Owning your own home brings a lot of benefits, like extra privacy and decorating freedom. It also comes with a host of major and minor repair projects.
Most people expect major repairs at some point, like roof replacement or HVAC system replacement. Brave souls take on minor repairs like leaky faucets and clogged garbage disposals as a DIY project.
Yet, there are a host of in-between-sized projects that homeowners often don’t expect. One example is the almost inevitable drywall repair.
If you need a drywall repair or just want some preparation for the cost of drywall repair, keep reading. We’ll cover drywall basics, common causes for repair, and some average costs.
What Is Drywall?
Drywall has one main ingredient. It’s a mineral called gypsum that’s composed almost entirely of calcium. Gypsum has two key benefits in terms of making a building material.
Gypsum is a natural non-toxic material. It’s also a common material mined all over the world.
The actual composition of drywall is equally straightforward. The gypsum gets ground down into a very fine powder. The manufacturer mixes the gypsum powder with water.
As the slurry dries, it will take a form. In the case of drywall, these are large, comparatively thin sheets of material. Common drywall sizes include 1/4 and 1/2-inch thick.
The sheets get wrapped in paper. In most cases, one side gets a relatively smooth paper wrap, while the other side gets a rougher paper wrap. The smooth side, typically white, is the side that faces into a room.
How Common Is Drywall?
Drywall is one of the most common building materials in use. It is found in around 96 percent of all new residential construction.
A big part of drywall’s popularity is that is relatively inexpensive compared with other building materials. Drywall cost is often as little as a third the cost of similarly sized plywood.
That makes it an economical building material. It’s also a known quantity for builders.
Builders know exactly what it is and how you install it in a room. Plus, you can use it for both walls and ceilings. That versatility can simplify construction planning and reduce overall costs.
It’s also a widely-used option because it takes paint readily. The smooth white surface allows for the application of primer and paint with relatively basic preparations.
The most common prep work is covering screw holes and smoothing joints with joint compounds. After that, you sand the joint compound. With the sanding complete, the walls are ready for paint.
Dealing with a known material is also a time-saver for everyone involved. There is no learning curve to overcome with drywall.
You can even get specialty drywall for bathrooms that has some mold and mildew resistance.
Common Causes for Drywall Repair
Drywall is a fairly sturdy material, but it’s not indestructible by any stretch of the imagination. There are many potential reasons why your drywall might need repair. Some of the more common reasons are covered below:
Sudden impacts are one of the most likely reasons you’ll need drywall services. One of the most common culprits for this damage is a poorly aimed hammer blow.
You typically get this while trying to hang artwork or pictures on a wall. You may misjudge where the stud is behind the drywall or simply get distracted.
Another common reason for impact holes in drywall is the doorknob hole. In many homes, you’ll find spring door stops that keep the door from impacting the wall. If that spring stop gets removed, though, pushing open a door too hard can punch the doorknob straight through the drywall.
Another very common problem with drywall, particularly in older homes, is cracks. Drywall goes up with dimensions that are very, very close to the dimensions of the wall.
As your home settles over time, it can put pressure on that drywall. You commonly find these cracks around doors or window frames.
An all too common problem that afflicts drywall is water damage. You can get water damage from several common sources, including:
- Roof leaks
- Plumbing problems
Drywall is particularly sensitive to water. You may see damage as staining, swelling, or even mold growth. Mold and mildew growth are especially common forms of drywall damage after flooding in a home.
Other types of damage you might see include small holes from someone hanging artwork, corner bead damage, or furniture scuffs.
As a general rule, you’ll want to look for local drywall repair experts for most of these problems.
Cost of Drywall Repair
Unlike so many services, there are few hard and fast rules when it comes to drywall repair costs. As a very general guide, you can expect the costs to run in the $300 to $900 range for smaller repairs.
However, costs can vary significantly depending on the specific repairs. For example, some drywall contractors might charge a flat rate for fixing small holes.
The same contractor will almost certainly develop a quote that includes labor and materials for a more complex ceiling repair. Water damage repairs may cost more because only some contractors deal with mold remediation.
Location and Cost
Your location will also affect the overall cost of drywall repairs. A repair service located in Atlanta, Georgia incurs higher operating costs than a similar service in a more rural location. Those higher operating costs typically translate into higher overall repair costs for customers.
Drywall Repair Costs and You
Pretty much any homeowner will come up against the need for drywall repair at some point. Maybe you put a hole in the wall hanging a painting. Maybe a pipe bursts and soaks one of your walls.
In terms of the cost of drywall repair, it will largely depend on what repair you need. As a general rule, small hole repairs in a wall will cost you less. Large-scale removal and replacement will cost you more.
Looking for more home improvement or home maintenance tips? Check out some more posts over in our Home Guide and Home Tips sections.