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How to Repair Wrinkled Drywall

Kevin McDermott

If you've noticed a wrinkled texture in an area of your wall, it's most likely a problem with the tape used at the seam. Drywall is hung in sheets with the seams between them ``taped'' with joint compound (plaster) and drywall tape.

Mesh tape sticks directly to the wall, but paper tape must be embedded in plaster, which is more complicated. If it isn't initially done right—or if it gets wet later—the paper tape can start to rise to the surface. Pulling it off and re-taping with mesh is the best solution.

  1. Scrape your putty knife forward over the wrinkled part of the drywall, knocking off the plaster and revealing the paper drywall tape underneath. Once you've found the edge of the tape, run your razor knife over it sideways, not cutting deeply into the drywall but just gently scraping away the plaster at the borders of the tape.

  2. Grab the tape, and pull it off gradually as you scrape away the plaster with your razor knife. Once the tape is all off, scrape the whole area with your putty knife again to remove any remaining plaster. You should see the exposed line of the drywall seam in front of you.

  3. Press a strip of mesh drywall tape over the seam, cutting it at the end with your razor knife.

  4. Use your putty knife to apply a line of joint compound over the tape, making the line just a little wider than the tape. Let it dry completely.

  5. Run your drywall sander over the dried joint compound, smoothing it out. With your drywall knife, apply a second layer of compound over the first, making the second layer about 6 or 8 inches wide. Get it flat and smooth. Let it dry.

  6. Sand down the second coat. Apply a third coat, making it 10 to 12 inches wide. Get it very smooth. Let it dry.

  7. Lightly sand the final coat of joint compound. Repaint the wall.

  8. Warning

    Wear a dust mask when sanding the joint compound.