Unless you live in a rock cave, Every ceiling and wall in your home is created from drywall, also called sheetrock. This material insulates and provides a smooth surface without taking too much time to manufacture or install, making it a wonder material for home construction. Even better, you can find drywall at your local hardware store, so you can DIY some repair and renovation projects around your own home.
While drywall is much more user-friendly than wall materials of the past — you’d never be able to work with hand-applied plaster — it still isn’t a good idea for you to DIY everything drywall unless you have plenty of experience. Here’s a rundown of dos and don’ts for DIY drywall, so you can keep your renovation costs low and your finishes high.
Don’t: Hang Drywall
Despite the abundance of advice on the internet for how to hang drywall yourself, you shouldn’t attempt this task. It is of ultimate importance that your drywall hangs straight and even and that seams are sanded down perfectly smoothly — otherwise, your walls and/or ceilings will look lumpy, and it will be difficult to hang anything or place furniture squarely. Problems with hanging drywall are not small or inconspicuous; you and everyone who visits your home will see them
Unfortunately, you aren’t likely to get this right on your first try; in fact, you probably won’t hang drywall appropriately on your second or third tries, either. Well-hung drywall is something you can accomplish only after plenty of experience, which means you definitely need to hire a professional for this drywall job in your home.
Do: Repair Small Holes
Not long ago, punching holes in drywall was necessary to mount light fixtures, shelves and televisions. These days, drywall screws do less permanent damage to your walls and ceilings, but small holes might still develop for a variety of reasons — not least of which is rambunctious behavior. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much work to repair smaller holes in your drywall, and unlike hanging drywall, you can do it competently without much experience.
For holes and dents that are very small — nothing larger than the diameter of a finger — all you need is some spackle and a putty knife. You should try to apply the spackle evenly in a single coat and sand off any rough parts before repainting.
Slightly larger holes that still qualify as small — just a few inches in diameter — should be patched a combination of spackle and drywall tape. Drywall tape is different than other tapes you might reach for during a DIY project, like duct tape or masking tape; drywall tape is made of paper or mesh and melts into the drywall to create a smooth joint. If you are having a hard time getting your spackle to stick in your hole, you might cut a piece of drywall tape to fit and spackle over that.
Don’t: Handle Water Damage
Water is one of the most destructive forces within a home, especially when it encounters drywall. As the name suggests, drywall should be kept dry; when it is plagued by moisture — even steam — drywall can become soft and weak or grow mildew and mold. As you might expect, neither of these outcomes is ideal for your home, so you should act fast to identify and fix water-damaged drywall.
However, that’s not to say that you should handle drywall with water damage yourself. Often, homes with severe water damage are not safe to enter; they are structurally unsound and filled with toxins from dirty water as well as dangers from the electrical system. Even if just a small portion of your home has suffered water damage, it is better to call in experts. Even in relatively rural areas like Riverside, sheetrock repair professionals are available to tackle any job.
Do: Repair Cracks
Cracks in drywall can be major red flags that something serious is going wrong with your foundation or the land beneath it. Then again, cracks can appear in your drywall for other, less serious reasons, like regular movement of your home’s structure due to weather and seasons. While concerning cracks should prompt you to call a home inspector for more information, small cracks can be patched up by you in no time.
For the most part, cracks are filled the same way you repair small holes: with spackle and drywall tape. However, if the crack is particularly thin, you might want to cut it slightly larger using a utility knife, so there is enough space for putty to fit into. You want the crack to be between 1/8 and 1/4 inch deep. For cracks deeper than this, you might need to invest in a quick-setting crack filler, which you can find at your local home improvement store.
Drywall is one of the most important construction materials in your home. Because it is easy to mess up a drywall project, you should research your project, have the right tools on hand and know what professionals you can call before you start.