There are many reasons why a homeowner might need Mississauga Handyman to repair the walls in their home. After all, just about every surface is covered with it, including the ceiling!
If you need to repair some cracked or broken drywall in your home, there are a few important techniques to remember. However, before we get to that, let’s start at the beginning.
Drywall is known by many different names in the industry, including wallboard, gypsum board, plasterboard, sheetrock, gyprock or gypsum panel. Drywall is essentially a panel made of calcium sulphate dihydrate (also known as gypsum), and this is typically placed between thick sheets of paper on both the front and back. Drywall is screwed directly into the studs or ceiling joints when building a room.
Specially treated drywall, designed to be water resistant, is usually reserved for bathroom walls and ceilings and is known in the industry as “green board,” although it works and handles exactly the same way as regular drywall does. The only difference is its suitability for places with higher moisture content in the air, including in areas like the kitchen (e.g. the backsplash area) as well as washrooms and laundry rooms.
Drywall comes in three basic thicknesses, and three basic dimensions. The most common dimension is half-inch drywall, measured in 4 by 8 foot sheets. However, Home Depot and other similar stores will sell smaller pieces of varying thicknesses, depending on the work you need to do.
Both longitudinal edges of a sheet of drywall are thinner, designed to allow for taping and mudding (applying plaster) during installation.
Sometimes you may notice that a drywall edge, one you have cut yourself, will have frayed paper along the newly created edge. Loose paper needs to be cleaned up or removed prior to any joinery.
Joining two sheets of drywall can be achieved by using a couple of different methods, and by using different types of plaster tape. One type is a paper tape. During application, the best method is to line up two pieces side by side, screw them into the studs, and then apply a drywall plaster layer approximately three inches wide and ⅛ of an inch thick along the seam between the two pieces of drywall.
By placing the center of the tape along the seam, you can gently push out any extra plaster by pulling your plaster knife down or along the paper tape, squeezing out the plaster as you move along the tape. We recommend you alway pull the blade, not push it. By pressing the paper carefully into moist drywall compound, you’ll create a nice seam. One thing to watch out for is leaving bubbles behind. Air pockets are quite noticeable, and will result in problems later on.
If you tape and plaster two partial pieces of drywall improperly, you’ll notice a slight hump in the finished product, as the tape and plaster required to join the two pieces tend to create unnecessary thickness. The solution is to leave a seam during installation that is wide enough to avoid the kind of hump described above, giving you enough room to spread plaster and apply tape.
Drywall damage can be due to a number of factors including water accumulation, blunt force (such as from a doorknob hitting the wall), or from accidents involving heavy furniture. Natural phenomena, particularly earthquakes, are also likely to cause damage to any wall material.
There are various ways this kind of repair work can be done. However, it should be noted that there is one thing you should never do: fill a hole in the wall with only plaster. The repair will be easier and quicker to do, but it won’t last long. You need to reinforce any holes with different methods.
On smaller cracks and holes you can use the “butterfly method” for patching. Simply put, if you have a hole two inches squared, you’ll need to begin the repair with a small piece of drywall that is slightly larger than the hole, such as a 5”x5” piece.
Trace size of the hole onto the center of the larger piece of drywall. Use a knife or razor to remove the excess drywall from your replacement piece, but do not remove the paper backing from the replacement piece.
After stripping the gyprock to the paper (not cutting through the remaining paper) fit the drywall into the hole, with the paper on the replacement piece overlapping the existing hole. The paper around the edge of the hole will provide you with support you need once you’re ready to plaster over hole and make a smooth transition to the rest of the wall.
When a hole in your wall is large enough (usually around 10 inches squared or larger), the butterfly technique will not work as effectively, since the replacement drywall will be too large to be unsupported simply by excess paper.
In these cases, you’ll need to insert a piece of material into the hole, and the material (wood will work) should be wider than the width of the existing hole. Holding the material steady, attach it into the back side of the wall, with a couple of screws, and make sure the material is behind the hole so it can support the patch you will be installing shortly.
Once you have completed the above-mentioned step, cut your replacement drywall to match the size of the hole (but make it slightly smaller so it can fit into the hole. Then screw the replacement drywall piece to the support material you just installed.
After that, simply use fibre or paper drywall tape around the edges and plaster as normal . This is where cutting an appropriately-sized drywall replacement piece will pay dividends. If there is too much of a gap between the old piece of drywall and the new piece, you’ll have to use lots of plaster and tape. The less you use, the better, as it will result in smoother joinery.
When plastering, you should always be aware of what comes next: sanding.
Once plaster dries, sanding is required to smooth out the edges of the plaster so that any paint applied on top of it will not show any creases or edges in the underlying drywall. The more plaster there is left over, the more sanding there will be.
Try to limit the amount of plaster used in any repairs as much as possible. The main goal is to cover drywall tape or fibre tape evenly and thinly. Don’t try to save time by applying second or third layers of paster before the first ones have completely dried - it’s a recipe for disaster. Your first coat of plaster should just cover the tape, and feather of slightly on both sides by about an inch.
There are different ways to finish off a drywall edge or corner when you’re joining drywall at 90 degrees. One is a specific product called a drywall corner. This corner can either be made from metal, which is the most common, or it can be made from plastic. There are also paper tape, metal-reinforced corner beads available as well.
The advantage of paper tape corner beads is that they do not require any drywall screws, and are simply attached by applying plaster to the corner, and then placing the bead over top. Apply some plaster to your taping knife, and run a first coat layer down the seam of the edge.
One material that is often used in fixing drywall is tape. There are different types of tape that professionals use though. These are:
These are long strips of paper, usually in rolls of 75 feet and with a slight lengthwise factory-made crease. This crease helps fold the tape down in the middle for inside corner fixes.
Paper drywall tape is one of the most commonly-used tapes, as it resembles drywall and is widely available. And, there is no need for cutting tools when using paper tape, since the tape can easily be ripped. This particular tape, however, is not resistant to air bubbles. It also requires a mud (plaster) layer for adhering.
Fibreglass threads woven together make this tape nearly impossible to tear. It is much thicker than paper-joint tape. Fibreglass mesh is actually a favourite among drywall repair companies, as it is self-adhering and air-bubble resistant. The downside though, is that it can leave bulges.
This is a thinner version of the fibreglass mesh tape. However, it doesn’t have the thread qualities of traditional mesh tape. This type of mesh tape is similar to fabric and has more intersections between the threads, making it stronger.
Professionals use this tape on the butt joints of drywalls. It also works well for single-spot fixes. It is durable, strong, and self-adhering, though a little bit more costly than the other drywall tapes.
The metal drywall tape is most often used in an inside corner bead. It comes with a crease that helps fold it over. And, compared to ordinary paper drywall tape, it is easier to crease.
This is a strong interior corner tape, but some drywall repair companies don’t use it because it’s difficult to hide behind drywall compound (plaster). It also requires tin snips and is rather costly compared to most other types available.
Most of the time, companies choose to rely on paper drywall tape. This isn’t surprising at all, given that the tape works well enough in many applications. It also dries harder and is quite resistant with cracks (when used with setting compound). Despite that, a different kind of tape may be required for any given job, depending on the damage that needs fixing and on the nature of the part that’s been damaged.
However, it’s important to remember: while it’s possible to fix drywall on your own, the best results can only be achieved with help from the pros.
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