You probably don’t give your drywall much thought. Unless you accidentally put a hole through it or a smear of mold appears in an inconspicuous corner there usually isn’t much to think about. Caring for drywall doesn’t require much effort, but knowing how to maintain and repair it can save you money and keep your home in tip-top condition. Follow these drywall basics for homeowners and DIY renovators.
Recognizing Drywall Problems
The hole you punched in the drywall with a poorly aimed hammer doesn’t require much in the way of explanation, but other forms of drywall damage might not prove as obvious. Whether it’s a picture-hanging episode gone wrong or moisture damage from a leaking pipe, it’s important to recognize and repair damaged drywall.
Look for changes in the drywall’s color. If part of the wall looks darker than the rest, for instance, you might have moisture damage. If the wall changes color, a mold infestation could be the culprit.
Filling Small Holes
If you tend to hang pictures and then move them to other parts of your home when you get bored with the decor, keep a jar of joint compound handy. Use it to fill small holes, such as those left by picture hooks or nail indentions, so they don’t distract from the beauty of your home.
Smear the joint compound into and around the hole, then allow the compound to dry. Use a paint scraper or putty knife to smooth out the surface of your wall and follow with a few swipes of a sheet of sandpaper.
Replacing Larger Sections
A big drywall hole needs a more elegant solution (but don’t ditch the joint compound just yet). Apply a drywall patch to these larger sections. You’ll need a sheet of drywall, a piece of scrap wood, and a few tools to complete the project.
Use a utility knife to cut a larger square around the hole in your drywall so you have clean edges to work with. Cut a square of fresh drywall to those same dimensions. Slip the scrap wood inside the hole and screw it to the back of the healthy drywall with a screwdriver.
With the wood secure, screw the new drywall to the wood so it sits flush with the rest of the wall. The rest of the job mirrors the process for filling a small hole. Spread joint compound over the patch, then apply drywall tape to the seams.
Priming & Painting
After you fill or patch drywall, you don’t want to leave your work exposed. Prime and paint the area just as you would when painting a whole room. If you don’t have any paint left over from the last time you made over the room, take the piece of drywall you cut out of the wall to your local hardware store and ask them to match it. This saves the time and energy required to repaint the room.
You don’t need a general contractor’s license to replace drywall in your home. Give it a shot on your own, and if you’re not happy with the results, call a pro.