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Accidents happen, and sometimes that accident involves a certain object hitting the wall, missing the stud, and well… going through the wall. So now the dream house has an ugly gaping hole somewhere in there. While placing a large picture over the hole may seem like a viable (and inexpensive) solution, it’s not a good idea.

The reason home repairs cost so much is not because the work itself is difficult, though it may be at times, but because of the time used to fix the hole. As a rule, the repairman is not only going to charge for travel time and gas, but he is also charging for other contingiency plans, such as extra trips to the store for various reasons, like picking up the drywall or buying extra supplies.

Most of the time, drywall repair is easy to do, but there are times when Murphy is just itching to get a good laugh. At those times, you just have to go with your instincts and call in a pro. But for an enthusiasts who is willing to take on job that requires a little skill and imagination, doing this repair yourself can save a lot of cash.

This job is a little different because you have to do things out of the usual order. So before you head out the door and buy supplies, the first thing you want to do is begin some of the prepratory work and inspect the damage.

Begin by using a knife to cut a square around the hole. This hole does not have to be perfect, but it shouldn’t be any larger than it has to be. Cut the square, or squares if it must be, to the studs on each side of the hole. Pull the drywall off the stud and remove the nails. While you are there, it is a good idea to see the condition of the stud. Usually there is nothing wrong with the stud. What is important is seeing the handywork used by whomever built the wall. Sometimes there are truly bizarre findings. For example, I once worked on a repair where the drywall was attached to a pile of drywall. The patch of drywall was then attached to the stud. In other words, I was looking at three layers of drywall. If I hadn’t done the preparation work first, I would not have known that I would need to buy two different sizes of drywall in order to match the wall. This saved me a lot of time and an extra trip to the store, though I did waste a few minutes scratching my head.

Usually, nothing too far afield is going to be found. The main purpose of doing the prepratory work is to see what size drywall you need. Although the standard drywall thickness is half-inch, you simply don’t know until you see it.

The supplies for drywall repair are simple: drywall, drywall nails, hammer, drywall sandpaper, and drywall mud.

The key to drywall repair is exact measurement. It is a good idea to cut the new drywall a little too large and scrape it down so that it fits snugly inside the hole. The common error in drywall repair is using tape. When you repair drywall, you do not use tape. Just take the mud and put it on the crack. Like normal drywall work, you will need to put too much mud on and let it dry.

Drying usually takes about 24 hours. When the mud is dry, use the drywall sandpaper to to scrape it down. When you are sanding the mud, be sure to feather it out across the wall. The more you feather it, the less visible any bumps from the repair will be, so it is not a problem to have the dust spread about a foot away from the repair.

After you are satisfied that the wall is smooth, take a damp cloth and remove all the dust. The final step is painting. It is best to simply paint the entire wall, and depending on how old the paint is, you may want to paint the entire room.