This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in March 2015.
Being snowbound definitely has its perks – the winter-that-never-ends has been a great opportunity to check things off my home improvement checklist. From improving the insulation in the basement (because it’s easier to feel the drafty spots when it’s 10-degrees) and reconfiguring my home’s heating zones, to reassessing my closet organization, I’ve been able to tackle many projects that I know would get no attention during the summer months.
A few lingering drywall repair projects are checked off my list too. Most of our water-damaged drywall was cured back when my husband and I moved in and painted all of our living spaces. Very few rooms went untouched at that time, but our small entryway was one of them, and the patch of damage to the wall in there was worse than anywhere else in the house.
The entryway is a cute space; it’s only about 30 square feet, but I love its flagstone floors, and with two windows flanking the front door, it’s filled with natural daylight. There used to be a door to separate it from our main living space, which in hindsight seems absurd, because when I had removed it originally to paint the door trim, it left us with the realization that having it door-free would let all of that daylight extend into our living area. Those moments of simple brilliance? They’re real.
I didn’t rush to paint it right inside that little entryway immediately, instead spending time contemplating wallpapers and wall colors and thinking that I could hold off awhile. I knew too that I needed to spend some time on drywall repairs before painting again – and here we are… perfect winter project!
We can only assume that water damage over the years is to blame, because I’m not sure what else might have left layers of paint in a bubbling and cracking condition. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened since (probably not since the roof was redone) not even this winter when ice dams runneth all over. It was within the realm of self-repair, so I got busy. If you’re looking to repair your own drywall at home, follow these easy tips and just remember, sandpaper can cure any errors.
Start by removing the loose and flaking paint. A paint scraper is ideal for this occasion. You want to focus on making the surface smooth so that no flakes are protruding, and so divots into the drywall completely exposed.
Use a piece of sandpaper to even out any remaining irregularities in the damaged drywall. And because you’re going to have to re-paint the patched area (or maybe the entire room), use the sandpaper all over the walls as part of the preparation for painting.
Buy yourself a container of joint compound, and one or two joint knives – I like using one with a smaller 3-5″ edge if you’re working on a small patch job, and a larger 10-12″ edge for large and small jobs because it’s a little easier to create a tapered edge with a wide knife. Spring for the pre-mixed compound to save you a mess; you can get a small container for <$5, and you will be happy not to try and mix the perfect consistency at home.
On your surface, use the smaller knife to apply the compound to the gouges. Focus on covering the damaged areas, and then (if you aren’t already wielding it) bring in the big knife to take longer swipes to even out the surface of the compound. Feather the edges out. You’ll find that extending the compound into a gradually thinner and thinner layer extending far away from your “problem area” will allow your new patchwork to be very subtle.
Focus on eliminating as many knife marks as possible (but as they say, avoid “overworking” the compound).
Once it is dry, you will have an opportunity to go over the new surface with sandpaper to eliminate any raised areas and make the overall transition from old drywall to new compound patch virtually undetectable. The goal? Smooth finish, no ridges.
Once it’s finished, you’ll want to apply a new coat of primer over it before re-painting. Easy as that!