I think I just lost my damage deposit [Drywall repair]
April 29, 2008 9:12 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone suggest how to repair this wall?

Help me mefi! I'm moving out and while removing some wall mounts - I accidentally pulled off a chunk of the wall like like link above. Any suggestions on how to fix it? Can it be done with primer?
posted by phyrewerx to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hey. Once, my sister was walking down the stairs, and my dog flew down the same stairs, sending sister flying into the wall, leaving a dent about 1 foot in diameter, and a few inches deep. It looked pretty much like that.

If that is deeper than a few millimeters--and that disclaimer is because there's no context as to the size of the whole--no, you can't use primer, unless you want to be priming forever, have it look weird at the end, and possible fall off eventually, leaving more damage.

Just grab some pre-mixed drywall plaster--it comes in tins--and slap it on with a palette knife (not ideal) or a plaster "knife" (bigger than most palette knives). Make sure the edges that lay against the wall are smooth. This may take practice. Good 'plaster application drywall' or hints.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 9:21 PM on April 29, 2008

Best answer: take a little spackle, or even Bondo, with a large taping knife, and smooth over. let try and repaint ( you may have to paint the whole wall to get it to match right
posted by Mr_Chips at 9:22 PM on April 29, 2008

Urgh. Size of the HOLE. PossiblY. FOR hints. I am walking proof of why you should not post to AskMe at midnight without thorough proofing.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 9:22 PM on April 29, 2008

I forgot about painting. Listen to Mr. Chips.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 9:23 PM on April 29, 2008

You'll need some drywall mud and a sponge.

First, use a mudding knife (looks like a large putty knife) to scrape all of the loose pieces. Basically, run the edge of it over the spot from all directions.

Then, use drywall mud to patch the hole. You should do this in two or three coats.

After each coat dries, take the sponge, dampen it, and using circular motions, feather the whole thing in.

The last coat should be applied with the sponge at first, to do the orange-peel texture. Dip the sponge in the mud and tap it on to the hole. When the mud has hardened most of the way in peaks, rinse your sponge and cut the peaks down with the dampened sponge.

It can take some practice, but I did five walls in an old house with this technique, and matched some stucco over lathe pretty well.
posted by tomierna at 9:24 PM on April 29, 2008

Best answer: I would sand around the edges of it first, but essentially what tomierna said.

Just take the picture to Home Depot and they'll show you exactally what you need and tell you what to do. That's why they're there.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:26 PM on April 29, 2008

Best answer: Patching Drywall
posted by bitdamaged at 9:56 PM on April 29, 2008

Best answer: That doesn't look like drywall to me, but ordinary texture-painted plaster. "Drywall mud" (aka "joint compound") is not a good choice here.

"Spackle" (often "lightweight spackle") is good for smaller holes in drywall or plaster. Modern spackles might incorporate vinyl or other materials. It may, however, shrink, so give yourself time to see if you still have a dent and have to fill it again.

"Patching plaster" is better for larger holes or structural cracks. Not as necessary in drywall, and it's difficult to get a nice flat surface, but very easy to get a textured one using a tool creatively. It also takes a lot longer to dry, and it's good to spritz it with water a couple of times as it does, because it leaches moisture out of the adjoining plaster and can actually cause new cracks. Make sure you give the surface a good wetting before applying for the same reason. It's stronger in the long run. But if this is just an inch across and maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, spackle is easier, and you can usually get it in smaller containers.

Both will allow you to paint over easily enough. The amount of color matching your landlord will require is unknown, but I can tell you that lots of tenants just splash some off-white (or whatever) over it and hope for the best. Doing a texture right is almost impossible at the patch scale but you can throw some (rinsed off) driveway grit into your cup or so of paint and see how that looks.
posted by dhartung at 11:44 PM on April 29, 2008

Great advice here, only came to add that if the hole is too deep for filling with plaster/spackle/mud, you can buy little wire-mesh screens at any Home Depot-type-store to place over the hole. You seal it on with the plaster and plaster over it, then smooth it out to look even with the wall and paint. This is handy if the hole is deep or if (and this doesn't seem to be the case for you) the wall doesn't have any backing, or is backed by insulation. I only know this because as a kid I kicked a hole in the wall and my dad made me learn how to fix it as punishment. YMMV.
posted by farishta at 1:52 AM on April 30, 2008

i really think that for this job just about anything will work to repair the damage ( spackle, drywall mud, bondo, stucco, mortar mix, PlayDough, or cake batter ).

the biggest issue is going to be matching the paint so that no attention is drawn to the damage.

in my mind you have a few choices.

1) repair the damage and find a paint that matches and paint over the spot
2) repair the damage, find a paint that's close and repaint whole wall
3) find a paint that matches and just paint the damage, so it looks like it was always like that
4) finad a paint that's close and just repaint the whole eall, like it was always like that
5) Do nothing, let your landlord deduct it from your security deposit. I can't see them charging more than a couple hundred bucks on the high end. this is not structural damage, just cosmetic. you might even want to call a handyman or two and get your own quote(s) before he sees it, just to keep from getting gouged
posted by Mr_Chips at 6:23 AM on April 30, 2008

Best answer: This looks like a fiberboard. I know your moving out but to not cause grief to the next resident you should use a flexible filler like PolyFilla on fibreboard. Plaster will just pop off or crack when the panel is flexed.
posted by Mitheral at 7:00 AM on April 30, 2008

Your landlord probably is not allowed to keep more than the cost of repairing the damages. So you might not be out the whole deposit. Just make sure you are given full documentation of the costs of repair if you decide to try not to fix it.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 7:43 AM on April 30, 2008

Response by poster: Hi all, thanks! I ended up asking the people at Home Depot. I used spackle to patch up the wall and painted it over.
posted by phyrewerx at 6:11 PM on May 4, 2008

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