Thinking about doing minor drywall repair yourself?
A little unsure about it?
Well, don’t be. It’s not nearly as hard or daunting a task, as it may seem. Just follow the simple step-by-step instructions, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Ready? O.K. then let’s do the necessary …
In the following pictures and outline, I’ll show you what your
basic tools and materials are for drywall repair. You don’t
necessarily have to have exactly what I specify, but at least
something in the neighborhood operationally speaking.
and Materials (pictured)
- 12″ Drywall Knife – to apply joint compound
- Putty Knife – to scoop up joint compound from container
- Container of Joint Compound, or drywall “mud” as it is
- Mesh (see-through) Type Drywall Tape – used to strengthen the
repair piece to surrounding wall
- Paint-Stir Stick and 1 1/4″ Long Drywall Screws – to support
drywall repair piece
- Measuring Tape – to measure drywall repair piece (to later cut)
- Utility Knife – use to clean and cut bits of flaky paper off of
edges when cleaning
- “Medium Grade Sandpaper – to use when sanding
- Piece of Drywall (not pictured) – normally 1/2″ is sufficient to
use for drywall repair
Cut the Hole
With your drywall saw (pictured), begin cutting hole. If not
already done, proceed to cut, or “square-up” the hole, as it is much
easier to cut and secure a squared drywall repair piece into place.
Rather than trying to fit an irregular, awkward-fitting repair
piece, this step significantly allows your drywall repair project to
become much more efficient.
As stated prior, if this is already basically done for you, go to
Clean Edges of Hole
(This picture was taken at a distance to give you an idea of
relative size of the hole. This type of hole is pretty common, and
one that can certainly be fixed rather easily. It was already
“squared”, and required a little more cleaning that resulted in the
hole that you see.)
In this step, make sure to properly clean the edges of the
hole of bits of drywall that might be hanging on. Also, take your
utility knife, and gently cut any loose, or flaky pieces of paper
that might also be hanging on as a result of tearing the drywall
away when cutting takes place.
Lastly, take a wet rag and wipe all around the edge to wipe off
excess dust and paper.
Now … For
The Drywall Repair
Secure Wooden Paint Stick to Back of
This step adds support for your drywall repair piece to which you
will secure with drywall screws. Use only coarse, tight-threaded 1
1/4″ screws*. This type of threading
will prevent the thin paint-stir stick from splitting.
*NOTE – With a phillips-head
screwdriver (the criss-crossed head), wallow out a slight depression
in the drywall where you will place your screw. The reason is so
that the screw will depress lower than the top of the surface of the
drywall, to allow for complete coverage of joint compound. When
sanded, the surface will be smooth and
Secure Drywall Repair Piece Into
This is the step to actually secure your drywall repair piece to
the wooden stir-stick that you afixed to the back of wall within the
Using your pre-cut (by you) repair piece, wallow out two holes
for the screws to go into, and place the repair piece lightly over
the hole. Affix one screw, and then the other. Do not push too hard
as you might break the support itself. Just let the screws and
slight pressure from you, do the work.
Apply Mesh Drywall Tape
With your scissors or utility knife, cut same-length strips of
tape, and apply to the repair area. Make sure to cut the strips to
overlap the edges of the hole at least two to three inches. In some
cases, I might even double-up the number of strips I use, depending
on the repair.
Why I like to use mesh tape, in addition to the overall strength
it provides, the tape will adhere to the repair area. Just stick it
on, and go.
(The tape in the picture is very light and may not seem to be
there at first glance, but it’s there.)
Apply First Coat of Drywall “Mud”, or
In this step, take your putty knife and scoop out some mud, put
it on the 12″ drywall knife, and apply to repair area.
Always check to see if the consistency of the joint compound is
like that of cake icing, rather than that of being thick and pasty.
Usually you need to whip the mud into shape. Just visit my page on
how to properly prepare
joint compound to smoothly apply the mud without any
Be sure to learn to gently apply joint compound and not slap it
on haphazardly. Put it on slowly and surely. You’ll know you’ve done
a goog job by just barely seeing the mesh tape poking through the
And always “feather”, or thinly fan out the edges of your
application to provide consistency all around the perimeter of the
It’s best to let the mud dry over night, so as to completely let
it set-up and firmly dry.
Completely sand the repair area. Make sure to sand the edges well
to remove any ridges that arise when applying mud,and subsequent
hardening occurs. This is your first sanding
Second Coat of Joint
This step involves applying your second coat of drywall mud. As
in the first application, coat the area with mud and extend the
coverage out another 6″ – 10″ all around the edges, to add more
strength to the repair itself. You’re trying to achieve a consistent
application that totally covers any tape that might be showing while
maintaining a consistently “flat” look relative to the rest of the
wall. In other words, you don’t want have a repair job look like a
hump in the middle of the wall.
That’s the reason for feathering out more joint compound beyond
your original application.
(I took this picture at this angle to give you an idea of how
much more mud I added in the second coat, over the first coat of
mud. Some people may not see the need to apply as much the second
time around as I do, but I always feel comfortable with a little
With your “medium” grade sand paper, perform the second sanding.
Be sure to sand in a circular motion while applyng consistent
pressure to any one area. You don’t want to “gouge”, or sand a rut
into your repair. Just be nice and consistent in your sanding
motion. Don’t over-sand especially at the taped area. While
generally not a problem, you don’t want to sand the taped areas to
the point of taking off what mud you did apply earlier.
The best way to know when you’ve sanded enough is to simply take
your hand and feel the wall itself. Does it feel smooth, or rough?
If rough, sand a little more.
At this point, you’ll have to determine to add maybe a third coat
(you’ll definitely do a third application for large repairs) or let
the second coat be the final one. Your “feel” will tell the story
When you’re through with the actual repair, always prime the
wall for proper sealing.
Well, that’s about it for
drywall repair. Remember, for a slightly bigger repairs, you’ll need
to work with bigger paint stir-sticks – for use with 5 gallon
buckets of paint – or even using the wall studs themselves for
support, to hang your drywall repair piece.
And for those people with drywall work and no time …
“I Need Drywall Work Done … I Just Don’t Want To Do
If you’ve got some drywall issues that need to be addressed but
simply don’t have the time (nor the inclination) to do it yourself,
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