Friday, January 16, 2009

Drywall Repair

Hooray, Do It Herself is back. Every Friday I'm supposed to be featuring a little home improvement project, or tip, or tool-using adventure. I've been a little lax. But I have lots of ideas in the hopper & will be sharing my success stories (please pray they will all be successful).

I did a pseudo-remodel on our guest bathroom about 8 months ago. Some paint, a big stripe, new hardware, some molding, new towels, a rug, some pictures. But in the course of removing the old towel bars to hang new, hip hooks - I left a 4 inch square hole in the wall. And it has been sitting like that ever since. And has been a very sensitive subject between my husband and I - he feeling like a very visible hole in the wall should be patched, me wondering how much longer I could put it off. Do you think it looks that bad?

But as fate would have it, I procured a small piece of drywall from a construction site dumpster, and bought the supplies I needed at Home Depot, and decided to surprise my husband with the repair last week. It was quite simple, and didn't take much time, or expensive tools. It did take place over four or five days though, with drying time in between. It could certainly be done in one day, with the steps a couple hours apart.

There are different ways to patch a hole in drywall, depending on the size of the hole. If it's small, like a nail hole - just use spackle. You can buy patches that are essentially metal mesh, in varying sizes. The patch is sticky on the back and you cover it with drywall mad (joint compound) and blend it all in. I considered this, but the hole was big enough that I decided to go with a drywall patch.

The first step was the cut the hole into a regular square shape. They have special drywall saws with a serrated blade, but I didn't want to buy one so i used a steak knife. And it worked quite well for me.

Below is a (crappy) picture of the drywall scrap I dug from the dumpster. You can buy small sheet that are two feet square, but I'm pretty cheap and only needed a few inches. Also in the picture are the tools I used: Mt. Dew (essential!), a utility knife, and my steak knife. That notch was already cut out of the drywall. Do you love my shiny gold, fake marble countertops? The next step is to trace the hole in your wall onto a piece of paper and cut it out. I just held the paper up and could feel the edges just fine.

Then I traced the template onto the drywall and cut it out with a utility knife. I didn't use the steak knife this time because I wanted more control. It took a little more muscle, but gave me cleaner, straighter edges.

Here are the supplies I used: Wallboard Joint Compound, spackle, and a small putty knife. I had a larger one too, but could have gotten by without it. The second picture is two popsicle sticks and a tube of Super Glue. These were used to secure the patch in the wall & keep it from falling into the gap. I don't know that it was really necessary, but my friend Jody said it was helpful. If you patch has a stud behind it then the popsicle stick isn't necessary - the stud will hold the patch in place.

Basically I glued a stick to the backside of the drywall. My hole was big enough to get my hand in there and hold it for a few seconds until it dried. Then I prepared my patch by "buttering the edges with joint compound. Use a small putty knife and spread all the edges.

Don't forget which way your patch fits in. When all the edges are ready, put some more superglue on the part of the popsicle stick that is exposed and nestle the patch in place. Obviously lots of the joint compound squishes out to the front or back, but it will hold in place. Push it in even with the wall around it, actually a tiny bit more, because you need room to texture the top to match also. Wipe off the excess joint compound. I used the putty knife and covered the entire patch with a thin layer.

Here is the waiting part. You have to let the whole thing dry. I left mine until the next day, but I think it only takes an hour or two - read the package of the joint compound. The next step is to sand and texture the patch to match the rest of the wall. Lightly sand the joint compound just until you have a smooth surface. Use your putty knife to spread spackle over the whole patch. Let dry. Lightly sand & spread spackle again. Let dry. I worked on this during nap time
over a few days. It would only take a few minutes each day.

Once the drywall is all covered and even with the surrounding area, you just need to create a texture to match your walls. Here is Arizona, all the houses pretty much have what is referred to as knock-down, or orange peel texture. Which I hate. And is hard to paint. I vow to one day have a home with smooth walls. Anyway, when they make it, they use this little machine to shoot small bits of spackle all over the walls. Then an accomplished drywall guy comes along with his big trowel and "knocks it down." Which means he lightly smooths it to give it texture. I am not accomplished at doing this, but here was my method.

I added some water to my spackle to thin it out a bit. I loaded up my putty knife and stuck it to the wall flat on, then pulled it off. I repeated this in a bunch of places over the patched area. I would let it dry for 5-10 minutes, then use the edge of my bigger trowel to knock it down the best I could. The best thing about this is that you can always sand it down if you don't like it. Or let it dry, lightly sand, and add more texture. It took me a couple tries. And it certainly doesn't look just like the rest of the wall, but it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.

The last step is to paint the whole thing. Since this is new drywall & spackle, you should use primer first. I have Kilz in a spray can, which has been very handy for a lot of projects around the house. I sprayed it on, let it dry 15-20 minutes per the instructions, and painted over the whole thing, blending it with the rest of the wall. Then I even finished the trim. Amazing, I know! My husband is a happy man, even if it did take him I week to notice my handiwork. Well, a week after I started, which was still a few days before I finished. And now we're both happy.

I submitted this to "I Made it Without my Hubby" at Shanty2Chic.


Megan said...

How timely! My 9-year-old kicked his heel through his bedroom wall during a typical Monday night tantrum. Daddy's patch just didn't quite permanently fix the first time... :)

Rasmussen Family said...

It turned out great. Next time you can come over and patch my walls. It is amazing how good it feels to finally finish cheap and simple projects. Cross it off your list- yeah!!!

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

My dad put his fist through the wall when I was a kid. My mom hung a frame around it for awhile. I assume they patched it at some point, but I'm sure they would've benefitted from this great tutorial!

Jess B said...

That's a great tutorial! Did you know that you can buy a spray can of orange peel texture stuff? I've used it and it's awesome! For a small job like you did, the thinning technique is better, but I had a few more spots to do so I bought the spray bottle and it did really well. Just something for you to keep in mind for next time. :)

Kirby3131 said...

Your wall looks great!!

I didn't know about the popsicle stick trick - that's clever! However, what I usually do is cut the patch first and trace the outline on the wall - and I do a kind of angle on the back so the patch and the wall are sort of mitered (and the patch won't fall through) - Jess beat me to it, telling you about the orange peel in a can. That stuff is great.

Can I tell you, Thanks again for hosting the stocking swap. I really enjoyed it.


Susan said...

You are amazing, Tara! I thought you repaired dry wall by calling a handyman. I'm not brave enough to try those kinds of projects myself, but you do a tremendous job. You make it look easy :)

Crazy Daisy said...

I am so happy your mentioned the essitial, Mt. Dew. No project could be completed in my house with out it! :)

Robyn said...

Wow. Very neat Tara. Majorly neat. I have seen wall repairs done before and not quite as good as this one.

n*stitches said...

What a fabulous tutorial! Thanks!

Becky said...

Great job Tara! I had to try to do that fake orange peel texture once and it was hard. My method involved using a plastic spoon to dab, than knocked down with a trowel. It looked okay, but not perfect.

The Eggers said...

You are amazing. I think it looks great! I bet Aaron was very happy!

Corrine said...

wow very talented, sometimes i think i am just too afraid to try things like that.

Candice said...

Wow! I"m impressed! It does look way better. I did notice when I was at your house and meant to mention it, but was distracted as I was walking out of the bathroom, I"m sure by one of the many monkey kids hanging off the ceiling.

Sheri said...

Been there, done that! We usually hot patch it, but your way works great too!

Shanty 2 Chic said...

Thanks for the tips...and for linking up!

Shanty 2 Chic said...

Great job!! Thanks so much for the tutorial and for linking up with us! ~ Ashley