Walls that need to be painted often need to be repaired and smoothed out before even one stroke of the paintbrush is applied. Although this may sound as if it would be a complex job, especially for the person who is decorator-challenged, it actually is quite simple once you follow a few basic rules. Depending on the size of the holes or cracks in the drywall, different methods of repairing them are available and once you familiarize yourself with a few basics, you should be able to repair any size hole in any type of drywall easily and quickly.
Small to Medium Holes
If a crack or hole is three or four inches in diameter, the following method will work:
- Clean up all the edges by using a utility knife and pressing any small pieces of drywall into place.
- Cover the hole with a ready-made drywall patch found at almost every hardware or home-improvement store; they are usually peel-and-stick so this step is very simple.
- Make sure that the entire area is clean and dry; you can use a product such as TSP to clean oily areas.
- Once you apply the patch, use a utility knife again to make sure that the entire area is smooth and even.
- With a wide-blade putty knife, apply “mud” to the entire area, covering the patch thoroughly; in other words, if your hole is three inches, a ten-inch putty knife should be used.
- Be liberal with the joint compound (mud) and make sure that the entire area is covered.
- Let the coat or coats dry completely and then you can sand the area lightly with sandpaper.
If you have small cracks or imperfections, you can simply add additional coats of joint compound until they look smooth and even before you start the sanding process.
For Larger Holes
Larger holes need an additional few steps, including drawing a square around the damaged area with a carpenter’s square and cutting out the entire area, cutting a patch of brand-new drywall that is approximately three inches larger on all sides, outlining the actual size of the damaged area onto the back of the drywall piece, removing the plaster material from the back strips of the piece that you plan to place in the hole, placing the drywall piece into the hole where the damaged area once was, and covering it with joint compound or mud. Realize that the area you are covering will be three inches larger than the actual hole; however, this allows for a final look that is a lot smoother and more even. From here on, the remaining steps are the same as those for smaller holes and cracks.
Making sure that your drywall is as smooth as possible before painting is crucial. Whether you need a drywall patch or a brand-new piece of drywall for the damaged area, it is imperative that you perform this step before even one speck of paint is applied. Remember that you can adjust the coats of mud and apply as many of them as needed to get the area smooth because if you do, your final painting job will look extraordinary.