18 May

Drywall Repair 101

peak roofing drywall repair toolsAs you probably know, drywall is a critical part of the structure of your house. It’s what your walls and ceilings are made of, and what keeps the outside elements from getting into the interior of your home. It’s also super versatile and cost-effective.

But with all the advantages of drywall, it can wear down over time causing cracks, dents, and holes. However, around here, storms are the biggest threat to drywall. If your roof isn’t in good shape, water can get into interior walls and cause all kinds of problems. More on that later.

Let’s take a look at each issue, starting with the smallest offenders.

The Cracks

These are the most common and the easiest to repair. They’re often a result of your house settling, which is completely normal. But you need to look at the condition and location to figure out how best to handle it.

The Small Ones

If they’re minor, it only requires a few tools, including dywall compound, drywall tape, two knives (utility and joint), some kind of sanding instrument (sandpaper, hand sander, or sanding sponge), drywall screws, maybe a drill, and a face mask.

Here’s what you do:

  • Use the utility knife to widen the crack.
  • Push on the crack. If it moves, put the drywall screws in and use the drill to attach to the closest stud.
  • Put drywall tape over the crack.
  • Cover it with drywall compound and smooth it with the joint knife. Let it dry.
  • Apply a couple more coats and smooth it.
  • Use one of the sanding tools on the surface to smooth it, but be sure to wear a face mask. You don’t want to inhale the fine particles because they’re made of things like talc, calcite and gypsum, which can possibly give you a persistent sore throat or cough.

The Big Ones

Here’s what to look for: cracks that are more than 1/8” wide, those that appear on a sagging ceiling, or those that are discolored. This can indicate a deeper structural problem, or leak. If you have these issues, you’ll probably want to call a professional.

The Dents

Again, like with cracks, when you have dents, it depends on the severity of them. The repair is somewhat similar to that of cracks. But first you sand the edges around the dent that’s been cut away, then prime the area, which seals it. Apply a bit of compound to fill the dent, then feather the edge so it blends with the surrounding wall.

The Holes

Unless you’re a skilled DIYer, this one is the trickiest. That said, if you want to give this a go, you’ll use some of the tools that are used with cracks and dents, in addition to a few more, including hardwood plywood or scrap lumber, carpenter’s square, tape measure, and a stud finder. Other materials you’ll need are:

Drywall panels. There are many types: regular or whiteboard, green, paperless, purple, type X and soundproof. Choose the one that best integrates with your wall.

Drywall compound. There are four main types:

  • All-purpose/pre-mixed. This is the easiest to work with. It’s also available in a lightweight variety and is easier to sand, but not as durable.
  • Taping compound. It’s like mud, is best for embedding tape into the hole, and it’s one of the strongest. But it’s a bit harder to sand.
  • Topping compound. It comes in powder form and is stronger than all-purpose compound, but not as strong as taping compound. If you live in a region with high humidity, this is a good choice.
  • Quick-setting compound. This is a great option if you need to fix it in a flash. This also comes in a lightweight option and is easier to sand.

Drywall joint tape. This comes in two types:

  • Fiberglass. This is self-adhesive and easy to use, but more challenging when you get to the corners. It’s not as strong as paper so you can bolster it with a setting compound.
  • Paper. This is a stronger option, but it’s not self-adhesive so you need to apply a coat of compound before you put it on the hole.

Fasteners. You’re going to want to use screws instead of nails. Nail don’t last as long and can puncture the patch. But what kind of screws?

You’ll want to use those that are the same length as the thickness of the drywall panel. You also want to choose the right type of thread. If you have wood studs, get coarse threads. If you have metal studs, get fine threads. Finally, get screws with the thinnest shanks because they’re easier to secure and they’ll prevent shredded paper from getting bunched up around the head.

How to Patch a Hole

This process is decidedly more involved. Here’s what to do:

  • Find the studs on either side of the hole with the stud finder.
  • Outline the area you’re going to remove with the carpenter’s square. but leave an extra inch all around the hole. Make sure it extends between the centers of the studs on each side.
  • Measure, then cut a piece of scrap lumber or plywood so that it’s 2-4 inches longer than the patch.
  • Affix the lumber vertically down the middle of the hole and secure it with the drywall screws at least an inch from the edges of the patch.
  • Put drywall tape over the seams. Make sure if you’re using paper tape and compound that it completely dries before moving on.
  • Apply drywall compound on the tape and smooth it. Then apply two more coats, the last one being topping compound.
  • Smooth the surface with your sanding tool and of course, wear a face mask.

Water Damage

In North Texas, Mother Nature can sure throw us curveballs. Here’s what happens. Water can get into the roof, run down the rafters and walls, and damage insulation and boards. Worst case scenario, it can affect the framing, too. Once water travels through the attic space and makes its way into interior spaces, it can cause everything from minor staining to health-threatening mold.

When this happens, it’s best to call the professionals. Peak offers a full array of services that will stop and repair your damage, including:

  • Inspecting the damage
  • Attic insulation repair
  • Removal of damaged materials
  • Replacement of affected drywall, trim, tile, or carpet
  • Re-texture damaged ceiling and wall sections
  • Patch, seal, and paint
  • Replacement of damaged flooring

Next Steps

As you can see, all of these drywall repairs are time-intensive, require ample knowledge, and significant skills. If you want to try to fix these things yourself and feel confident, you’ll achieve the best results—except for water damage, this one’s a biggie—go for it.

However, if you feel hesitant about any part of repairing your drywall, that’s what we’re here for.

Peak Roofing & Construction has a staff of highly qualified professionals, who have years of experience and can fix any problem you might have. Your house is a big investment and chances are, you’ll want it to be repaired the right way. Give us a call. We’ll be there as fast as humanly possible.

Jeff Riss

Jeff has 20 years of sales experience, a love of roofing, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit. He leads Peak Roofing & Construction’s team but also is known for getting his hands (and knees) dirty on a job site. His passion for customer service, integrity, and quality craftsmanship drives his success. Peak Roofing & Construction is a family-owned, locally-operated business focused on doing things the right way. His deep understanding of roofing, gutters, windows, fences and exterior painting provide a strong foundation for running the business and serving his customers.
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