How to Repair Cracks and Holes in Your Walls

Painting over cracks and holes won’t make them disappear—and may even make them more noticeable—so it is important to fix imperfections before you start painting. Here are some basic steps. If you haven’t done so, cover the furniture and floors with a drop cloth to protect against dust and debris.

Before you add filler to minor or hairline cracks:

1. Use a utility or putty knife to widen the crack and remove any loose material.

2. Create a trench that is deeper and slightly larger than the crack.

3. For long cracks, remove the plaster or sheet rock material at intervals to help the filler hold.

4. For small holes, use a utility or putty knife to dig out the hole and make the inside of the hole bigger than the outside. This is to provide space for the filler and to help prevent it from falling out of the hole or crack.

5. Where sheetrock nails have popped up, countersink the nail pops with a hammer. The indentation left by the hammer head can be easily filled.

6. Brush or vacuum to remove dust and debris, and wipe the area with a damp cloth.
For best results, ALWAYS READ THE PAINT CAN LABEL. Professionals read the paint can labels to get the paint manufacturers’ most up-to-date information and instructions on the use of each specific paint. Every paint is different, and the labels provide important information, such as the average coverage area per gallon, drying times, number of coats needed, and surface preparation requirements. The labels also give specific safety information that should be carefully adhered to.

7. Use spackle or joint compound as filler, applied with a small, flexible putty knife for small areas, or a bigger one for large areas.

8. For a smoother finish, spread thin layers of filler rather than one thick layer.

9. Add as many layers as necessary, making sure that each layer is dry before adding another.

10. After the layers of filler are completely dry, lightly sand as needed with fine-grade sandpaper to smooth and blend the repair with the wall surface.

11. Wipe any dust from the wall with a clean cotton cloth before you start to prime or paint.

12. Prime all repaired areas to help seal the filler and to help prevent the filler from absorbing paint.

Drywall Repair Tips

To fix small holes in your drywall, clean the holes and dampen them with a sponge. Fill the holes with the professional’s formula for success. “Henry” Patch & Go, Multipurpose repair patch, using a narrow putty knife. You can also use patching plaster to fill the holes. Let the spackling compound dry, prime, and paint to match the rest of the wall.

Some large holes in wallboard can be patched with precut, adhesive wallboard patches. You may need to widen the hole so that the patch can fit. After you have popped it in, cover the seams and the patch with joint compound, according to label directions, then prime with a wallboard primer and paint the surface.

To fix nails that have popped from drywall, make sure the panel is secured to the studs above and below the nail. Hammer the nail in and dimple the nail; drive in and dimple a nail of the same size right next to it to hold it in. Use joint compound to cover the nails. When that has dried, sand the area, prime, and paint.


Painting tips & tricks

Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easily.

To keep white paint from yellowing, add 2 drops of black paint to each Gallon of white.

When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.

An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.

When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.

To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.

Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.

To remove lumps from paint: Cut a piece of screen to fit the inside of the paint can. Set it on top of the paint and let it float down to the bottom of the can. It will take all the lumps with it, trapping them at the bottom of the can.

When painting a room, dip a small card into the paint so that you have the exact colour with you and can match accessories in store.

When painting inside corners, trim the paint brush bristles to a V to save strokes and spread paint more easily.

When you poke a paint brush into corners or allow it to rest on the bottom of the paint can, the bristles curl and stray. To straighten natural bristles (not synthetics), try wrapping the brush in a couple of thicknesses of damp cloth and press gently with an iron. The steam and cloth binding do the job. Only light pressure is needed. Let the bristles cool before you unwrap the brush.

When painting old woodwork fill in the holes or cracks with a mixture of flour and some of the paint you are using. It hardens like cement and matches perfectly.

Repair drywall and eliminate nail pops

First, the best method to fix your existing nail pops is to make sure that the head of the nail or screw is recessed about 1/32 inch. If it is sticking up, do not drive it too deep or you will break through the paper surface. If you do, the drywall will be severely weakened.

Next spread a little spackling compound over the nail pop area. Let it dry and then sand it down. Lay a straight edge over it to make sure that it is not too high. A slightly raised spot is better than making it too shallow. Let it dry thoroughly because the compound will shrink a little.

Paint the repaired area with drywall primer. Paint an area larger than the fixed spot so that the larger area will absorb the finished coat uniformly. This will make it almost impossible to detect that a repair was made to the wall.

The problem of nail pops can be caused by either improper drywall installation procedures by your builder or by damp lumber. Although lumber is supposedly kiln-dried, it can pick up moisture over time, especially if it has been out in the rain for a while.

Wall studs, which the drywall is nailed or screwed to, shrink as they dry. Unfortunately, they shrink the greatest amount (due to the orientation of the grain) in its depth dimension (nominal 4 inches).

If the drywall is nailed against damp wall studs and the studs shrink just a little as they dry, a tiny gap can form between the drywall and the stud. It doesn’t take much. If the drywall is bumped and pushed back against the stud, the nail head causes it to pop.

The best method to minimize nail pops is to use properly dried lumber. Since your project is a room addition, store the lumber in your garage, out of the rain, until it is used. If possible delay your construction until the weather is reasonably warm, but not during high humidity months.

Inspect the lumber as each piece is used because alignment of the lumber is important to make sure that the drywall makes good contact with it. Your builder can use any bowed studs in other areas so it is not wasted.

Make certain that proper drywall nails and screws are used and they are of the proper length. These are different than ordinary fasteners. Drywall fasteners have specially shaped heads so that they do not tear the paper when they are recessed. For 1/2-inch drywall, 1 1/4-inch angular ring shanked drywall nails work well.

If possible, have your builder wait a while to install the drywall after the wall framing is complete and the room is closed in. The longer you can wait, the better it is. This allows time for the framing lumber to dry and for the moisture content of all the pieces to stabilize.

The spacing of the screws and nails is equally important to minimize future nail pops and other problems. The maximum spacing for fasteners on drywall used for the ceiling is 12 inches on centers. This means that a four–foot wide panel should have at least five fasteners. For wall panels, the fasteners can be 16 inches on centers.

Concrete crack repair

Painting tips & tricks

Concrete crack repair

First determine if the crack is severe enough to repair.

If only a hairline crack, my recommendation is to leave it as is, since patching will only make it look worse.

If the crack is 1/8” or greater, the following would be the best remedy.

Note: If the crack has been caused by unstable substrate under the slab from poor compaction, my recommendation would be to have a slab jacking service (if available) come to your rescue and stabilize the slab before repair-

Clean entire surface using T.S.P General Household Cleaner, or a suitable exterior cleaning solution.

Tuck into crevice a foam backing rod (available in 1/8, 1/4” – 3” diameters) setting it down into the crack ½” from the surface.

Apply Weldbond or concrete adhesive over foam backing rod. Allow to cure for 1-2 hours.

Apply polyurethane caulking (gray or concrete colour) into crack crevice.

Sprinkle dry sand over caulking and brush excess off using a paintbrush.

Allow to cure for 12 hours before using area.

Choices for Wood Siding

Exterior wood siding can be painted or stained. There is a wide array of products available in both mediums. I prefer an alkyd (oil base) primer for bare wood, the top coat would vary depending on the look desired.

Primer is not required under stain except solid color stain that is white or another light color.

For repainting, primer is only required for areas where the preparation steps brought you down to bare wood, or where stain killer is needed due to mildew or water damage.

Stains for wood come in several degrees of transparency. Semi-transparent stains are useful for letting the wood grain show through, that can be a very nice look over cedar shingles.

Painting Tips – Cleaning Up

If you are planning to continue the work the next day, just keep the paint and roller in the paint tray and cover with a tray lid or cellophane. The next morning run the brush or roller over a newspaper a few times and it will be ready to use.
After the job is completed wash the rollers and brushes and paint tray with water. Do not use a spinning tool to clean brushes as this will make your brush flare. Wrap the clean brushes and rollers with newspaper and secure with a rubber band. Store the brushes flat or hang them on hooks.
Excess paint can be stored in the can. If you have no further use for the paint donate it to a charitable institute or in the case of water based paint pour over shredded newspaper or cat litter and throw the paper or cat litter in the trash. If it is oil based paint it cannot be thrown as it is considered a hazardous substance. Make enquiries with you local council as to the best way to dispose of it.

Cleaning Wood Window Frames

If painted, use a solution of mild detergent and water, or a mild commercial cleaner whose label says it is safe for painted surfaces. Always rinse off solution.
Wipe off excess water with a dry cloth. Do not use strong cleaners or scouring powder as these will damage the paint. If you plan to clean window frames, do it before cleaning window glass so solution does not spot glass panes. If natural-finished, vacuum or dust regularly. Clean infrequently, only when really needed. Use a commercial wood cleaning product or cleaning wax whose label recommends use on natural wood finishes.

Color choices for faux finishes

Color tips for techniques:

When using colorwashing, sponging or dragging techniques

A pastel cover of an off-white background will produce a fresh, cheery effect.

A dark color over a light background will give a bold, dramatic look.

Slight variations of the same color will give the surface a feeling of depth.

Common Exterior Uses of Caulk

Filling in the gap between a window and the molding (brick mold) around it.

Filling in gaps where different surfaces meet (such as a foundation and siding).

Filling in holes in the concrete block of a foundation (use masonry caulk).

Use a putty knife to make sure the caulk bonds to the surfaces around it.

Filling in the gap between a sidewalk and foundation.

Common Interior Uses for caulk

Some Common Interior Uses of Caulk

Prevent moisture from getting into gaps between walls, bathtubs, countertops and sinks.

Filling in gaps where different surfaces meet, such as ceramic tile and baseboard.