Home Repair Tips – Wall Repairs

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

Older walls and sometimes even new ones will need some repair before finishing. The most common wall repairs include:

• Dents

• Small holes

• Large holes

• Nail pops

• Split tape

You can repair dents by sanding around them, trowling joint compound (spackle) into the dent, and finally smoothing out the area. This is essentially plastering. Once it is dry, you can sand, seal, paint, or wallpaper the patch to match the rest of the wall.

Small holes are repaired like dents. A wad of newspaper behind the hole will prevent the joint compound from falling between the walls.

For large holes, you will have to patch a piece of drywall into place. Remove all loose material from around the hole with a utility knife. Then cut a piece of drywall to fill the hole. If the patch doesn’t rest on solid wood, set a screw in the patch to use as a handle. After the joint compound hardens, remove the screw and plaster the whole patch with joint cement. Then sand the patch to match the rest of the wall.

When the house framing expands or shrinks, nails pop and become visible under the paint or wallpaper. If the nails are tight, just drive them back below the surface with a claw hammer. Plaster the dent with joint compound. If the nails are loose, pull them if it won’t damage the wall, or drive them so deep they won’t come out again. Then drive new nails nearby. Cover the nails with joint cement. Use only drywall nails. Regular nails will rust when covered with joint cement.

Split tape is caused by the house settling. The tape will bulge like a bubble or blister or actually crack. Cut and pull off the loose tape. Remove all the loose tape or it will split again. Then sand the area and spread a thin coat of joint compound over it. With a wide putty knife work the tape into this compound. Plaster over the tape with compound. When it is dry, sand it.

Bathroom and kitchen walls are sometimes covered with ceramic tile. When a tile is cracked, it should be replaced. Start by removing the tile and old grout. You may have to break the tile with a hammer and chisel.

Repair large holes by cutting a piece of drywall to fit the hole. Cement the patch and hold it in place with a handle made from a screw. When it has dried, remove the screw and plaster, sand and finish the whole area.

Sometimes it is necessary to back a hole with newspaper when filling a hole with spackle or patching plaster. A piece of wire screen or plasterboard works well also.

Most wall repair is essentially plastering. On drywall, use drywall cement or spackle to fill the hole. Wood walls are repaired with wood putty.

Nail pops that are tight can simply be driven back in with a hammer and a nail set. Loose nails should be pulled or driven in. Drive a new nail nearby.

Although the tile is usually set in a special cement, it is much easier to glue the replacement tile with white epoxy cement. The wall must be dry. Use a putty knife or cover your finger with a piece of plastic or cellophane and work the epoxy around the tile to match the old grout. Hold the tile in place until the epoxy begins to set.

Clean all cement off the tiles before it hardens.

Wallpaper is difficult to repair. To replace a greasy or torn spot, carefully tear a piece of matching wallpaper from the front of the patch so the backing will be torn away from the edges. Remove the old piece. Match the pattern and paste down the new patch. The seams will always be slightly visible, but the ragged edges will make them less obvious.

Sometimes wallpaper bulges loose in a bubble. Cut a small slit in the bubble and force paste behind it, in order to work the bubble down. The cut is less visible if it is made along a straight line in the wallpaper pattern.

Remove all tape that is loose. Spread joint compound over the area and work new tape down with a putty knife. Then plaster over.

An uneven piece of wallpaper is less noticeable than one that is cut straight. Tearing the backing off the edges will make it even less obvious.

Gluing tiles with white epoxy cement is easier than using grout. The cement must be spread by hand to look like grout. Protect your finger with a piece of plastic.

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