand lightly between each coat once dry, then you're ready to paint. It's that easy, but the more mud you leave behind, the more work and dust you create, so work smart not hard.
This is, overall, not a difficult process to do on your own. It is time-consuming and takes some
level of concentration along with a delicate hand, but if you're handy you can save yourself a few dollars, and with a little guidance here, you can get this done with quality results.
Drywall repair is integral to maintaining and protecting your investment in your home. Learning
about potential issues and repairing them before they worsen can save you money in the long
run. Proper maintenance can extend the life of your walls and help protect your investment. If you don't have the proper tools or materials to use or don't have the time or ability to do this on your own, then it would be best to hire a professional, and we would love to help.
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