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Repairing drywall cover damage

Drywall cover damage often occurs during the removal of wallpaper, borders, masking tape, clear tape and other glued or adhesive-backed items. Objects that collide with drywall surfaces can also cause cover damage. Damage that tears the drywall cover often exposes the brown paper layers beneath the cover. The brown paper layers are thin and often separate or bubble when exposed to the moisture of applied repair compounds and paint. Drywall cover tears must be repaired correctly to prevent greater surface preparation problems later.


Eye protection, either safety glasses or safety goggles, should always be worn whenever preparing surfaces for paint. Respiratory system protection should be worn whenever you are creating dust or working in a dusty environment. Respiratory system protection should also be worn whenever you are applying solvent-based materials. Eye and respiratory system protection products can be purchased wherever workplace safety equipment is sold.

The repair technique

Begin by removing loose, torn or blistered pieces of drywall, drywall cover or brown paper using a utility knife. Lightly sand the border of the repair with a medium-grit sanding sponge or 80-grit sandpaper. Remove sanding dust with a wiping cloth or towel.

Apply one coat of oil-based primer/sealer or a latex primer/sealer capable of sealing down torn or damaged areas of the drywall cover. Allow drying.

For large, damaged areas, self-adhesive mesh tape can be used to help hold down the edges of the repair. Apply tape so that the edges of torn areas are centered under the tape. For smaller repairs, mesh tape can be placed over the entire repair.

Apply drywall joint compound over the repair area. Two or three coats will be needed to conceal the repar. Allow drying between coats. Sand with a fine-grit sanding sponge. Remove sanding dust with a wiping cloth or towel. Prime and paint.

More detailed coverage of the topic of repairing drywall cover damage can be found in the book

The Homeowner's Guide to Surface Preparation for Interior House Painting, on pages 152-157.


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