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How to Repair Torn Drywall Paper

Posted by on in Wall Treatments
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Don't replace it...FIX IT!



These walls were severely damaged because the prior wallpaper hanger didn't use a wallpaper primer before papering the room.  So when my customer removed the wallpaper, this is what resulted.  If the prior owner would have just simply used a wallpaper primer, these badly damaged walls could have been prevented.

However, there is hope!  Most people replace their drywall when it looks like this, wasting time and money...not to mention the mess it makes!  I  skim coated the walls in this room, painted, and then did a stripe around the whole room.

This is what it what it looked like after resurfacing the walls.

It's as easy as's how to fix severely damaged drywall:

Score all the loose drywall paper around the edges with a sharp snap-knife and then pull the paper off.


  This gives the top drywall paper a clean edge, so it doesn't stick out.

Wearing a proper mask and protective gloves, and goggles, apply DrawtiteDrawtite is specially formulated to seal the wall and seal down damaged and torn drywall paper.  It works better than any product I've ever used.  You can apply it with a roller or brush, depending on much damaged area you are sealing.  If you can't find the Drawtite in your area, you can order here.  If you live in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, I am a distributor, so you can pick some up or we can have it delivered to you.  The Drawtite works wonders and it comes in clear or white.  I usually use clear because it's more forgiving if you get some on the woodwork.

I usually seal all the areas even if it isn't torn just to make sure the walls are protected and won't absorb moisture, especially in bathrooms.

Now, here's how to resurface your walls:

You can either use a premixed mud, or the kind you mix with water, like Durabond or Easy Sand.  These are really handy because you can get the second coat of mud up in one day, because they dry quicker than premixed muds.  But, if you're not in a hurry, I recommend using the pre-mixed drywall mud because you don't have to mix it with water and it has a much longer working time and is much easier to sand when it dries.

Use both 12" and  6" drywall knives, and preferably a mud pan.  You can get all of these supplies at your local home center. 

Using the 6" knife, scoop out a glob of drywall mud.  I like using one of these cool dry wall mud scoop tools.  You end up saving money time and money using one of these.


Start spreading the mud on the wall in thin layers, sort of like icing a cake, overlapping as you go.  Use the 12" knife and spread it out as smoothly and as evenly as you can.

Use smaller putty knives to work around smaller areas.  You can use each knife to scrape the mud off the other one to keep the mud in the middle.  This is important, because as the mud works it way to the edges of the knife, this is when you get heavy line marks of mud on the wall.  Completely keeping lines from appearing is impossible and you can scrap them off or sand them down, or even use a damp sponge to rub them off.  However, I don't usually prefer the sponging method because it dampens the wall and then I have to let it dry before going on.

It's always good to have a bucket of water handy to dip your knives in to keep them from drying out (not necessary with Durabond or Easy Sand). 

Let each coat dry thoroughly.  You will know it is dry when all the mud is the same shade of color.  It will take 1 - 3 coats of drywall mud depending on how badly the wall was damaged.

Sand all the walls until they are smooth.  I recommend using a vacuum sander to keep the dust down.  It is a really cool attachment for your wet and dry vacuum.  You buy sanding screens for it and it really works great.  I also like this better than using just a regular sand paper because it vacuums the dust away, so you can see the wall surface better and know if there are any imperfections that need a little more mud.

Make sure you seal the walls before painting.  You can use the torn drywall sealer you applied earlier, or any good primer made for new drywall.

I remember my first job doing this...I felt like Lucy Ricardo...the walls looked almost like stucco when I got done, but then I sanded them and whalla, I couldn't believe they were so smooth, like new walls.  So, I know anyone can do it!

Hope you enjoyed my blog on "how to fix torn drywall."  You may also want to check out my patented invention the BLADEater® holster.  It has a built-in blade snapper for segmented utility knife blades.

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Mary Kay Hansen is an interior decorator and loves to design and build spaces.  She is also an inventor, and has obtained 3 US utility patents. Her invention, the BLADEater® is a holster with a built-in blade snapper, which has received the Handyman Club Stamp of Approval.

  • Guest
    Problem Solved Saturday, 23 November 2013

    Rhino Shield Nightmare

    Jenn Anderson
    Boston, MA
    I am having l nightmares over the Rhino Shield covering on my house, installed just over three years ago. Large bubbles are in the material that I can slit and hand peel the material, right down to the bare red cedar clapboards, which were also primed with an oil primer and finished with latex paint before the Rhino-Shield was applied. The material has a lifetime guarantee, so when I called several persons, including the owner Rhino Shield they all came over quickly.
    Rhino Shield said that the material was probably put on when the cedar was damp, and thus would strip everything and apply a new primer and finish coat, let dry, then apply new Rhino Shield, adding that there will be no more work till flashing is....
    Read more about my issue here

  • Guest
    Mary Kay Hansen Thursday, 07 May 2015

    Problem Solved

    I read the link and am happy to read that Rhino Shield fixed your problem!

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    Drywall repair aurora Tuesday, 14 January 2014

    Lead Paint Concerns

    A wide variety of lead compounds found in and around homes including paints, pipes, ceramics, gasoline, batteries and cosmetics. Mostly children absorb more lead than adults due to their growing body and their nervous system and brains are more sensitive.
    Thanks for nice review..

  • Guest
    Karla Dearth Monday, 02 March 2015

    Wall Repair

    I wish we read your blog before i painted our patch job. It's all bumpy and looks awful. Is it to late to fix it? My hubby did the patch and i do the paint. Can we sand it all down so we can smooth off the paper and apply your stuff?

  • Guest
    Karla Dearth Monday, 02 March 2015

    How to repair bumpy walls

    I wish i read your blog before i painted my hubby's patch it too late to sand it down and use your base product. It's all bumpy.

  • Guest
    Want a smooth wall Thursday, 07 May 2015

    Bumpy Walls

    I would need to see a picture of what you're talking about. You can send it to
    Because I don't understand what you mean by "so we can smooth off the paper?" Do you mean drywall paper?

Leave your comment

Guest Monday, 20 February 2017

Snap your knife blades fast!

The patented BladeEater® holster snaps blades faster and safer, using only one hand!

 Sample Image


Welcome to my d-i-y Inspiration
blog, where you can find a
wide array of decorating and
building ideas and many "how
to" projects, with detailed
I've been a do-it-yourself lady
since I can remember.  Oh,
it's a lot of work, but the
rewards far outweigh the
I hope d-i-y Inspiration inspires
you with new ideas to help you
with that next craft or design
project.  And, if you're like me,
you just might get inspired  to
Yours truly,
Mary Kay Hansen

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