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A handyman using a trowel to spread joint compound over a hole in a wall during an appointment for drywall repair in West Chester, PA.

The Complete Guide to DIY and Professional West Chester Drywall Repair for Homeowners

Like learning to ride a bike and change a tire, learning to perform minor drywall repairs is an essential life skill you should have. Whether you’re a homeowner, a renter, or that babysitting job you took on went wrong, minor drywall repair is something everyone can do. Learning how to fill small holes will give you the confidence to hang those pictures and shelves in your rental apartment without losing your security deposit, giving you the freedom to express your creativity without financial consequences.

In addition to interior decorating, accidents can cause damage to your drywall. Small dents and scratches can be repaired on your own, but damage beyond this may call for a more professional hand. In these instances, it’s in your best interest to hire a professional West Chester handyman.

Mr. Handyman of the Western Main Line is the ideal choice for professional drywall repair services in Pennsylvania. Not only does Mr. Handyman provide exceptional drywall repair services at a competitive rate, but we also provide a host of other handyman and carpentry services to meet all your home repair needs. Along with integrity and respect, customer service is our top priority. You can trust us to get the job done efficiently, safely, and according to quality workmanship standards.

West Chester Drywall Repair Basics

In order to assess whether a drywall repair job is something you can handle on your own or requires professional help, you need to understand the basics of drywall repair. Understanding starts with learning the proper terminology.

What’s the Difference Between Sheetrock and Drywall?

If you’ve heard these two terms but never really understood the difference between them, you may be relieved to know that there isn’t one!

Sheetrock is simply a popular brand of drywall. As the name is patented, all other drywall brands are barred from using the name ‘Sheetrock’ when referring to their product. Whether your walls and ceiling are made of Sheetrock or another brand of drywall, you can use the exact same repair methods.

Drywall and plaster, on the other hand, are two very different things. Before drywall was invented, walls were commonly made out of plaster:

  • Plaster is a thick, wet material that is applied to wooden boards (called laths). Plaster walls are essentially built up in place.
  • Unlike plaster, drywall is a dry material that is composed of two sheets of paper with gypsum rock plaster in between. Drywall is premade and installed rather than formed in place.

The repair processes for plaster and drywall are very different. If you have plaster walls and ceilings with cracks that need to be repaired, it is strongly recommended that you contact a professional company, such as Mr. Handyman of the Western Main Line, to do the job.

What’s the Difference Between Joint Compound and Spackle?

Unlike Sheetrock and drywall, joint compound and Spackle are not the same things—though they do perform similar functions.

Joint compound, also called drywall mud, is a mixture of limestone, gypsum, and small traces of other rocks and minerals. You can buy joint compound dry and mix the desired amount with water when ready to use, or premixed.

Joint compound is:

  • Primarily used during drywall installation to join seams between sheets
  • Slow drying—it takes approximately 24 hours to dry
  • Often used to cover large surface areas but can be used to repair small cracks, holes, and dents

Spackle is made from gypsum and binding agents. It comes pre-mixed in a small tube.

Unlike joint compound, Spackle is:

  • Used to fill small dents and holes
  • Fast drying (dry in about 30 minutes)
  • Can be used to repair other materials in addition to drywall, such as epoxy, vinyl, and acrylic

Can I Do It Myself? DIY Vs. Professional Drywall Repair in West Chester, PA

Now that you know the basic terminology and substances used in drywall repair in West Chester PA, you’re ready to learn about the repair process. The repair process will follow slightly different steps depending on whether you need to fix a small hole, a large hole, or a cracked wall.

How to Fill a Small Hole in a Wall

With a little bit of practice and know-how, filling a small hole in your wall is as easy as pie. When we talk about small holes, we’re generally referring to the holes left behind from hooks, shelves, and artwork. To complete this drywall project, you’ll need the following supplies and tools:

  • Spackle or premixed joint compound: Although Spackle costs a little more, it’s much easier to work with than drywall mud. If you’ve never done drywall repair before, we suggest using Spackle.
  • Putty knife or small drywall knife
  • Utility knife
  • Sanding sponge: fine-grit sandpaper will also work but is a little more awkward to use on a wall.

First, you’ll need to make sure that the hole is clean. If you pulled out a nail, you might find you have drywall paper sticking out. Use your utility knife to trim these edges so you’re left with a nice, clean hole.

Next, you’ll want to squeeze a bit of Spackle onto your putty or drywall knife. Be conservative with the amount you use—you can always add more! Holding your knife at a 45-degree angle, spread the Spackle across the hole. If there are any spots left unfilled after the first pass, simply repeat the process with another swipe. Then, holding your knife at a 90-degree angle, pass over the hole again.

Don’t worry if it isn’t perfectly smooth. You’ll want the hole to be completely filled, but any excess Spackle can be easily sanded away with a sanding sponge later. Wait about an hour before gently sanding the wall surface in a circular motion to make the fill seamless.

If you opted to use joint compound instead of Spackle, you may need to repeat this entire process a second time. Joint compound tends to shrink as it dries, so you may be left with a slight indentation that requires a second coat.

How to Fill a Medium Hole in a Wall

Once you have a hole in your wall that’s larger than anything left behind by a screw, drywall repair in West Chester, PA gets a little more tricky. When we talk about a medium hole drywall repair job, we’re talking about anything that is 4 inches in diameter or less. Think holes made by a doorknob.

It’s at this point that you might want to consider professional West Chester drywall repair if you haven’t already. This job will require the following tools:

  • Spackle (or joint compound)
  • Medium-sized drywall knife
  • Utility knife
  • Sanding sponge
  • Self-adhesive fiberglass or galvanized metal mesh

For this drywall repair project, you’ll want to follow the same steps as in small hole drywall repair but with a few modifications. Before smoothing your Spackle over the hole, you’ll need to apply a piece of self-adhesive mesh over the hole. Which type of mesh you use will depend on the size of hole. For a hole less than 2 inches in diameter, fiberglass mesh should do. For holes 2 inches and larger, using galvanized metal mesh will be your safest bet.

Applying Spackle is a little more challenging with larger holes. Because the mesh patch will be placed over the hole, you won’t be able to sand the Spackle down to become flush with the wall, or the mesh will peak through.

To apply Spackle, use broad diagonal strokes from the top right corner of the square patch to the bottom left. Then, swipe your Spackle from the top left corner to the bottom left. Continue applying product in a crisscross pattern like this until fully covered. You’ll want to ‘feather’ the Spackle out at the edges so that it blends with your wall. To do this, apply light pressure near the center of your hole and increase pressure as you reach the edges.

As you can probably tell, building a beautiful, seamless surface for these larger holes is a little more difficult without experience and expertise. The West Chester drywall contractors at Mr. Handyman of the Western Main Line have done countless drywall repairs. To get a perfect result, consider hiring a professional.

How to Fill a Large Hole in a Wall

A large hole in the ceiling of a home after it has been patched with the help of Mr. Handyman’s services for drywall repair in West Chester, PA.

At this point, we suggest calling Mr. Handyman of the Western Main Line for drywall repair in West Chester, PA. While this is still a project you can try to tackle on your own, it will be hard to achieve a finished result that looks professionally done.

Larger projects like these are usually done with joint compound, which is more difficult to work with than Spackle. Getting that perfectly smooth, seamless finish will cost more and require more time than simpler drywall repair projects.

To fill a large hole in the wall, you’ll need:

  • All-purpose joint compound
  • Drywall
  • Medium or large drywall knife
  • Drywall saw
  • Two furring strips (small, thin pieces of wood)
  • Electric drill
  • Joint tape
  • Sanding sponge
  • Pencil

First, cut out a square or rectangular patch from a piece of drywall. Then, while holding this piece of drywall against the hole, trace the edges of the patch on the wall with a pencil. Using a drywall saw, follow the pencil lines to cut out a hole.

Place a furring strip inside the hole on either side. Using the electric drill and some drywall screws, secure your furring strips to the wall above and below each side of the hole. Take your drywall patch and place it in the hole, flush against the furring strips. Attach the patch to the furring strips using more drywall screws. Then, apply the mesh joint tape around the border of the patch and the hole.

From here, you can apply the joint compound and sand as you normally would.

How to Repair Cracked Drywall

Drywall cracks are very rare. When they do occur, they are usually the result of two drywall panels coming apart. As long as a crack is minor, you can repair it following the same steps as in a small hole drywall repair project.

Larger, more widespread cracks can be an indication of a more serious problem. In these cases, it’s best to contact a professional handyman who offers West Chester drywall repair services. It might be tempting to slap some Spackle on the cracks and call it done, but if you leave the issue too long, it could end up costing you much more down the road than it would now.

Other Drywall Repairs

Holes and cracks aren’t the only kinds of drywall repairs. Other drywall damage includes:

  • Ceilings with cracks and water damage. While ceiling repair for cracks can be done in much the same way as cracked walls (unless you're the unlucky owner of popcorn ceilings), they usually indicate some other kind of structural damage that requires professional assessment. If your ceiling damage is due to a burst pipe or leaking roof, replacements rather than repairs may be needed.
  • Damaged wall corners. Fixing straight edges can be more difficult to do on your own, as the human eye easily picks up on lines that are even just the tiniest bit off. This project also requires applying metal corner beading.

For these drywall repairs, you’ll want to hire the professional and experienced contractors of Mr. Handyman of the Western Main Line.

Drywall Repair in West Chester, PA: Call Your Local Mr. Handyman!

If you’re located in West Chester, PA or a nearby area, such as Downington or Royersford, you can trust your drywall repair project to the team of reliable and professional handymen at Mr. Handyman of the Western Main Line. Customer satisfaction is our top priority, so we’ll make sure your West Chester drywall repair doesn’t just get done but gets done right.

All of our handyman professionals have an average of 10 years of industry experience and are fully insured. We guarantee that you will be impressed with the quality of our workmanship, the professionalism of our team, and the efficiency of our services.

Contact us today by phone at 610-991-7389 to set up an appointment today and one of our friendly customer service representatives will be happy to book you in and answer any questions you may have about anything from drywall repair to pressure washing.