Friday, October 24, 2014

How to Close a Large Opening in Your Wall

A few months ago, I had my half bath demo-ed.  Everything was taken out.  The floor tiles, toilet, medicine cabinet, sink. Everything.

This demolition project left a gaping hole in my wall where the medicine cabinet used to be.

Naturally, I tried to find a medicine cabinet that fit the measurements of the opening and still had the look that I was going for.  After weeks and weeks of looking online and going into big box stores, I gave up.  I mean, the half-bath is so tiny...what would be the purpose of a medicine cabinet anyways? More storage?  Yes, but with very little wiggle room, I didn't ever see anyone using the half-bath as anything other than a "powder room".  Just a room where you pop in, do your business, wash your hands, and then pop out, ya' know?

So, I decided to use a regular, ol' wall-mounted mirror.  But first, I had to close up that opening and this is how I did it:

Supplies needed:

  • Joint compound
  • Compound knives:  4" and 10"
  • Dry-wall tape
  • Wood screws (I used 1.5" screws)
  • Dry-wall screws
  • 2x3's or 2x4's
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill (for your screws)

1.  Use 2x3's or 2x4's (whatever suites the area better) to create a frame for your drywall.  I boxed in the opening and used wood screws to attach the new wood pieces to the existing frame.

2.  When screwing in your wood pieces, make sure to leave a gap between the edge of your wood and the edge of the wall so that when you screw your drywall pieces onto the frame you've created, the drywall sits flush against the wall.

I left a 1/2" gap so that when I attached my 1/2"-thick piece of drywall, the drywall sits flush against the wall.

3.  Use drywall screws to attach the drywall to your frame.

4.  Lay drywall tape over the seams.

Side note/ interjection/ funny story:  Can you spot what doesn't belong in the picture above?  Do you see the piece of "tape" at the bottom of the picture that looks thicker than the rest?  Well, that's because it isn't drywall tape.  It's rug-tape.  Yes, the kind of tape you put on the bottom of rugs so they don't slip around on smooth floors.  Did I know it was rug-tape when I put it on the wall?  No.  Did I realize it was rug-tape when I sanded my joint compound and I could still see it's imprint?  No.  So imagine my surprise when I went around the house a few days later looking for my rug-tape only to find it next to my joint compound.  It hit me in slow motion.  I grabbed the roll of rug-tape, looked at the roll, looked at my wall, looked back at the roll, looked back at the wall... "ah shit".  That's right!  I accidentally used rug-tape on my wall and I didn't even realize it until it was all done.  I don't recommend using anything other than dry-wall tape, but this goes to show that mistakes happen and they can always be fixed.  And by fixed, I mean sand the crap out of it until you don't see it anymore then paint over it.  Voila!

Ok.  Back to the directions...

5.  Apply joint compound.  I used a 4" compound knife to apply my pre-mixed joint compound.

As you can see, the application doesn't have to be perfect because it all gets sanded down.  You can also see the piece of rug tape...but let's pretend it's all smooth and pretty.

6.  Let the joint-compound dry.  I made sure to wait overnight.

7.  Sand with a coarser grit sandpaper.  I used 80 grit.

8.  Apply another layer of joint compound using a larger compound knife.  For the second layer I used a 10" compound knife and made sure to blend my joint compound into areas of the wall that were 3"-4" beyond my actual drywall space.  This helps blend the patched hole in with your existing wall.

9.  Wait for the joint compound to dry.

10.  Sand again.  First, with the 80 grit to even out the surface.  Then, with a 200 grit piece of sandpaper to smooth everything out and to make sure the wall looks seamless.

11.   Paint.

As you can see from the picture above, the wall is pretty much seamless.  I mean, aside from the small area where the rug-tape is slightly raised, you wouldn't even be able to tell that there used to be an opening in the wall.  If you didn't know me, that last sentence was just typed with a little bit of a sarcastic tone...rug-tape, rug-tape, rug-tape...why!?!!?!?!  But, not worries!  If you follow these directions (minus the rug-tape), you'd be able to get a seamless finish too!

Have you made any wonky DIY mistakes like I did?  How did it turn out?

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  1. Rug tape! I can imagine you saying, "WHY?!?!".

    1. Yep with a few expletives too! Rug tape...