The prevailing sentiment in the household was that I should get off my duff and fix the drywall. I was pretty tired of looking at the hole in my wall. I’m sure Michael liked the state of his bathroom even less. I wasn’t in a big hurry, though, for two reasons. First, I wanted to let it get some airflow for a while before I fixed it. And, second, I’ve never done any drywall work before.
Another concern was logistical: how to get a sheet of drywall home. If it was plywood, I could have it cut at the store. I don’t know if they’ll cut a sheet for me.
I took one of the scraps from Levi’s quack surgery on my wall to be sure to get the right size. I was pleased to find they sell 2×2 sheets of drywall for patches. Great! I bought four. It’s not an ideal situation. I’d rather have two 2’x4′ sheets. Studs are 16″ on center, so a fair amount of waste is guaranteed.
I spent about a hundred bucks at Home Despot for materials, supplies, and tools. I bought a 3-pack of blades for the oscillating saw. I only need one for the repair, so we’ll say $75 for the repair. I bought paint several days later which brings the total back up to a hundred.
When I finally got up my nerve to take the saw to my wall, I headed up to my bathroom. There are two small holes and a few other incisions below them, going lower than the top of the air register. I wanted to cut well above the top of the register. I figured my best bet was to clean the cuts, sand them down, and just cover them with joint compound.
Where the two holes are, I cut back a hole from nearly the shower to the next stud, and about six inches high. I cut a patch and after some trimming got it to fit without any significant gaps. The oscillating saw cut through the drywall like butter. With the patch screwed in, the surface of the wall stood slightly proud of it. I didn’t think it would be an issue once I taped it up.
Michael’s bathroom was a much bigger job. Undamaged, the ceiling is a complicated shape. Not terribly complicated, but not a rectangle. And the damage was irregularly shaped, too. I spent a few minutes deciding how to use my material with the minimum waste and most efficient cuts. Measure twice, cut once how many times?
In the end, I think I did a pretty decent job of putting that puzzle together. It certainly would have been easier with bigger sheets. Given the number of seams I ended up with, I was happy that none had the same issue as my first patch: all my seams were nice and flat.
I sanded all the finished sides of the seams, taped all the seams, hit the few screws that weren’t on the seams with a bit of joint compound. The patch in my bathroom is not good. I slapped quite a bit of joint compound where it wasn’t flat. It’s not pretty. In retrospect, I should have made the patch bigger. I could have made it two inches taller without causing any more scrap.
The last task, the one that I was most skeptical of my ability to do, was adding the texture. I got a sponge pretty wet and buttered it with a thin layer of joint compound. I dabbed the sponge against the wall and applied more compound as required. It doesn’t quite match the original, but it’s not bad. I got a bit better by the time I was done. I also had run out of compound, so I couldn’t improve some of my earlier efforts.
A week or so later, I painted. I used a little 4″ roller and a brush. I thought the 12″ roller would be overkill. The paint isn’t an exact match. It’s the “pure white” semi-gloss from Glidden. The day after I painted, I found an old paint can. It turns out I used Behr before so that accounts for the slight difference.
Overall, I’m not unhappy with the outcome. That’s because I have low standards. The patch in my bathroom looks bad. If it annoys me too much, I suppose I could cut it out and redo it. I don’t think I can make it any worse. On the other hand, this was my first time working with drywall and I learned some things. The next time I find myself needing to do this, I’ll do a better job.
I have one item on the punch list. Before this all started, the valve to the outside hose bib was accessed through a round hole covered by a disk-shaped plate. I want to make the hole a bit bigger and put a better access cover on it.
Finally, the leak did have one more effect. The reader will recall that the leak was behind the range. Perhaps the same day Ralph identified the problem, I noticed that the hardwood flooring in the kitchen is damaged. I have no idea how long it was leaking before we saw water downstairs. I suspect it could have been several days. In that time, water has wicked up the grain as far as about three and a half feet from the wall.