Removing An Intact Piece Of Drywall

Removing An Intact Piece Of DrywallYou’ll sometimes find that you need to open a section of wall to make some sort of repair, for example by replacing a section of broken pipe or faulty wiring. To save yourself a lot of repair work and patching time later on it is helpful to be able to preserve the section of drywall and then just put it back in once the work is finished – this is also handy if you’ve got texturing which is tricky to replicate, so you don’t end up with an obviously replaced patch on your wall. It is also a lot quicker and easier to patch joints and fastener holes than to try and blend an entire section into the rest of the wall!

There are two scenarios you’ll typically run into when attempting this; either a section of wall will be in between two studs or it will be wider than a single stud bay.

Section of Wall Between Two Studs

Locate the position of the studs and then cut the drywall just inside them. To stop the drywall falling down into the stud bay it can be helpful to pop a screw partially into the drywall section to use as a handle of sorts. Keep your cuts shallow to avoid damaging unexpected wires or pipes – about 5/8 of an inch thick will do it in most cases. If you’re not happy doing this with a drywall saw try a razor knife instead to make sure you don’t cut too deep. This is also helpful for cutting through the outer paper coat without tearing and losing a clean edge.

While you can cut down the centre of the stud – and some people prefer this so they have something to fasten the section back onto afterwards – this leaves only a very small section for fasteners and you often find that you have to fasten up the bit you didn’t remove as well as the section you did! It is far easier to nail a small section of two by four to the existing ones and then use that to refasten the section instead.

Section Larger Than Single Stud Bay

The best approach here is normally to make all the initial (shallow) cuts and then very gently flex the section of wallboard. This causes the screws and nails to show up through the finish so they can be easily located and removed, preserving the section and only necessitating small patches for the fastener holes. It doesn’t always work though – in which case you need to carefully pry the drywall away to pull the fastener through from the back. If that doesn’t work either (or the section is just too big) you can instead cut each section from its stud bay and leave the narrow strips fastened to the studs, then replace in the same way as for the section of wall between two studs.

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