When it comes to the subject of drywall, this affordable, durable material is anything but dry. Used for a variety of home projects, including walls, ceilings, arches, eaves, and almost any architectural design element you can dream of, it’s versatility and ease of use make drywall one of the best materials with which to build. BUT, you have to maintain it.
Scuffs, tiny holes, and exposure can easily begin to wear this material down, weakening its structure and leading to damage in your home. However, maintaining your drywall isn’t a daunting task. Simply follow these tips to sustain your structural integrity as long as possible.
If you happen to see a nail popping out of your drywall, resist the urge to grab a hammer and nail it back in. We repeat: do not nail it back into the wall. This can lead to further damage inside the walls or ceilings and most likely, the nail will come out again. Instead, remove the exposed nail, find the stud within the wall, and replace the nai with a new one or a stronger screw. This keeps your drywall intact while also maintaining stability. If the hole is bothersome, you can plaster and paint over it to conceal where the nail came out
Holes Big and Small
Stuff happens. Whether you accidentally open your door too fast and it knocks a little hole into the drywall behind your door, or you try to lift a little too much while working out, lose your balance, and the barbell smashes a gaping portal into your basement wall—accidents happen. When they do, don’t panic. Holes in your drywall are relatively easy to fix, depending on their size.
For smaller, “oops!” holes, there are drywall plates you can install over the damage and then paint the plate to cover it, blending the repair in with the rest of your wall. For larger, “oh… s***!” damage, the process is a bit more involved. You’ll need to remove the damaged area completely so you can install a new panel of drywall. Once it’s properly in place, smooth out all the edges, make sure it is secure, and then paint over to cover and blend.
Water, Water Everywhere
Whether you’re hit with an unexpected rain storm, a pipe bursts, or there’s been a long standing leak somewhere in your ceiling that’s gone unnoticed until now, water can cause serious erosion to your normally sturdy drywall.
If you have water damage, the first thing to do is find where the water is coming from and fix the cause—otherwise, you’re just putting a very ill-equipped bandaid on a very serious problem. Once you repair the issue, you can begin to fix the damage to your drywall. If it’s a small, superficial spot from water, you can sand this area down, apply a stain resistant coating, and paint over to match your wall. However, be sure to check how bad the damage is. If it’s more than a water spot, you’ll need to completely remove and replace the drywall in the damaged area. Not doing so will result in further damage to your walls, as water weakens and eventually erodes the structure of the material.
Cracks, while unsightly if they’re larger, don’t always appear to be an issue you need to tend to immediately—however, ignoring them can lead to more damage than you can imagine. Cracks usually form in drywall from leaks inside the walls or from your home settling. However, pushing off filing these imperfections in can lead to foundational damage within your home, which is a huge and expensive problem.
When you see a crack, instead of shrugging it off and telling yourself “you’ll get to it later,” fill it in with a joint compound to secure the wall, drywall, and protect the foundation. The longer you leave even small cracks open, the bigger they can become and the more likely their impact on your home will grow with them.
Tiling in bathrooms, backsplashes, and fireplaces is a simple way to add elegance and beauty to your home—and installation is relatively easy. When it comes to replacing tile, however, if you’re not careful when removing old plates, you can damage drywall in the process and cause damage to your walls.
When removing, make sure you either break up the tile before taking it off the wall or use a special tool, like a wide blade putty knife, to ensure you are removing tiles properly and with as little—or no—damage to the drywall. If you do happen to mess up a bit, you can use drywall plates to cover damage and place tile over them.
Keep your drywall dry, strong, and looking fresh by following these tips. If you are unsure how to repair drywall damage or you have a project that is too daunting to try on your own, call in the professionals—we’re here to help.