Fix a Gouge in a Wall
Look at drywall work as an art form requiring patience, a steady hand, and practice. Sure, some people catch on quicker than others, but it just can’t be fudged.
For small gouges, use a wide taping knife; apply a careful coat of compound. For larger gouges, apply a piece of mesh tape first.
Let it dry and carefully sand to a smooth finish.
If you don’t know how to do it, learn from someone that knows how or take a scrap piece of drywall and practice on it.
A patch larger than 6″ to 7″ will require a back support to screw the drywall to.
Mend Drywall Cracks
Patching a drywall crack is probably the simplest drywall task to do. Getting in your car to purchase the materials is actually more difficult.
Cut a one 1/4″ V along the area that is cracked.
Fill the crack with compound and sand as necessary.
Run the taping blade to smooth out the compound. For quick drying, use a lightweight compound.
Fix Small Drywall Holes
Doorknobs are to drywall what bones are to dogs. Unless you have doorstops installed behind a door, your knob will devour the drywall, creating a bigger hole every time it hits it. A big hole requires either a blow patch or mesh patch depending on the size.
A blow patch is a square piece of drywall with a 1″ perimeter of paper. Cut the wall to the size of
the gypsum so that the square piece of drywall fits into the hole, leaving the paper to overlap the wall. The overlapping piece acts as the tape. Now tape the patch as though you were taping a seam. The process works for holes that are no larger than 6″. Any hole larger than that will require securing of the drywall from behind.
Using a small level, draw a square box around the hole. Draw the box at least one inch beyond the hole on all sides.
Use your drywall saw and cut out the drywall on the line.
Taking another piece of drywall and using your utility knife, cut a piece of drywall at least 2″ larger than the height and length of the hole.
Again, using your utility knife, cut the paper on only one side of the drywall, remove the cut side of the paper, and remove the gypsum, leaving a flap of paper on the other side to act as the piece of tape.
Run the edges of the hole. Apply a 2″coating of compound along the edge of the cut-out.
Set the drywall patch piece in place and with compound and taping knife patch the seam and let it dry. A second and third coat will be needed.
Repair Large Drywall Holes
Fixing large holes in drywall requires a little more work than the small ones, but with a little patience it can be accomplished.
Repairing a large area of drywall requires that you use a drywall saw and cut out a rectangle or square around the existing hole. The procedure is typically for holes that are larger than 6″.
Secure a stud or two (depending on the size) to the adjacent drywall. Leave half of the stud into the open space so that the new replacement drywall can be screwed to it.
These additional studs will help stabilize the patch.
Tape and compound the perimeter as you would any other drywall seam. See the previous entry, Repairing Cracked Seams (p. 144), for more detailed instructions.
Restore Damaged Wall Corners
Dented corners are a little more challenging than cracks and gouges, whereas small dents in the metal corner bead are pretty easy to fix. File them back into place without doing too much damage and retape the area.
When a crack is evident at the edge of the vertical rise of the corner bead, re-secure the corner bead with a drywall screw.
Apply compound to the edge of the corner bead and space.
Cut a long enough strip of drywall tape and apply it over the compound, smoothing it out with a taping knife.
Once the compound is dry, apply a second and third coat, allowing it to dry each time between coats.
Before the introduction of drywall, plaster was used for walls in homes.
Cracks due to the age of a home, shifting of walls (caused by settling), and the contraction and expansion due to climate changes, all contribute to the cracking and unsightly veins found on plaster walls. It is difficult to find contractors that specialize in plastering these days, because of the introduction of high-production drywall construction.
A good plastering job requires years of experience; however, the average homeowner should be able to do a simple plaster repair with a little practice and patience. There are many steps to the installation of plaster, but it’s much easier to repair.
There are different ways plaster is applied: over wood lathe (1/2″ × 2″ lateral strips of wood), wire lathe, or masonry. Plaster usually requires three coats, but these days they make it a lot easier, needing less time and effort to complete a project.
Repair a Crack in Plaster
Plaster is not as user-friendly as drywall; therefore, it calls for a little more fortitude and artistic contact. The components of plaster soak up water, causing it to dry quickly and crack as a result. Experience is the key to patching large areas of plaster, but a novice could easily accomplish this task.
With a scraper, make the crack a little wider. It should not exceed 1/8″, if possible. Remove any loose paint, plaster, and plaster dust, using a brush or vacuum cleaner, and wipe clean.
Slightly dampen the area to be repaired and let it dry.
Apply a plaster primer on and around the area to be patched.
Make sure to read the directions on the plaster patch before filling the inside of the crack with plaster. Note: Plaster has a tendency to dry quickly. If you see that happening, add a little water.
Do not get discouraged. It takes practice to apply plaster smoothly and consistently and to get used to its properties.
Smooth it over with a wider layer of spackle until it is even with the rest of the wall. If the area is a little wider than normal or there is a hole in the wall, use mesh tape, slightly indenting it, applying a coat of plaster and then a second coat after the first is dry.
Once you are sure it is dry, sand it down to a smooth finish. Plaster takes a little more work to sand. If you are satisfied, wipe off any dust, prime it, and now you are ready for your finish coat paint.
If the plaster is actually falling off the walls or ceilings, you may want to take on the task of removing all of the plaster and replacing it with drywall.
Before attempting to patch a large area watch someone tape, and get a few pointers. There are quite a few tricks of the trade, which only practical experience can teach you. Also, find an area in a closet for practicing, before attempting to try it elsewhere. Your local library or a home improvement store is a good resource to help in furthering learning.
Remove the Wall to Get at the Problem
Removing a wall in a finished space is where patience, a steady hand, and your ability to think ahead come into play. Taking a step back and seeing the whole picture is crucial to not damaging other areas in a space while removing a wall. Protect the space before beginning any work.
Using a stud finder, locate the stud that is furthest away from the door edge and beyond the stud you think is warped.
Take a long level and place it on the stud until the horizontal bubble is between the lines, indicating that it is plumb. Allow enough room on the stud for the drywall to be secured to it.
Draw a straight vertical line along the stud side of the level.
Using a drywall saw or reciprocating saw (for plaster), cut from top to bottom, along the vertical line.
Remove the drywall or plaster from the wall between the door frame and your cut. Discard any debris, maintaining a clean work area.
Take out any nails or screws from the studs.
Use a hammer and pry bar to remove the warped stud.
Measure the length needed and cut a new 2″ × 4″ to replace the old one. Make sure the new stud is kiln-dried lumber. Kiln-dried means that it is already dried out, minimizing a chance of it warping.
Toe-nail #8 common nails on both sides and at the top and bottom of the stud. Toe-nailing is to diagonally hammer the nail into the stud.
Once you have secured the stud, measure the area of drywall that is needed, cutting a sheet of drywall to that measurement.
Nail or screw the drywall to the studs every 8″ to 10″ on every stud. Make sure that the nails or screws are recessed but not breaking the paper on the drywall. To finish the drywall see Chapter 10.
In most cases, a simple adjustment and a little touch up is all that is needed. A few simple repairs can retain the beauty in an older home sustaining its character and charm for many years to come.