Drywall Repair – Plaster Repair
Drywall/Plaster Repair & Restoration Tips
Some idiot who lived in your house before goofed up. They failed to install the right wallpaper primer on the walls before they hung the paper. Now it is impossible to remove the paper without blasting. Out comes the TNT, and off comes the paper.
A Drywall Mess
I have seen paper hangers and some homeowners who have applied paper directly to unpainted drywall! What a huge mistake. The wallpaper paste attaches the wallpaper very well to the porous, coarse drywall paper. As soon as you pull the wallpaper off, the upper layers of drywall paper come with it. This happens so often that I usually get one e-mail about it per week from someone across the USA.
If just a small area of drywall gets ruined, there is a great chance that you can repair it. If the entire wall surface is ruined, you may have to call in a pro. First of all, it isn't necessary to rip down the drywall and start over. You can skim coat the damaged area with a thin coat of drywall joint compound and it will look superb once sanded. If you want to avoid dust, consider wet sanding the skim coat. You have to be careful as you do it. Too much pressure or water will remove too much of the joint compound.
Before you begin to coat the damaged area, you need to seal the exposed drywall paper with a waterproof primer. White shellac or the stain killing paints work well for this! You can find these at any paint store.
If you don't use this type of primer before you start, the water in the joint compounds will usually cause bubbles to form in the rough drywall paper. It is a nightmare. The special primers are easy to use and dry within an hour or so.
Multiple Thin Applications
Once the damaged area is primed, apply a thin coat of drywall joint compound using as wide a blade broadknife as you can handle. I prefer to work with a 12-inch broadknife or possibly a 10-inch one. The thickness of the application should not exceed 1/16th inch. I would actually prefer a little less. You will probably get a few lines from the edges of the knife, but don't worry about those now.
Let it Dry
If you have a fan handy, aim it at the freshly patched area. It should dry within four hours or so. Lightly sand off any high spots. Brush away the dust and apply a second coat at a 45-degree angle to the initial application broadknife strokes. You apply the joint compound and basically scrape it all off the wall. You are doing this to simply fill in any low spots. You do NOT want to add any additional thickness to the compound! Once dry, sand the patched area and see what it looks like by holding a light close to the patch. If you see imperfections, fill those in and sand again.
Working With Plaster
Plaster repairs are much easier to accomplish than drywall repairs. Usually, the damage caused by scrapers are random nicks and gouges. I prefer to use the setting type dry powder joint compounds to solve these problems. These products mix with water and stick much better to plaster than the premixed joint compounds you buy in buckets. All of the major drywall manufacturers make these setting type compounds.
The newer ones are easy to sand once dry. They come in different set times as they are much like concrete. Once you mix the powder with water, the compounds start to get hard. If you wait too long to apply them, the compounds actually harden within your mixing bucket or drywall pan! To start with, buy one that has a 90 minute set time. This will give you the time you need to work with it. Two applications are almost always necessary. Use a smaller three inch wide knife to apply these products to the small wall nicks and gouges. Don't forget to wash your tools well and run plenty of water - at least one minute's worth - down the drain!