Friday, August 27, 2010

MP #1: Repairing water-damaged drywall

I officially started the craft room makeover. FINALLY. I've broken this entire daunting makeover into "Mini-Projects" (more to come later) and the first is done! One down, many more to go!

Mini-Project #1: Fix the ceiling drywall, damaged by the leaking roof last summer.

Water build-up from my leaking roof, eventually soaked
through my ceiling drywall, causing it to split on the seam
and fall in. There was a lot of loose drywall to scrape off
before I could begin the repair.
I'm embarrassed to admit it took me a year to fix this. May I never leave something this long again. I'm not sure why I put this off so long. It turned out to be low on the handyman-toughness scale. It was also low budget. Now, that it's done I feel all the more empowered to tackle dry-walling the closet. That will be Mini-Project #2.

The correct way to fix damaged drywall, if it has a hole in it, is to cut out around the hole, then fit it with a new piece cut to match.

Unfortunately, I didn't really have a hole, but I certainly had more than just a crack or peeling tape. I seriously doubted my dad's advice that putty alone would do the job. After some research though, I decided this was going to be the easiest solution. I set to work, gobbing on putty then scraping it smooth; the whole time envisioning myself on Canada's Worst Handyman. I have to admit it took 2 tries, gobbing and sanding to get a smooth finish, but I am happy with the final result! Here is the lowdown.

Tools Used:

  • Drywall putty
  • Drywall knife
  • Drywall tape
  • Exacto knife to cut old tape and new tape
  • Drywall sander & paper
Steps to Repair Damaged Drywall (Not a Hole)
  1. Scrape, chip and sand off flaking and crumbling drywall around the hole. You need a 'clean' surface to work with. Wear eye protection also.
  2. Use drywall knife to apply putty to the hole. Scrape excess off so surface is smooth. 
  3. You can see this is still a little rough and could use some smoothing out. An even layer of putty, dried and sanded and it looked much better!
  4. Press tape into putty and smooth out any air bubbles. Make sure all sides of the tape are set into the putty. 
  5. Putty over the tape to hide and hold in place. Smooth and scrape off excess with putty knife. Ensure tape is entirely covered. Otherwise, you won't get a smooth surface when you sand because you'll be pulling up paper.
  6. Feather putty around the edges of patching to 'blend' with existing surface.
  7. Allow to dry overnight.
  8. If your putty is thick and pretty rough, use coarser sandpaper to remove excess. Change to a finer paper to finish and smooth your work. 
  9. Clean up dust.
  10. Prime or prepare for ceiling or wall finish (paint in this case).


  1. Thanks for this one! Aside from repairing walls, do you have any more tips on how to repair a roof effectively? 'Coz some find difficulty in fixing them. Thank you so much!

  2. I am totally an amateur. If it's a large repair, I would suggest hiring a pro. We are working on a small wall now and it's been a nightmare with trying to get it matched with the old plaster.

  3. That looks much better. I think painting the drywall would hide its uneven color. Plus, it’ll make the drywall look smooth and new again. I agree with what you said that you should hire a professional when you’re dealing with big repairs. Professionals are better equipped and trained in handling such huge tasks.

  4. Water Leak Repair LA can handle any leakage problem, may it be in your window, roof, bathroom, grout, tile or caulking. They are very dependable because they will not leave your home until all the problems are already fixed. You can entrust your house to them because they are known for a quality workmanship and a company with integrity.