I came across a blog post on Reddit, where someone received a quote for $450 to repair to drywall holes. The post is titled “Is this a fair estimate to repair? Should I just do it myself.” and you can read it here on reddit. They felt the estimate was high, so I decided to answer that person from a contractors perspective. This blog consists of my response to this person, and answers the question of how to repair drywall holes and I go over the drywall repair costs to give context.
Drywall Repair Costs – Item List
Let me first list the items needed for this repair: (After tax prices)
Patching knife x2 ($25)
120-grit sandpaper (You might have one)
Carpenter’s knife (You might have one)
Drywall ($8 for 2ft x 2ft or $15 for 4 x 8ft)
Drywall supports ($7 for clips, $0 if you have have wood pieces)
Drop cloth ($11)
Dust mask (You probably have one)
Drill (You probably have one)
Painters plastic ($27)
Painters tape ($9)
Joint compound ($17)
Drywall tape ($9)
Drywall screws ($9)
Quarter of paint per color ($16 each)
Pro tip: Upgrade your paint to a paint and primer so you won’t have to buy a separate primer.
Materials cost for DIY = $160+
(Contractors can reuse some of these products of course)
How to Repair Drywall Hole?
- Cover floors and furniture and prepare area (more furnishing = more time. Ceilings require even more containment with plastics). You have two sites, so the prep time and clean up is doubled.
- Drywall support install, drywall cutout to fit, drywall taping, apply base layer of plaster
- 2nd layer of plaster and dry
- 3rd layer of plaster and dry
- Sanding and apply wall texture to match your wall and dry
- Apply primer to seal the plaster and texture and dry
- First coat of finish paint and dry
- Final top coat
- Clean up the debris, and tidy up the area.
How Long Does it Take to Repair Drywall?
To do this job right, I would need to plan for around 6 hours. To do this job extremely well, I will need two days so I can let the compound dry over night, but would blow the budget, so I would implement some dryers to speed up the process. This is not including the home depot run that I need to do in order to pick up paint and supplies.
A licensed professional painter would charge a minimum rate that would certainly exceed $450 since they would require blocking out a full day of work for this project. If the drywall repair is added along with let’s say painting the full interior of the house, then $450 as an add-on will be okay.
A handyman service would likely offer to do a project like this for $450, and would be your best bet if you’re looking to pay in this price range. They would also take a minimum of 6 hours or more.
To do this job DIY, you will need to add several hours of researching and watching youtube videos, then spend a few hours driving to home depot to procure the materials I listed above. Then you will need to actually carry out the task, and depending on your skill level, you will likely double the time I stated or more to get a good outcome. The drywall setting, patching, a texturizing are all skills that develop over many drywall patches and will not be easy to implement if it is your first time.
With that said, it’s not rocket science, and drywall patching DIY can certainly can be accomplished with a some patience. I am not trying to talk anyone out of DIY, I just want to establish that $450 isn’t over priced if you’re hiring a licensed and skilled contractor. That’s about $75 per hour. As I mentioned above, some painting companies may not even service a job this small for that price.
You’re also paying a contractor so that a good result is guaranteed. I’m sure we’ve all seen bad patch jobs… then you have to look at that thing for years to come, because you’ll be too lazy to repair it. Fixing mistakes takes way more time than doing the job right the first time.
After considering a contractors point of view, and looking at the economics, surely $450 sounds reasonable. The proposed $200 by the home owner is not reasonable in my opinion, and would likely result in poor workmanship from someone who took the job without understanding what a drywall repair actually requires.
Pro Tip #2: Dry time is crucial and moving onto to the next step before allowing the plaster or texture or paint to fully dry will ruin the finish. For example, if you try sanding and the plaster is not fully dry beneath the surface level… it will cave in. You will need to redo the plaster, which will set you back a couple of steps. I’ve made this mistake several times as a journeyman.
*Lowe’s recommends allowing the patched area to dry for 24 hours, (which would make this a two day job, and increase the costs a lot more.) If you’re doing DIY allowing 24 hours of drying for the first plaster is optimal because it allows the plaster to fully harden all the way to the inside. If i’m working on a house for 2 or more days, I will usually let all plaster work dry overnight. (https://www.lowes.com/n/how-to/patch-and-repair-drywall)
Home Depot’s DIY Article states that drywall difficulty is “Beginner” and duration is “Under 2 hours”… At 3:55 of the provided video tutorial the narrator says “Allow it to dry overnight” 😂 If you watch the video, you should quickly realize that it will not take under 2 hours to do this task. Also the man starts sanding heavily without a dust mask (not recommended), and you can tell by his technique, he’s done quite a bit of drywall repairs (it’s all in the wrist). The article can be found on Home Depot’s site here.
Thanks for reading!
Jason the Painter