Drywall is relatively simple to install and easy to repair. It's also easy to repair badly, which can leave a lumpy mess that declares "shoddy" to anyone who enters the room.
It's best to do a repair with three or four thin coats of compound--if possible leaving sanding for just the last coat. Also, "the most important thing with a repair is to build the joint out wider than you would normally. The key is to leave a wide and very shallow slope on all sides,
Drywall repair toolkit is simple. It consists of flexible knives in 3-, 6- and 8-in. widths, an inside-corner knife, a utility knife, a hammer, a screwdriver, a drywall saw and a drill. Some repairs also may require a hand sander, a hacksaw, a nail bar and a level. Chances are good that you already own these. As for materials, drywall compound, mesh tape, paper tape, drywall nails and screws take care of most repairs.
Note that in some cases we show mesh tape with lightweight or all-purpose compound applied over it. Strictly speaking, for maximum strength mesh tape is best used with setting-type drywall compound. For small repairs, however, that's impractical. If you're really concerned about strength, use paper tape for all repairs. Be advised that it's more difficult to work with in some of the repairs we show.
AllStar Handyman we use a sanding system that hooks up to a vacuum so don't have to much dust blowing around.
Watch The Weight
If you have several large repairs to do and you'll be buying a sheet or two of drywall, be advised that a sheet of regular 1/2-in. drywall weighs about 1.7 pounds per square foot. That means a 1/2-in. 4 x 8-ft. sheet weighs a bit more than 54 pounds (a 3/8-in. sheet weighs almost 45 pounds). If you stand it on edge and it falls over, someone--especially a child--could get hurt.
Beware Of Buckets
Five-gal. compound buckets pose a drowning or suffocation hazard to small children--when they are new and filled with compound, or later after they are cleaned and used for car washing and other jobs.
The two most common drywall compounds are lightweight and all-purpose. They both are easy to work with, and have a shelf life at room temperature of about nine months. If you have an entire house to repair, buy a 4.5-gal. bucket of the material ($11 to $15) and keep using it until the project is done. For small repairs, buy a 1-gal. container, but be advised that you might pay nearly as much for that as you will for the 4.5-gal. size, depending on where you shop. For a few minor repairs, buy a quart (about $5). The differences between the two are that the lightweight product weighs about a third less than all-purpose, it dries more quickly and takes less force to sand.
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