Drywall patching can be fairly simple. The trick is to take your time making sure each step is as close to perfect as possible. This way, you will be pleased with the final result.
Any part of the process that is ignored can cause problems with the next step finally leading to a poor outcome. Always use a drop cloth below your working area to catch any falling debris. Not only will this protect your flooring but will make cleanup alot easier too.
Small patches – Depending on the size of the patch, you may have to remove the surrounding material in order to expose a sound surface. If the patch is relatively small, you may be able to just scrape off the loose material surrounding the repair and then just fill it with a patching compound of your choice. There are many products on the market but I prefer lightweight. It is easy to use, doesn’t shrink and easy to sand. The main thing to keep in mind is to keep the patch as small as possible. This is especially important when patching holes caused by picture hanger nails or screws. If the patches are too big, you will be left with a horrible looking wall after it is painted. First remove any loose material. When left behind, fuzz, drywall paper, old spackle or paint chips can effect the final outcome. Next apply the patching compound. Remember to keep the patch as small as possible. This can be accomplished by using a very small putty knife. And now the most important part of the process. Using your thumb, wipe off the excess patching material surrounding the hole. This will keep your patches small and less noticeable after painting.
Large patches – Using a level, outline the area with level and plumb lines. You have a couple of options. Either locate existing wood backing (studs, plates or blocks) or install your own. Next cut along the lines with a retractable knife blade. It is best to just score a line first and then make a second and even third pass in order to cut completely through the material. Remove the old material and check the thickness. Drywall comes in various thicknesses so make sure that you are replacing it with the same size material. Now clean up the edges of the cut out to insure that the new material will be flush when installed.
Mark and cut a new piece of drywall to fit your cut out. It is advisable to cut the new piece about an 1/8” smaller than the cut out to ease in the installation of the new piece.
If your cut out was made over existing wood backing, you are now ready to install. If backing is needed, you can install a floating backing. Using a 1”x 2” or similar material, simply measure the cut out and install a slightly longer piece inside the opening using drywall screws to hold it in place. Now attach the new material to the wood backing using drywall screws. Make sure that the screw heads are slightly countersunk into the drywall surface to insure a smooth patch.
Stay tuned for our next tip on finishing your patch.