Hot Topics: Fixing Your Drywall Miscalculations

A roughly spackled-over hole in a new drywall ceiling.

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Hanging your own sheetrock is easy, in theory. It’s also easy to measure, mark and cut the holes for can lights, switches or outlets, and get them just wrong enough to make all the difference. What do you do to fill in the gaps in your math? You turn to the forum.

Original Post: Drywall Questions

drooplug Member

So I got my first sheet of drywall up today. Only took me an hour or two. At any rate, I precut the holes for my recessed lights. I cut them a bit larger for some play, but that didn't work as well as planned. The light has line up against one side of the hole, leaving quit a large gap on the other side. The trim will not cover. Can I repair this with joint compound and some tape?

Highlights from the Thread:

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Yes, but how wide is the gap? It might be better to cut a piece of drywall about an inch or so bigger than the hole, then on the backside of the patch piece cut away everything but the paper except the part that will fit in the hole. You then mud the 3 sides and insert the patch piece like you would tape - makes for a stronger repair.

drooplug Member

It's probably about ½-inch at the widest. It's shaped like a crescent moon. The can light backs up 90 percent of the gap.

The light trim just barely touches the edge of the hole. The biggest problem is fuzzy paper sticking out.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

I'd prefill the hole - doesn't need to be completely filled, just some extra mud to give it strength. Once that's dry shave or sand off any mud that might protrude below the face of the drywall and mud and tape like you normally would.

If it helps, you can cut the radius on the can side of the tape or even make your own using some heavy paper. The art paper the kids use will work although dark colors might bleed thru without a good primer.

drooplug Member

Ok. So I am hoping I will be done installing drywall tomorrow. I picked up ultralight compound. I really don't know the difference between them all except for the weight of it. Is it a durability issue?

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

The all-purpose mud [green lid] is for the initial tape coat - it has better adhesion properties. Any of the other types of mud are fine for the other coats.

czizzi Member

For the patching, I would use durabond. It comes in a powder, you mix your own in the amount you need. It dries quickly and by chemical reaction, not evaporation. It is stronger than joint compound and will allow you to partially fill the void in your light can holes before you apply tape. Wet the tape to help it stick to the compound before it sets up. Regular and Lightweight joint compound are for doing seams only, not for repairs as you have stated.

I have not purchased a large bucket of joint compound in years, but always carry durabond 20 minute on the truck. The more you use it, the easier it is to work with. Here is a link, it is for 45 minute mud as the 20 minute will set up in the pan before you have a chance to get it on the wall. Mix in small batches, only what you can use in a short time. SHEETROCK Brand Easy Sand 45 18 lb. Setting-Type Joint Compound-384210 at The Home Depot

drooplug Member

I am using Ready Patch in the repair areas.

All the versions say they are all purpose. I suppose I'll go out and grab the green lid. Is there any reason not to use that for the whole job? I'd rather stick with one version if I can. I don't want to wind up with several partially used buckets at the end.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

They say the lightweight joint compounds sand a little easier, but there is no reason that you can't use the all-purpose for the entire job. I also like to use durabond for repairs because it speeds up the time it takes, although whenever feasible I like to use regular joint compound for the final coat. Personally, I'd rather apply an extra coat of mud than have to do much sanding. I've never used the “ready patch” so I can't comment on how well it's suited for the job or applies.

drooplug Member

Ready Patch is a repair spackle. Supposed to dry harder with little to no shrinkage. I know years ago a painter liked to use it when he had to lay it on thick. I also read another advice page that recommended spackle to fill large gaps.

I'm hoping not to do much sanding either. But we'll see how well I do with the mud.

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