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How to Fix Swollen Drywall

Lisa Wampler

Swollen drywall is often the result of water damage. The water seeps into the drywall and causes it to distort. The best way to repair swollen drywall is to cut out the damaged area and replace it with a drywall patch.

The process might sound complicated, but it's actually relatively simple and does not require a professional drywall installer.

  1. Turn off your electrical circuit breaker for the room to ensure you do not electrocute yourself if you come in contact with an electrical wire.

  2. Cut a square apiece of drywall with a utility knife that measures slightly larger than the affected area. Place the drywall patch over the affected area.

  3. Trace the patch onto the wall with a pencil and then place a mark on the patch to denote the top so you can position it correctly later.

  4. Cut a square hole in the wall with a keyhole saw to cut out the damaged area. Cut shallow with the saw to avoid anything located behind the drywall. Follow the outline you drew on the wall. Once you cut out the hole, you can restore electricity to the room.

  5. Cut two pieces of 1-by2-inch boards at least 4 inches longer than the width of your hole. Use a handsaw to cut the boards.

  6. Place construction-grade adhesive on the face of the board and place the board behind the wall and pull the board tight against the backside of the drywall. Position each board evenly spaced inside the hole.

  7. Drive two drywall screws through each end of the board to secure them to the drywall, using a screwdriver. Countersink the screw slightly into the drywall.

  8. Place the drywall patch into the hole and butt it up against the boards. Secure the drywall patch to the boards with the drywall screws and a screwdriver. Again, countersink the screws.

  9. Cover the joints between the patch and the drywall with drywall putty. Use a drywall putty knife to apply the drywall.

  10. Place a piece of drywall tape over each joint and then press the tape into the putty with the putty knife.

  11. Add a coat of drywall putty over the tape and wait 24 hours for the drywall putty to dry. Do not start working again until the drywall putty is completely white with no gray color.

  12. Apply a second coat of putty over the tape and wait again for it to dry.

  13. Sand the putty flat with the surface of the drywall with a block sander.

  14. Wipe the surface of the wall clean with a tackcloth.

  15. Apply a coat of the same primer and the same paint you used to paint the wall. Use a paint roller to paint the wall. Allow drying time between painting the primer and the paint.