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Home Improvement

Patching Wall Board May Be Needed Skill

September 21, 1986|Dale Baldwin

If you've had any plumbing done recently, you might find yourself in a home improvement twilight zone.

A plumber, in order to reach the mechanism of, say, a shower, will have to cut a hole in the bathroom wall to reach the pipe. After the repair is done, he may or may not patch the wall with a piece of drywall.

One plumber explained his failure to fix the gaping, ragged hole he left after a repair job quite simply: "I'm a plumber, not a drywaller."

Since small jobs don't make economic sense for a professional, when you get one to respond, the cost might be astronomical. The professional doesn't want the work, so he makes the cost of repair uneconomical.

Repairing the hole yourself can be accomplished with relative ease, thanks to premixed drywall joint compound, fiberglass drywall tape and a scrap piece of drywall. If you're lucky, a friendly lumber company employee may give you a piece of wallboard.

First, you must square off the hole; the one illustrated above, left, originally was an irregular opening in the wall, with both studs showing. Using a square, make the opening a rectangle, with exposure through the middle of the studs to provide a nailing surface.

Next, cut the new hole with a keyhole saw or power saber saw. You'll have to use a chisel to clear away the stud-exposure area.

Next, cut a piece of drywall of the proper thickness-- 1/2- or 5/8-inch are most common--to fit your new rectangular opening. It should be slightly smaller than the opening so it won't be necessary to force it in.

Next, nail the piece in carefully with at least two drywall nails per side. Try to sink the nails below the surface of the drywall without cracking the panel. It's a tricky maneuver that professionals sometimes have trouble doing.

Next, using fiberglass drywall tape, cover the joints, overlapping at the ends. Apply a coat of joint compound--the professionals always call it "mud"--with a spreader, a tool that looks like a putty knife with delusions of grandeur.

Finally, then next day, after the compound is dry, carefully sand it with a power sander or by hand. You might have to put on a second coat of joint compound to build up a depressed surface or cover minor irregularities.

A coat of primer mixed with a texture material will help make the patch match the rest of the wall. Finish the job with a coat or two of paint.

Two Southland contractors and consultants are joining forces to present a two-day program for owner-builders Saturday and Sept. 28.

The session will be held at the Regency Hyatt-Los Angeles, 711 S. Hope St., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, according to John Stebbins of Fine Homes Unlimited, Carlsbad. He will present the Sunday, Sept. 28 session, showing through an audio-visual program how a house or major renovation job is completed.

In the Saturday session, John Boswell of Homebuilders Institute, Montecito, will focus on teaching the owner-builder how to act as his own contractor or, alternatively, how to hire and work with a contractor.

The cost is $225 at the door or $195 in advance. Registration information can be obtained from Boswell at 1206 Coast Village Circle, Suite G, Montecito 93108.

The free show of the Orange County Woodworker's Assn. runs through Saturday at the Anaheim Cultural Arts Center, 931 N. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim. The hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day, according to Jim Beach of the group. He can be reached at 714/999-3610.

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