Monday, July 8, 2019

How To Patch Large Holes On The Wall

Don't melt down if a doorknob, misguided chair or an impromptu hockey game knows a big hole in your wall. With  little patience, even a novice can complete a near-invisible repair. While the total time commitment isn't great, the process stretches over three to four days to allow coated of drywall compound and paint to dry.

Before cutting out the damaged area, check the wall for obstructions. Often you will find a ware, pipe or duct. If so, work carefully around them with a drywall or keyhole saw. Or make a shallow cut by repeatedly scoring the line with a sharp utility knife.

It's easier to add backer board than  to try to cut the drywall over studs. Cut the backer boards about 4 in. Longer than the higher of the hole. Pine or other soft wood works well. Hold them tight in the backside of the drywall when fastening them. Hold the boards carefully so the screw points won't prick your fingers if they pop out the backside. The drywall screws will draw the boards in tight. Sink the screw heads slightly below the drywall surface.

Measure the thickness of the drywall (most likely 1/2 in.), and look for a large enough scrap from a damaged piece at a home center, rather than buy a full 4 x 8-ft. sheet. Cut it to size and screw it into place, spacing the screws every 6 in.

Taping the edges of the patch to make it invisible is the trickiest part of the job. Buy a gallon tub of drywall compound and a roll of paper tape. You can use mesh tape, but it isn't as strong. If you have a lot of repairs, also buy a sack of 20-minutes setting compound. Its hardens quickly and doesn't shrink, so it's ideal for filling cracks and gaps before applying the joint tape. For smoothest results, also pick up flexible 6- and 10- in. taping knives.

Apply a coat of compound and tape to each join. Thin the compound a bit with water to help embed the tape. Smooth the tape with 6-in. knife, pulling out from the center toward each end. Squeeze some, but not all, of the compound out from under the tape so you don't create a big hump on the wall. Immediately apply a light coating to the topside of the tape, tapering it out onto the wall.

The second and third coats are to blend and smooth the taped joints so they will be invisible when painted. After each coat is dry, set a straightedge against the wall to check for obvious dips and bumps. Knock off bumps and ridges with your taping knife. Add more coats as needed. Then sand, prime and paint.

Tip: When cutting out damage, leave a few inches of drywall at corners so you won't have to spread taping compound onto adjacent walls or ceilings and repaint them as well.

1. Draw a rectangle around the break with a straightedge or square. Look or put y our and through the break to feel for wires or other obstructions. Then cut out the section with a drywall saw or utility knife. 

2. Insert 1 x 4 backer boards at each end of the hole and drive a pair of 1-1/4 in. drywall screws through the drywall into the boards to anchor them. Fit and screw a drywall patch to the boards.

3. Lay a 1/8-in. thick bed of drywall compound over the joints and press paper tape into the compound with a flexible 6-in. knife. Immediately apply a thin layer of compound on top of the tape. Allow to dry. 

4. Apply a second coat of compound, drawing it at least 6 in. beyond the edge of the first coat to taper the edges of the repair. Let dry, then add a third coat to smooth any remaining uneven areas.

5. Draw a rectangle around the break with a straightedge or square. Look or put your hand through the break to feel for wires or other obstructions. Then cut out the section with a drywall saw or utility knife.

Setting compound for fast fixes.

Setting-type joint compound is a great product for filling deep holes and gaps and for your first taping coat because, unlike regular join compound, it hardens quickly without shrinking. That means less time spent filling. And you can apply a second coat of compound as soon as the first hardens. You don't have to wait for it to dry completely.

For most repairs, buy the light weight type that hardens in 20 minutes. It comes as a powder in sacks. Mix only what you can use in about 10 minutes. It hardens quickly, often in your pan if you are too slow. Completely clean your pan and knife before mixing a new batch. Otherwise it will harden even faster. To avoid clogging the sink drain, throw leftover compound in the trash.


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