Professional Drywall Tips For The DIY’er

If it’s one thing that a lot of DIY’ers get into trouble with it comes to drywall home repairs. It looks easy enough on YouTube or in a book, but once you start slinging the mud, weird things can happen. No one told the drywall, tape and mud that it was suppose to be easy and trouble free. Then when you start talking about matching texture, the home DIY’er quickly realizes they may have bit off more than they bargained for. Hopefully, these drywall tips will help you become better at repairing drywall.

A good repair job will start by how you cut the piece that is to be repaired. I know some people who’ve tried to repair drywall between the studs. This is just ridiculous! I prefer that I have some type of backer between each side of the drywall patch. Preferably studs. If I can’t use a stud, there are commercial products designed to stiffen the new piece of drywall while you patch it. I myself will just use a 1×4 slid up behind the drywall patch and screw the edges in place. Make sure all edges are flush or you’ll have a noticeable repair on your hands.

The first thing you’ll need to make sure of is that you get the right kind of drywall mud. Most homeowners will find that the premixed all purpose drywall compound will be fine for repair work.

Mesh or Drywall tape? Again, I prefer the mesh for home repair work. Some will go with the adhesive backed mesh, but I haven’t had much luck with it when trying to repair a large section. I normally just get the non adhesive mesh and make it stick with just small amounts of compound.

I also like to use two strips of mesh overlapping. I think this gives the edges of the repair more strength.

Another mistake a lot of people make is putting too much mud on the seam or repair. More mud does not make for a better repair, actually it weakens the repair!  Use as thin of a mud joint as you can. I prefer to let the joint set overnight and thoroughly dry. If you live in the SouthWest where the humidity is virtually nil, then you might be able to apply a second coat within a few hours.

For the best results, let the first coat dry thoroughly and sand it. Apply another thin coat and let it also dry thoroughly and sand it. The edges of your repair should be flush and blend in with the rest of the wall. If not, it’s your repair, if you can live with it, fine. If not, you can either start over or sand down the high spots and fill the low spots until they’re not noticeable, but I haven’t had much luck with this.

Once you have the edges flush, then comes the next part. Some people will just throw texture up on a piece of sheetrockk and then paint it. I’m a little different. I guess it’s because I’m a perfectionist. This is how I do it.

I will prime the new sheetrock with a good primer. Original Kilz is my favorite if you can stand the smell. I then let the primer dry completely. Then I’ll texture the patched area. Just make sure you match the texture first. Don’t use Orange peel if you have a knock down texture. I know this may sound elementary, but you’d be surprised at how often this happens.

Also, I shy away from that texture in a can stuff. I’ve tried every brand I could find and just haven’t found any I thought was acceptable. Save yourself the trouble and pass on it. For repair jobs, I use a Wagoner Power Tex texture gun. This little gem works wonders on repair jobs. You can choose the type of texture you want to apply by changing the nozzles. It’s also very easy to clean up afterwards.

The Wagoner Power Tex is not an air operated texture gun. It operates on electric and has a small motor at the rear that blows the air through the gun. It’s very effective for small areas.

As for texture, I’ve used the powdered texture you mix up. But I really prefer premixed joint compound for repairs. I add just a little bit of water to thin the compound up. If it’s too thick, it won’t work in the Wagoner.

You’ll do yourself a favor it you practice with the Wagoner Power Tex on a scrap piece of cardboard before you try it on your wall. Practice until your results look like the texture on your wall and then spray the repaired area.  After I’ve sprayed the repaired area, I let the texture set 10 to 15 minutes so it can start setting up (for knockdown texture). I’ll then knock it down and call it a day.

Just like my joints, I let the texture set over night and dry completely before doing anything else. Once they are completely dry, I might ever so lightly hit the area with a fine sander if I think it needs it. I clean the area up, prime it once again before painting. After that coat of primer has dried, I’ll then paint the area. If it’s a large area, you may have to repaint the whole wall to get it to match. Hey, it was about time you repainted that room anyway. Right?

I hope this will help you on your next drywall repair job!