Tips for Easy Drywall Repairs
Tips for Easy Drywall Repairs
It’s only a matter of time before you’re faced with a drywall repair, courtesy of everything from a doorknob-meets-wall collision to a playful kids’ kickboxing match gone awry. Fortunately, it’s easy to patch drywall yourself—especially if you use the same tool the pros prefer: Premium OLFA® snap-off-blade utility knives.
Using a high-quality utility knife gives you the confidence to tackle jobs both large and small, and the clean cuts to make your repair job invisible. And when it comes to working with drywall, the OLFA 18 mm snap-off blade utility knife, with its heavy-duty blade, is the recommended tool. Like all OLFA knives, it features an ergonomically designed handle and a time-saving snap-off blade. Perfect for working with drywall, which can quickly dull knives. Just snap off a dull section of the carbon-steel blade and you immediately have a new sharp edge for superior cutting performance. All OLFA snap-off blade utility knives feature a no tool blade change. Now that’s efficiency!
WHAT YOU NEED
- Drywall scrap
- OLFA® 18mm Heavy-Duty Utility Knife
- OLFA® 18mm Heavy-Duty Solid Blade
- Scrap plywood or wood strips
- Construction adhesive
- Power drill
- 6-8 drywall screws
- Joint compound
- Self-adhesive drywall joint tape or window screen
- 12″ and 6″ taping knifes
- Fine sandpaper
10 EASY STEPS TO REPAIR DRYWALL
- Find a drywall scrap that matches the thickness of the broken drywall (for walls, it’s usually 1/2″ and for ceilings, it’s usually 5/8″). Using your OLFA 18mm Heavy-Duty Utility Knife, cut out a square-cornered piece that’s large enough to cover the hole.
- Center the patch over the hole and use a pencil to draw a line around the patch’s perimeter.
- Change the snap-off blade in your OLFA utility knife to an 18mm OLFA Heavy-Duty Solid Blade. Make four cuts all the way through the drywall in the damaged area, one from the edge of the hole to each corner of your pencil line. (The resulting cuts will look like an X without a middle.) The solid blade is safer for this deep, heavy cutting.
- Use your OLFA utility knife (switching back to the snap-off blade) to score the patch-perimeter outline you just drew on the damaged wall. Next, push back each of the four triangular-like sections you created, then cut each one off. What’s left is a hole the same size as the patch.
- To provide backing support for the patch, cut a plywood strip about 4”-6″ longer than the hole. Apply construction adhesive on the ends of one side of the scrap wood and carefully maneuver it inside the hole (with the adhesive side facing you); leave about 3″ of wood extending beyond the hole on each side.
- Using one hand, pull the wood toward you and press it firmly against the inside of the damaged wall. With your free hand, use a power drill to drive four drywall screws: one through the wall and into one end of the scrap wood, and one more through the wall and into the other end of the scrap wood. (Don’t drive them too deep!)
- Now attach your drywall patch to the support wood, using a few more drywall screws.
- Use drywall joint tape to cover the seams of your patch. Cut to size with your utility knife.
- Apply a thin layer of joint compound that covers the joint tape, patch and screw heads with your taping knife. If using window screen, apply joint compound first, then cut a piece of window screen a few inches longer and wider than the patch. Use a trowel to gently press it into the compound. Apply more compound over the mesh and remove any excess. (To keep the screen from wrinkling, work from the center to the edges.)
- Allow the compound to dry for a day. Then apply another thin layer, this time with a wider taping knife. Extend the compound about 6″ beyond the edges of the first coat. When this layer is dry, sand it smooth with fine sandpaper. (But be careful: If you can see the window screen, you’ve sanded too much.) Wipe with a damp cloth and prime and paint the patch. It’s just that simple.
TIPS FROM THE PROS
- Be sure there isn’t electric wiring behind the area you’re patching.
- When joint compound is uniformly white, it’s fully dry and safe to sand and paint.
- For smaller repairs where there’s not enough room to insert a piece of wood as backing, use the top of a tin can instead; use a keyhole saw to fashion a narrow slit on each side of the hole, equal to the lid’s diameter. Slide the lid through the slit, turn vertical and secure.
- If you open a large can of joint compound and find water on top, use a mixing paddle chucked into a drill and mix it thoroughly at low speed.