Installing Drywall

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Drywall, also called sheetrock, is relatively easy to install and also relatively easy to repair when it is damaged. Unfortunately, it is also easy to botch a repair and end up with an ugly patch job. What makes the difference? Taking the time to follow the steps needed to insure a good outcome. Here are some of the steps to success.

Drywall, also called sheetrock, is relatively easy to install and also relatively easy to repair when it is damaged.

Materials needed include drywall or plasterboard material, drywall screws, tape and compound, plastic, masking tape and a drop cloth. Tools include several sizes of drywall knives from 3 to 12 inches in width, a razor knife and maybe a straight edge if the piece is large enough.

When drywall is damaged, the damaged areas need to be removed. Drywall is just gypsum plaster pressed between two thick sheets of paper. When the gypsum board is cracked and the paper torn, there is not enough strength to support a patch. If the patch is large, it also needs to be supported by a wall stud or a wood backer to ensure adequate strength. A small patch, however, will bond without needing any backer.

When the old drywall is cut and removed, new drywall is measured and fitted in place. Then the area surrounding the crack or seam between the new and old board is taped. This tape can either be solid paper or a plastic mesh. The mesh is usually self-adhesive which makes taping much easier for a novice.

With the tape in place, a thin coat of drywall mud is spread over it. The thinner the mud is applied, the easier it will be to make the patch invisible. When the first coat dries, additional coats follow with each successive coat slightly larger than the last. Usually 3 or 4 coats and some sanding if needed will allow the patch to blend in.

Depending on the wall finish, the patched area is now ready to be matched. It may be a smooth surface, an orange peel or heavier knockdown finish which now needs to be applied. For small areas, orange peel or knockdown is available in a can just like spray paint.

When the finish coating is dry, the area can be primed and painted. In most cases, the entire wall from corner to corner should be repainted to prevent any color or sheen difference.

Taking the time and care to follow these steps will ensure your damaged drywall blends into the existing wall without ever showing a difference.

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