Drywall Patching and Repair
One of the very nice things about drywall is that it can be repaired so that the patch and the problem it is covering are completely undetectable. This kind of thorough repair is difficult to do with panelling or tile.
But the mode of repair differs with the size of the problem and the nature of the beast. A small hole is very easy to deal with. Simply push some plaster in the hole with a putty knife, smooth it and after it dries sand it smooth. For larger holes this procedure will not work. The problem is that the plaster will bulge and gap. It needs something to hold on to.
For larger holes, cut a piece of scrap drywall so that it barely wedges into the opening. If you have a stud to nail into so much the better. Give a light coating of plaster to the edges of the patch and apply drywall tape. Lay on another coat of drywall plaster over the tape. Allow to thoroughly dry, then sand. The area will likely still be uneven, but successive applications of plaster and subsequent sandings will soon correct the problem and the hole with be repaired.
A crack is another story. Do not think for a moment that you will get away with merely plastering over a crack. Generally the forces that created the crack are still extant and mere plastering creates a weak spot in the wall structure that will be the first place to give way when the wall experiences any stress. Remember that a crack may be part of a deeper structural problem, so it may be wise to investigate this possibility. To repair the crack, put a thin layer of plaster along the seam, lightly press on drywall tape, then put a layer of plaster over the tape and smooth with a wide drywall knife. When the mud dries, add successive layers of plaster and sand smooth. A brief sanding between each layer will help prevent a bulge in the wall. Try to spread the plaster as evenly as possible. Often this will mean that you are applying plaster as much as 12 inches from the actual patch.
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