When Drywall Misses the Stud
David in Maine, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
DAVID: Well, I’ve got a problem with some wallboard. A crack in my drywall is pretty much from the top to the bottom; pretty much in a straight line, vertically.
TOM: OK. Is that over a seam, David?
DAVID: That’s what I found out. Yes, it was over a seam (Leslie chuckles) and it was over a 2×4.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright, yes. How about that?
DAVID: And unfortunately, when I took a utility knife and started carving it up to make a V-shaped profile I found out that one side of the – it was over a 2×4 and one of the wallboards – one piece of the wallboard was basically floating.
TOM: (laughs) OK.
DAVID: But my question is: is there some easy or cost-effective way, other than just replacing the whole 4×8 sheet of wallboard, to fix that or to secure it so that it doesn’t float?
TOM: Hmm. Well, here’s the trick. I mean there are ways to repair that but, essentially, you have to cut a hole in the wall to do that.
TOM: Hmm. I’m wondering if it’s easier to fix one or two. I’m thinking, Leslie, the easiest thing to do here would be for David to essentially go to the stud to the left and to the right of the disconnected drywall, cut out both sides of it so now you’re going to take out a piece – let’s assume that the studs are 16 inches on center. So you take one to the right – so you’re 16 inches to the right; 16 inches to the left – and now you’ve pulled out a piece that’s 32 inches wide. Replace that with a new piece of drywall that’s 32 inches wide. You’ll have two seams to tape instead of one.
TOM: But frankly, it’s not going to be that much more work. Because that one side of drywall is now floating and moving, even if we tell you how to fix that crack …
LESLIE: It’s always going to show up.
TOM: … it’s going to come back fast.
DAVID: (overlapping voices) Always going to crack – come back, yeah.
TOM: So if you’re going to cut the wall out, I mean, we could tell you how to cut it out right near that and slip in some wood blocking and then attach it but, frankly, by the time you do all that the cleanest way to do this is probably to take that whole piece out by going to the left and the right; sort of surgically excise that one piece of drywall, bang in a new piece, tape it, spackle it, be done.
You want to make sure you use perforated drywall tape because it’s a little more forgiving if you don’t quite get the spackling there just right. Two, three coats. Feather it out, prime it, paint it and you’re good to go.
DAVID: That’s the only way?
TOM: That’s the way to do it.
DAVID: (chuckling) OK, good enough. Thanks for your advice.
TOM: You’re welcome, David. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
I think David was looking for the magic potion (Leslie chuckles) that would mysteriously make a stud appear where once there was none.
LESLIE: And I like how he was like doing surgical work on it, too. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah. (chuckles) Exactly. He was digging it out. Well, you know, it was probably stuck together by the piece of tape that was there and once he cut that, all of a sudden it became …
LESLIE: Uh-huh. It started moving.
TOM: It became a floater.