Friday, December 15, 2006

Drywall repair

James put another hole in the wall, right next to the previous one I'd already repaired. I think this has weakened the wall so much, a patch won't do it - I have to take out a square of drywall and replace it. So now I have to teach myself how to do drywall repair. Does anyone have any advice, and can you recommend any books (with pictures) that will give me clear, easy-to-understand instructions on how to do this? I'm sure I can do it, I just need to learn quickly. I'll start with fixing a hole in the basement wall. It's not James-related; we had to open the wall one winter when the pipes froze, and since it was in the laundry room and nobody would see it I just never bothered to fix it. Now I'll do it as a practice piece, before I do the repair job in the front hall.


Blogger Mark Windsor said...

It's really not that bad.

Have you considered just cutting a bigger hole and trying to replace enough to span a few 2x4s? It might be possible, and then you don't have to replace a whole drywall sheet. I had to do that a couple of times. You cut the original hole bigger with a keyhole saw. You have to make sure that the new hole covers a couple of studs to allow the new piece to screw in nice and tight.

Either way, make sure you cut the new piece to fit tightly into the old spot. That makes it easier with the joint compound. The smaller the space, the better.

Lastly, you can wrap the child and playthings in pillows and secure them with duct tape...thus preventing a reoccurance.

1:21 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

mark: I think that might work. I got out my stud finder, and discovered that there are quite a few 2x4 behind that wall, because it's between the kitchen and a closet, so there should be 2 at least to fasten the drywall to. I think I'll try that, but I'm going to test it out in the basement first. If it isn't smooth, it doesn't matter so much down there.

2:28 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Oh, I had a great idea this morning before getting out of bed! When I take out the damaged drywall to expose the 2x4 behind, I think I'll insert several short lengths of 2x4s crosswise between them, to strengthen the wall behind the new drywall. It won't add any stress to the existing supports, and it will reduce the amount of hollow space behind the wall. So if James tries this again, he'll be more likely to encounter a solid object, or at least the hole will be a small one.

8:54 am  
Blogger Kasia said...

I know just a biscuit over nothing about drywall repair, so I'll not chime in on that one. However, at risk of sounding evil and heartless, maybe if James hits that solid 2x4 once he'll be less inclined to repeat the experience. Having broken boards myself, I've got to admit it's a satisfying experience to have your hand go through something solid, so there's no real incentive right now for him to stop punching walls. However, depending on how strong he and the 2x4s both are, I might be concerned about him breaking his hand...

9:50 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

That's good of you to think, but I doubt he'd go so far to to break his hand. I think you're exactly right; he knows just how great it feels to put a hole in the wall. And furthermore, he knows that it's SURE to get attention and produce a response, and autistic children are very driven by that sort of motive. "Negative reinforcement", we call it - it produces running parents, lectures, gesticulating, etc., but as far as he's concerned, IT'S ALL GOOD. He's in control, and we're reacting. He's very smart about knowing just how far to go in order not to damage himself; besides, he hits with the ball of his hand, not his fist, so I think that that would be unlikely to cause an injury.

11:40 am  
Blogger Mark Windsor said...

There is another way to reinforce the wall, but it's a bit extreme. I've heard of it being done effecitvely...not to stop a kid but to stop a door knob.

If you get a sheet of heavy aluminum or galvinized steel, you can put that behind the wall board. You have to use special screws to get through the steel, but it will work.

Then, should there be another "incident", you just patch up the dent in the wall board with some joint compound and repaint.

I've seen this used where door knobs are perpetually hitting a wall and knocking a hole in it. If it works, it's great. If it doesn't, well, best of luck with that.

11:58 am  

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