By Mike MorrisMore in Windows Walls and Doors
Outer drywall corners are reinforced with metal or plastic edging, called corner bead. Although this bead is damage-resistant, a sharp knock can cause the drywall compound that covers it to crack or chip off, and a strong enough shock can dent or bend the corner bead. Usually, the damage is confined to a short section that can be cut away and replaced.
If the damage is limited to the drywall compound, simply remove all loose material and apply new compound. It is not necessary to tape over the compound.
If the bead is dented, use a metal-cutting hack saw to cut through the bead above and below the damaged area (image 1). Then use a utility knife to cut vertically around the corner bead (image 2). Corner bead is usually attached with drywall nails, so use a pry bar or claw hammer to remove the fasteners. Place a taping knife or thin plywood behind the tool to prevent additional damage to the wall — be especially careful not to lever against unsupported drywall or the tool will punch a hole that will require a more extensive repair.
Use metal snips to cut a section of new corner bead to fit the repair area (image 3). Apply a coat of joint compound to the corner, set the bead in place then apply another layer of joint compound over it. Let dry completely then add another layer or two of compound depending on what is needed (image 4).
For holes up to about six inches across, a variety of drywall patch kits are available. The kits typically have a reinforced center panel surrounded by self-sticking tape. Simply adhere the patch to the wall and cover with drywall compound.
You can create your own patch to repair larger holes in drywall. For holes that don’t extend to studs on either side, you will need to reinforce the hole. Measure the hole then cut a scrap piece of drywall that is slightly larger than the hole’s diameter. Place drywall piece over the damaged area (image 1) and trace around it with a pencil (image 2). Use a drywall or reciprocating saw to cut out the area within the traced lines (image 3). Cut two pieces of 2x4 slightly larger than the hole. Position the 2x4s vertically inside the hole on each side of the hole. (It is not necessary to reinforce the horizontal edges of the replacement drywall.) Secure the 2x4s to the drywall with drywall screws (image 4). Set the new drywall into the hole and secure to the 2x4s with screws.
Trim the rough edges of drywall around the patch. Lay strips of fiberglass tape over the patched area to reinforce it (image 5), extending the tape a few inches beyond the patch. Do not overlap the tape. Embed the tape and cover the entire area with a thin coat of drywall compound, and complete the repair as described in the steps above.
Drywall damage that extends across one or more wall studs requires more extensive reinforcement and repair. Before you cut into the wall, make sure there is nothing in the way such as electrical or plumbing.
Use an electronic stud finder to mark the studs behind the damaged drywall, then use a drywall saw or reciprocating saw to cut away the drywall. Be careful not to cut into or through the studs. Remove as much drywall as needed until you reach studs beyond both sides of the damaged area. Discard the drywall and remove all exposed drywall nails or screws.
Install wood cleats against the studs on both sides of the opening to support the new drywall’s vertical edges (image 1). Use scrap wood such as 1x2 furring for smaller repairs; if you are replacing a large sheet of drywall, reinforce the opening with 2x3 lumber. Cut the cleats a few inches longer than the opening. Position the cleats flush with the face of the existing studs and install them with drywall screws or nails. It is not necessary to reinforce the horizontal edges of the replacement drywall.
Measure, cut and install new drywall to fit the repair area (image 2). Be sure to use drywall that matches the original wall thickness. Home interiors are typically covered with 1/2-inch-thick drywall, but certain areas, such as between a house and attached garage, require thicker, fire-rated drywall. Use drywall screws to attach the drywall to the cleats (image 3) and to any studs between them, as in new construction. Tape over the joints and apply joint compound as described in the steps above (image 4).