Sheetrock repair...

After a very unfortunate incident, I have several holes in the sheetrock in my closet that need repair. 

So it is a perfect opportunity to share with you the easiest way to repair sheetrock. 

Doorknobs and teenage boys wrecked havoc on my sheetrock.  And of course I always have damaged sheetrock at my apartments.  So I was fortunate when a painter friend showed me an easy way to repair sheetrock without having to mess with sheetrock tape and having to cut back to a stud to support a patch! 

The tools you will need should all be in your Tool Box.   You may need to buy a piece of sheetrock, sheetrock mud (joint compound) and spray texture.  Lowe's has it all! Sometimes they have small pieces of sheetrock so you don't have to buy a huge 4'x8' sheet! (Here's a little hint...if you just need a small piece, check out a new construction job site where they have just installed sheetrock...they usually have TONS of scraps laying around!)  Sheetrock comes in several thicknesses, so measure the thickness of your sheetrock...usually if it is an outside wall, it will be 1/2"...inside walls are usually 3/8".

If you don't have drywall broad knives, you can buy inexpensive plastic ones that will work just fine for a small repair.   I would suggest getting one as wide as possible.

First thing you want to do is cut the damaged area in a square or rectangle and trim off the excess around the edges....doesn't have to be perfect but you want it fairly "square."  You can use a utility knife or a sheetrock knife.

I would also recommend sanding down the wall texture about 2-3" around the hole....especially if you have a heavy texture on your walls.  This helps the new patch lay a little smoother.  You can use regular 60-80 grit sandpaper....

After you have cut a decent "square" around the damage,  measure the width and the height.  Then mark the sheetrock, adding about 3" to that measurement! 

For example, my hole was 8"x11".  So I marked and cut a piece of sheetrock 11x14"...3" bigger than my hole.  This will give me 1 1/2" on each side of my patch to act as my "tape."

Sheetrock has a paper backing on each side so it is very easy to cut...basically all you have to do is "score" the back side (usually the side that is brown) with your utility knife then just "snap" it. Then take your knife and cut through the paper on the other side. 

(Did I mention I am NOT left handed...but my camera is "right handed" so in order to take a picture I have to hold the camera in my right hand and pretend with my left!) 

After cutting a piece 3" larger than your opening, you will want to mark the actually opening size on  the back side of the sheetrock, leaving 1 1/2" on all four sides.  This is where a little "square" tool will come in handy! I always make my mark and cut about 1/4" smaller than my actual measurements just to give myself some wiggle room!  

(This is where you will notice I am using "green board" sheetrock.  It is usually used in wet areas but you can use it on biggy.  Regular sheetrock is white on the front and brown on the back) 

After you have made your mark, you will want to score the marks.  You will make your "score line" from edge to edge of the board.   

After scoring, "snap" one side at a time and carefully peel the "core" (the chalky inside) of the sheetrock and backing off the paper on the front side.  You will do this on all four sides.  After you are all done, it should look like this..... 

I also take my utility knife and make a "miter" cut at each corner...just a little slit from the corner of the board to the corner of the paper.  

Basically, what you have done here is create a built in sheetrock there is no need to tape the gap around the patch and no need to try to put backing behind the board where you are is "ALL IN ONE!"  Nifty, huh? 

Before putting joint compound in and around the hole, "dry fit" your cut piece and make sure it will fit in the hole.    If it seems to stick, you can shave a little off the edges with a utility knife. If you cut the piece about 1/4" smaller than the hole, it should fit right in.

After you make sure your cut piece will fit properly, mud the edges of the hole and the wall about 2" around the hole.  (I didn't realize it, but the joint compound I bought was pink while wet and dries white... it sure makes taking pictures easier!)  

Set your cut piece into the hole and use your broad knife to smooth out the paper and push the excess mud out from underneath the paper edging with your broad knife so the paper lies flat. Then put more mud on your broad knife and lightly coat the entire piece.  Try to lightly skim it and "feather" the edges where the new mud meets the wall. Coat the new mud a few inches onto the wall.  The less mud you leave on the patch and the wall, the less you have to sand!   It is okay if you can still see the paper and board through the first biggy!

HINT:  Some mud can be pretty thick.  You can mix it with a little water and thin it down a bit...makes it easier to work with...but don't make it too runny! 

I usually let this first application dry overnight.  That is the beauty of this colored dries white so you know when it is dry.  Remember, there is a bunch of mud along the edges that is basically "glueing" the patch in place.  You want to let that dry well before you start sanding. 

After this first coat of mud dries, sand it as smooth as possible.  Don't panic if you sand into the paper coating the happens!   

I have a special sander specifically for sheetrock.  Unfortunately I forgot to get it from my apartment storage.  But good ole' sandpaper will work...80-120 grit.  I always wrap my paper around a sponge sanding helps you sand flat.   Sand it as smooth as possible and make sure you "feather" the edges so that you don't have any heavy mud lines showing.  Don't panic if you feel like you have sanded "too much" really can't.

FEEL the area with your bare hands...if you can feel the lumps and bumps and lines, you are going to be able to see sand away!! (I can not stress this enough...SAND IT SMOOTH...CLOSE YOUR EYES AND FEEL!!!!)

After sanding it REAL smooth, put another coat of mud over the area.  Again, the smoother you coat it, the less sanding you have to do!   Be sure to feather the edges by mudding 2-3" around the repair area.  This is where the broader broad knife really comes in hand!

After this second coat dries, sand again....sand it as smooth as you can.  Again...if you can FEEL lumps, bumps and lines, you are going to be able to see sand it smooth and make sure you feather the edges.  This really is the "trick" to getting a good repair!

I can usually get by with two coats of mud...and that should be plenty.  If you feel you have had to sand down too much and need to add a light third coat, go for it.   Just make sure you let it dry well and sand BEFORE moving on to the next step.

After the patch and the surrounding area is really smooth, it is time to put on the spray texture.  

I usually wait to tape off the surrounding area until AFTER I sand the patch.  Joint compound will clean off easily with a wet towel but the spray texture is pretty tough stuff. So lay down a drop cloth (or newspaper) under the patch and tape off any trim BEFORE applying the spray texture.  

Most wall textures these days are what we call "orange peel."  But you might also have "knock down."  If the texture on your walls is just kind of bumpy, you probably have "orange peel."  If you have heavy blotches, you have knock down.  

You can buy cans of texture at Lowe's and they come in both orange peel and knock down. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE CAN CAREFULLY!  If you have orange peel you will just spray it on the patch and surrounding area (using a circular motion to eliminate "lines" and spray "outside" the patch area)  If you have "knock down" texture, you will have to spray it on the patch and surrounding area, let it sit per the cans instructions and then take your broad knife and "knock down" the new texture after it has dried a bit.   Follow the directions on the can for proper application and dry times for both!   

Lighter is better....this stuff dries rather quickly, so if you think the texture is too light, go back over it AFTER the first coat has dried.  It is always easier to add a little texture than to deal with texture that is too go light and reapply if necessary.

If the spray texture appears a little "bumpier" than the wall texture, you can always take a piece of sand paper and LIGHTLY run it over the new texture AFTER IT HAS DRIED and before you paint. ONCE YOU PAINT IT WILL BE REAL TOUGH TO MAKE ANY ADJUSTMENTS TO THE TEXTURE SO DO IT BEFORE YOU PAINT!!! 

Now this is where that can of leftover paint you stored away will come in handy! Unfortunately, I didn't have any leftover paint for this wall because I did a little "custom" mix job and I used all of it.  So I cut a little piece of the wall color from the wall where the trim was going to cover it and took it to Lowe's to match.  Sometimes they can mix a color that will match your wall, but odds are you aren't going to get a perfect match unless you have the spare paint!  (Seriously, I can not stress enough how important it is to keep "spare" it somewhere in the house, clearly marked!) In my case I had to match the paint color the best I could and then paint the entire wall. I only needed a little bit so I bought one of the little sample pots and had them color it!  

You will probably need 2-3 coats of paint to cover the patch since you are painting over "raw" sheetrock and texture.  I used a little 4" sponge roller and brush.

If you sand well and applied the texture properly, you shouldn't even be able to tell where the patch is!   

This does take a little practice.  And after owning apartments and raising teens, I've had a LOT of practice.  But if you take your time, use the proper tools and really pay attention to details you should be able to do this little DIY project yourself!