By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Some of the most vulnerable areas in a house are its walls, especially if they're wallboard made of compressed gypsum and covered with a paper facing. On the outside the material appears solid, but it's really quite fragile if it's struck with a blow. The wall behind a door where there's no doorstop or the wall behind a frequently used chair that's pushed back from the table are high-risk areas where a gouge or dent creates an eyesore that needs repair.
Repairing wallboard is one of those nuisance jobs that contractors don't like because it's a process with several steps: cleaning out the hole, applying patching compound and sanding it smooth. After the first application dries several more coats may be needed to build up the repaired area to be as smooth as the surface surrounding it. For a contractor each of these steps means a return trip to the job site, which translates to considerable travel time to and from the job.
What's bad for a contractor is good for a homeowner who can schedule the repair work more easily. And it's a no-brainer for even a first-time do-it-yourselfer because you'll learn the skill on the job as you practice each application. For $17, the cost of a wallboard repair kit or patching compound, a putty knife and sandpaper, you can do it yourself and save 84 percent compared to paying a contractor $109.
When you’re making any repairs in wallboard, shine a side light to find the imperfections. Use a floor lamp without its shade and a 100-watt bulb about a foot or so away from the wall to locate the rough areas. The sanding process for even a small repair can create quite a bit of dust, so be prepared for a cloud of white dust on all nearby surfaces. And plan additional time to repaint or wallpaper the wall after you've made the repair.
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Now you know the average cost to repair damaged wallboard, which includes the labor and material, and what’s involved, so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor. Don’t forget to adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020