How to repair drywall paper tears

Written by nick davis
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How to repair drywall paper tears
It's possible to repair outer paper tears and other drywall problems. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A material found in residential and commercial structures, drywall is a type of wallboard that contains multiple layers and is repairable. The wallboard is also durable, inexpensive and contains an outer paper covering that accepts joint compound and paint. The outer paper is susceptible to tears and rips, especially when removing wallpaper, adhesive-backed pictures, cellophane tape and other objects from the drywall. It's possible to repair the drywall's outer paper without having to replace the piece of drywall.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Plastic sheeting or dust sheet
  • Utility knife
  • Safety goggles
  • Nose mask
  • Trash bag or can
  • Sandpaper, 80-grit and 200-grit
  • Soft cloth or rag
  • Paint brush, medium
  • Latex primer/sealer
  • Drywall joint tape (mesh tape), self-adhesive
  • Taping knife
  • Drywall joint compound
  • Sanding block with 80- or 200-grit sandpaper (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place a piece of plastic sheeting or a dust sheet below the area of drywall you need to repair. Use a utility knife to cut any loose, jagged or torn pieces of outer paper from the drywall. Wear safety goggles and a nose mask to keep any drywall particles from entering your eyes or nose.

    Dispose of the pieces of outer paper in a trash bag or can.

  2. 2

    Sand the outer paper area with a piece of 80-grit sandpaper until the area is smooth. Wipe the area with a soft cloth or rag to remove any sanding dust.

  3. 3

    Use a medium-size paintbrush to apply one coat of a latex primer/sealer to the outer paper area. The latex primer/sealer will seal down and protect the area and the drywall's second layer. Let the primer/sealer dry for the time recommended by the manufacturer.

  4. 4

    Cut pieces of self-adhesive drywall joint tape (mesh tape) to fit the area needing repair. Cover the entire area with tape, if you're repairing a large tear. If you're repairing a small tear, place the tape so the areas needing repair are centred beneath the tape.

  5. 5

    Use a taping knife, at a 45-degree angle, to apply three coats of drywall joint compound to the tape. Let the compound dry between coats and remove any excess joint compound before it dries. The compound must cover the drywall joint tape completely.

  6. 6

    Sand the repaired area with a piece of 200-grit sandpaper until the area is smooth. Wipe the area with a soft cloth or rag to remove any sanding dust.

  7. 7

    Use a medium-size paintbrush to apply one coat of a latex primer/sealer to the repaired area. Let the primer/sealer dry for the time recommended on its container before applying paint or another finish.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also sand the unrepaired and repaired areas using a sanding block containing 80- or 200-grit sandpaper to speed up the sanding process.

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