• Repair a Large Hole or Sheet of Drywall


    Removing a large section or entire sheet of drywall and replacing it is a common task that can be handled by a homeowner with basic experience using hand tools. Of course, when a professional-quality repair is essential, a contractor should be hired. The difference between a job that looks just OK and one that is invisible once the wall is painted is the years of experience a drywall finisher has. A skilled handyman can be a good choice for the project too. In most cases, an experienced workman will need just an hour or two to remove the damaged drywall, replace it and apply the first layer of joint compound. The compound must be sanded and a second and third layer of “mud” must be applied on successive days. On the fourth day, the final layer of drywall compound can be sanded to complete the project before the priming and painting begins. It should be noted here that the sanding process is a very messy business as the dust can travel far and wide if not contained

    Drywall Repair Tips and Resources

    In this house repair guide, we’ll cover all you need to know about how to repair a large hole or sheet of drywall, also often called sheetrock. This includes what you can expect in terms of price if you receive a drywall repair estimate from a handyman or contractor. You’ll also learn the tools and tips you’ll need for do it yourself drywall repair. For a DIY job, check out the links below that will give you additional information for preparing for drywall replacement and getting the job done.

    These insights will allow you to decide if the drywall repair is a DIY job you’re prepared to do. or if you would be better served calling a handyman or drywall contractor.

    • Removing damaged drywall requires locating the studs the drywall is attached to using an electronic stud finder. There is also the old fashioned method of tapping the wall to try and find studs but that method presents more problems than it is worth
    • The drywall can be removed by making small holes in it and using the claws of a hammer to pull it off of the studs.
    • Wiring or plumbing behind the drywall can be damaged, so remove pieces or sheets of drywall with caution.
    • Hanging drywall (fastening it to the studs) is relatively easy. Finishing it (taping it, applying joint compound and sanding) so that seams are invisible takes experience.
    • Once the studs are located, the drywall must be cut to leave ¾-inch to one inch of stud exposed onto which the new drywall can be attached.
    • When cutting the replacement piece of drywall, it can be 1/16th to 1/8th inch short for an easier fit. The gap will be filled by joint compound.
    • ALL drywall seams MUST be on studs for support. That’s one reason it’s often easier to replace an entire sheet of drywall. Sheets of drywall cost less than $18, so using an entire sheet is cost effective.
    • If the repair is in a highly visible spot, choosing the DIY route for a first-time repair might not be the best idea. “The biggest problem with DIY is making the fix invisible” even with hours of sanding

    Drywall Repair Costs

    As with most home repair estimates, your cost will include materials and tools. If you hire a pro, then his time will be factored in too.

    Additionally, the more complex the job is, the more it will cost. For example, if the drywall must be cut to accommodate several outlets, a fireplace mantel, cabinets, or similar obstacles, the cost will be higher.

    Drywall repair on popcorn ceilings or high on tall walls, when scaffolding or ladders must be used, cost more than repairs to walls.

    DIY Drywall Repair: Expect to pay $35 to $75 for the materials for replacing a single sheet of drywall. The materials list includes:

    • One 4’x8’ sheet of drywall
    • Seam tape
    • Joint compound (“mud”)
    • Drywall screws
    • A sanding block
    • Drywall sandpaper

    A joint compound trowel will cost $18 to $35 depending on its quality. Other tools needed are a drill/driver for installing the screws along with a hammer and utility knife for removing old drywall.

    Professional Drywall Repair: When an entire home is being drywalled, the job is estimated by the square foot. However, repairs are much more expensive because they are more time-consuming per square foot. If a drywall contractor is going to come to your home to replace just a single sheet, he or she will likely want a minimum$250 to $350. Keep in mind that the job will take four separate days, each time travelling to the job, though less than a half hour on the days that sanding is done. A handyman will likely do the job for the cost of time and materials, and you should save 15% to 30% on the job. The quality of the finished look might suffer if the job is done by a handyman rather than someone who finishes drywall every day, so ask about his experience with finishing drywall before making the hire.

    How to Save Money on Drywall Repair

    If doing the job yourself, the best way to cut costs is to borrow tools you don’t own – a trowel, drill/driver, ladder and hand tools – from friends. They can also be rented for less than the cost of purchasing them, in most cases.

    If you hire a professional for the work, you can save money by tearing out the old drywall and cleaning up the dust and other mess yourself. If you can hang drywall, but want a pro to finish it, that will save you money too.

    Helpful Resources for DIY Drywall Repair

    If you’d like more in-depth discussion of how to repair drywall, these links will help.

    House of Hepworths – There’s good basic information in this blog, complete with pictures. Notice the photo of the completed job. You can clearly see one of the seams, and this makes the point of how difficult it can be to make them invisible.

    One Project Closer – This site offers good step by step instructions for making drywall repairs, complete with pictures.

    Ask Jon Eakes – Here is a video library that will help you succeed on every step of a drywall installation project.

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