In this week’s episode of “Ask Danny,” I’m chatting with Lydia Crowder, a.k.a Drywall Shorty, about patching holes, texture and more.
About Lydia Crowder
Lydia Crowder is a second-generation drywall contractor with over 20 years in the trade. She owns a contracting business with her husband Ryan, and together they finish over 500,000 square feet of drywall every year.
Lydia has taught a drywall course at MT Copeland and is a weekly contributor to The Build Show network with Matt Risinger. She was featured on the cover of Women in Trade magazine in Summer/Autumn 2021.
How do you repair loose drywall tape on ceilings?
Drywall Shorty: Basically, there are three parts to drywall: the paper face, mud and paper tape. The mud is like glue, so when the adhesion of the mud is missing, the paper won’t stay on.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Remove the loose tape
- Retape everything
- Feather out the joints
What are your thoughts on the canned texture?
Drywall Shorty: It really depends on how big the patch is. If it’s something small, sometimes you can get away with it. Shake it extremely well and do test patches on a piece of scrap drywall before you spray it on the wall. That will give you a feel of how it’s acting, how much texture it’s leaving, and if your spray pattern is correct.
For bigger patches, you’ll need to use a commercial tool, like a Hopper. Spray the new texture further back into the existing texture.
People tend to keep the patch area small because they think if they go bigger it will cause problems. However, it actually catches your eye more if you have a pinpoint spot. Feather it out to get everything to match as best as you can with a sponge.
What’s the most common finish you do?
Drywall Shorty: The swirl texture. We spray on thin, watered-down mud, and take pull trowels and do figure eights on the surface for a swirly pattern.
Do you work with fast-drying drywall mud, and what are your thoughts on it?
Drywall Shorty: Absolutely. Fast-drying drywall mud is good to start out with filling big holes, but when you’re working on texture or the final coat, use a regular box mud.
If you have big gaps, like a doorknob through a wall, you need to fill the hole first before you patch it. This is where fast-drying mud comes in handy. It dries very hard and fast.
Also, something to keep in mind: When you look at the minutes on the bag of fast-drying drywall mud, this is referring to how much working time you have before it sets, it has nothing to do with the hardness of the product.
Dealing with Dust
What do you think about sanding vacuum cleaning setups?
Drywall Shorty: Nothing is 100 percent dust free, but when you’re working in an environment where you need to keep your dust down, that’s your best bet for keeping your dust to a minimum.
Be careful that you’re not using too high of a speed and too low of a grit. We like to use Festool PLANEX 2 electric sander.
You need a good-quality pad on the sanding head. Start with a high grit — it won’t hurt to go over it a couple of extra times. You’re much better off gently sanding than power sanding through it and causing more work for yourself on the backend.
For dealing with dust during a home remodel, regularly check your HVAC system’s air filter, and change it out if you notice more dust accumulation.
What’s the best way to patch a doorknob hole?
Drywall Shorty: It depends on what you have access to.
A hot patch, or California patch, is a great fix for this. Most home centers sell small pieces of drywall, about a 2-by-2-inch square, for this.
However, it won’t be crazy strong, so if it’s a spot that keeps getting hit, you can always screw some backing in there. Take a piece of wood and screw it into the drywall behind the patch so you can have some support.
You can also use snap-off repair clips. Simply Slip clips onto the edge of the damaged wall, screw through the new patch into each repair clip, then snap the tabs off the front. These are great for areas with no backing because the clips create the backing for you.
Drywall Shorty’s Tips
- Start in your garage. Most garages aren’t as finished as the house, so it’s a great place to start practicing and work on your skills.
- Give yourself the freedom to explore: try different tools and techniques
- If you mess up, it’s not the end of the world. You can always sand over your mistakes.