Drywall is a generally sturdy construction material that can sometimes be damaged by changing weather and accidents around the house. Here we’ll cover the most common types of drywall repairs and how you can do them yourself.
If you see an irregularly shaped crack in your wall at home, you may actually be dealing with plaster, rather than drywall. If drywall cracks, it does so on a completely horizontal or vertical seam between two where two drywall sheets meet.
Surface Drywall Cracks
To determine whether the crack is surface only, carefully widen the crack to check to see if the tape connecting the two sheets is intact underneath. If the tape is still intact, the crack was probably created by the shrinking and expansion of the drywall compound used to smooth the seam.
To repair a surface crack fill the crack with drywall compound by swiping the joint knife across the crack at an angle. This motion can take a little bit of practice. Just make sure the compound is as flush with the wall as possible and fanned out to blend with the rest of the wall.
To finish this repair, lightly sand over the new compound, brush away the dust, and cover it with matching wall paint.
Deep Drywall Cracks
If you have discovered the seam tape below the drywall has cracked, begin by removing the damaged tape including about 6 inches on both sides (to prevent future cracks). Cut it with a razor knife, taking extra care to not rip the drywall paper.
Fill the crack with drywall compound using the same scraping, angled motion mentioned before with your joint knife. Once the crack is filled, place a thin layer of the compound where the tape used to be. When that layer is still wet, place a strip of fiberglass tape spanning the entire gap of missing tape.
Bed the fiberglass tape into the compound using your joint knife and flatten any wrinkles. To finish the repair, add thin layers of compound over the taped area, letting each completely dry before the next application. Thick layers will only lead to more cracking in the future.
Once the joint is completely disguised and flush with the rest of the wall, lightly sand and brush away the dust before painting.
Sometimes nails will pull away from their studs and protrude through drywall or drywall tape, also known as “nail pops.” To fix this unsightly problem, begin by totally exposing the nail using a utility knife by scraping away the drywall. Drive the nail back into its stud and flank it by two drywall screws. You can also pull the nail out completely and replace it with a screw.
Make sure that screw heads are recessed slightly so they can be easily disguised by the compound. If you install multiple drywall screws in a row, cover the line with fiberglass tape using the procedure mentioned above.
Drywall or reciprocating saw
For holes that are six inches or less in diameter, you should be able to find drywall patch kits at your local hardware store. If you have a scrap piece of drywall, you can also make your own.
Cut a piece of drywall that is slightly (1-2 inches) large than your hole. Trace around your cut piece while holding it over the hole. Cut out the traced area with a reciprocating or drywall saw.
Cut two pieces of 2×4 wood that are slightly taller than the height of your hole. Insert these reinforcements on the two vertical sides of the hole and secure with drywall screws making sure 2 inches are available for the new piece to attach to. If a stud is exposed, you can use that to attach the new drywall as well.
Secure the new drywall piece to the 2×4 using drywall screws. Trim any drywall that is protruding from the new piece. Border all four sides of the new piece with fiberglass tape, extending it a few inches on the top and bottom but not overlapping with the horizontal pieces.
Use thin layers of drywall compound to completely mask the patch, letting each layer to dry completely in between. Complete the repair as detailed above.