I feel like there should be a certain classification of people who can put walls back together. Remember, this is coming from someone who was scared to unscrew a lightbulb at times.
All of that changed when I got a powertool in my hands. Meet my sister-in-law’s sawzall.
It was a good thing, too, because once both the electricians and plumbers left, I had about 20 holes upstairs and 15 holes downstairs to patch. D and I went back and forth on the best way to tackle it, and I think we figured out that it takes a little finesse. So, I became a drywall repair ninja! (This may not be rocket science to some of you, but I’m VERY proud of my skillz. Yes, with a “z.”)
Here are the basics:
- Prep your wall by cutting a square and making sure the edges are clean. A lot of our holes were circular, so I did a lot of cutting.
- Take a look and see if you’re close to studs. If you have a crossbeam or something to attach it to, great! If not, you’ll need to build one. Make sure you take a long enough piece of wood that overlaps both sides of the holes by 1/2″ or so. With drywall screws, drill that into the wall so that you have frame to place your drywall.
- Measure carefully. You need to measure both the length and width of your square, but also the thickness of the drywall. If your house is like ours, the newer drywall is thinner than the older drywall that we were patching. If that’s the case, make sure that you take some paint stirrers and drill them into your crossbeams to act as a filler. (I had to do this A LOT.)
- After measuring, cut out your square of fresh drywall. Pros can reuse the old drywall and make it look seamless – I couldn’t do this at all. For me, it was like putting a dirty bandaid on a wound.
- Screw the new piece of drywall with drywall screws to the crossbeams.
Wait… what? Stop?? I tackled these projects in different stages. I had 20 holes to fill upstairs alone! So, I did a majority of the patchwork in one day, and left the second half of this for later. Moving on…
- Take your drywall putty and slather it on the cracks. This is where you need to adhere the paper tape. I’m a bit particular about this part, because I really don’t like using the mesh – I just don’t want mesh marks coming through the drywall once it’s dry. I tear off the pieces, cover the seams and then cover the paper tape and entire wall area with drywall putty.
Muy Importante (“Very Important”): when you’re drywalling, make sure you cover about 1.5-2″ beyond the area you’re patching on the original wall. You want it to look like one seamless wall – as if there was never a hole, right? Trust me.
- Let it dry! (Not Let it Go… just dry. “Let it Go” was the theme song for the first round of drywall repair, fyi.)
- Revisit it to see if you need a second coat. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t.
- Sand it down with a drywall sander. No normal sander will do. Make sure it’s smooth so that you can paint over it and smile.
As my dad always says, “Declare victory and move on.” So, I used that as inspiration that our house will always be quirky, but at least it won’t have too many gaping holes!