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Filling Gaps in Drywall When Mudding

bdprops's picture

I have a question for the experienced drywallers out there. How do you fill larger gaps or an area where a piece of drywall broke at an edge during hanging? These would normally be at the edge.

I have seen foam rod backer used, and I have had drywallers tell me to fill the whole gap or chunk with quick setting compund then tape over it.

What's the best way to handle this?

Thanks, Brian

(post #63779, reply #1 of 61)

It depends on the size.  If its more than an inch or two I would put in a drywall patch and then tape and mud.  If you are going to fill a fairly large hole with compound get some of the 30" and just slap it in and then tape and mud a second and third coat to feather it out.  The biggest concern with large gaps or holes is that the mud needs something to back it up.  The foam backer sounds like it would do the job.

(post #63779, reply #2 of 61)

don't use foam backer. you don't want a soft base under a thin layer of joint compound.

fill it in with a quick setting compound and tape it if you want.


carpenter in transition

carpenter in transition

(post #63779, reply #3 of 61)

Durabond. If you can get a piece of rock in, more gooder. Leave it just below flush. Then mud over it.

I'm a pretty good finisher, on account of not being a great hanger. I am forever overcutting a box or knocking out a HVAC hole in the ceiling an inch off where I ought to be. Durabond saves my sanity.

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." - Mark Twain

Real trucks dont have sparkplugs

(post #63779, reply #49 of 61)

What Durabond product? I looked up their website, and they have many products, none of which looked obvious for filling holes.

And Durabond is better than Easy Sand quick setting compound?

Thanks, Brian

(post #63779, reply #50 of 61)

The numbers on the Dura Bond and Easy Sand refer to the working time in minutes.

Easy Sand 5 will go off in the pan very quickly where as Easy Sand 90 will give you about an hour and a half.

As to Dura Bond being better than Easy Sand - depends on your parameters for "better"  Dura Bond sets up much harder / stronger but is more difficult to sand.  Easy Sand is not as structural, but as the name suggests is much easier to sand.

I like to use Dura Bond on first coat putting in corners and seams - making sure not to leave anything too high.   Then use Easy Sand or a premixed compound like Plus 3 for second and third coats.

(post #63779, reply #51 of 61)

So which DuraBond product do you use?

Thanks, Brian

(post #63779, reply #53 of 61)

Mostly I use Dura Bond 90 for putting in corners and first coat on seams.  I ocasionally also use a 20 to run around the room and fill gaps and broken corners before mixing up the 90 for fist coat.

Edited 12/13/2004 11:45 pm ET by Shoeman

(post #63779, reply #54 of 61)

Thanks guys - I've noted all of this down. It will really help in the future.


(post #63779, reply #52 of 61)

You are correct in that they make more than one thing. Generally, the brown paper bag stuff is what most people simply call Durabond. That's at least what I'm referring to. One advantage to the stuff is you can mix it to some extent to the consistancy that you want, so a little thicker for filling voids so it doesn't slump out, or use the short cure time and wait until its almost set and go back over it with a knife to flatten it out.

The Easy sand stuff also works, but it's not quite as hard cured. Though, the advantage of being able to sand off something that does slump out is worth thinking about. In general, hot water can speed the cure time a little, cold can slow it a little, but mixing the stuff with a paddle full of cured mud, now that will get it going. I'm talking you mixed some 90 minute two hours ago, now you're mixing more. The next batch isn't going to go 90 minutes. It doesn't seem to do that if the tools have residue thats fully cured on them - i.e. days old.

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." - Mark Twain

Real trucks dont have sparkplugs

(post #63779, reply #60 of 61)

I think I fall into your catagory too. I wouldn't make it hanging rock but could do the finish work and patching.

More Gooder?

(post #63779, reply #61 of 61)

Yeah. Mo gooder. Like Mo Better. Or . . . ahh. I can't say most of them. They'll get ###-ed.

Real trucks dont have sparkplugs

Real trucks dont have sparkplugs

(post #63779, reply #4 of 61)

Plaster of Paris. fiberglass tape over the plaster of Paris and reg.joint compound over. If you have no backing behind fill the hole with news paper.

Now, how to mix the plaster of Paris is a whole new question.


(post #63779, reply #5 of 61)

You mix plaster of paris by starting with the cold water first poured into the mixing container, maybe an inch or so depending on how much you're going to use.  Start to sprinkle in the plaster lightly so it evenly disperses itself and dissolves.  Keep sprinkling in the plaster till you have about 1/2" of white dry plaster on top then let the water soak into it for a few minutes.  You will start to see it fissure as it is absorbed into the water.  Throw in a little more plaster on top if it shows wetness, let it soak another minute or so.  DO NOT MIX IT until you are ready to use it. When you're ready you can then mix and apply.  Mix it slow like a folding process. If it's still a bit loose keep sprinkling in the plaster till you reach the right consistancy. If you mix plaster of paris this way, you can usually get a 10 to 15 minute work time from it. The trick is not to mix plaster of paris too fast or too soon, and always use cold potable water.  The faster you mix it, or if you use warm water, the quicker the set up time.  Like anything else this just takes plain old practice till you get the feel of it.

(post #63779, reply #6 of 61)

That was my first construction job. Mixing plaster of paris for 2-3 plasterers.

We made the crown moldings in the shop and install them at high rise buildings in GR. 

one trick you may add to your 'instructions" Is the use of basket balls or soccer balls. Cut them in half and use them instead of a mixing container.

This way when the plaster is dry you just turn the half ball inside out and you have a self cleaning mixing ball.

You can do a lot with plaster of paris if you learn how to use it.

Good instructions.





(post #63779, reply #7 of 61)

I worked in a casting shop in NYC for about a year and we did everything from sculpting to running and casting huge cornices, fretwork, and relief work for cathedrals, statehouses etc all over the world.  There are so many different types of plaster for different uses, and now they are coming up with different casting synthetics and compounds that make the castings lighter and stronger.  I know what you're thinking...yeah, foam.  But it's not.  It's still plaster base like stuff.

(post #63779, reply #8 of 61)

I knew it. This instruction's can only come from someone who made living from plaster of paris. I may need your help one day on a crazy idea.


(post #63779, reply #9 of 61)

I'm not going anywhere...

(post #63779, reply #10 of 61)

Thanks. now try to thing how we can dublicate the bluestone look on a 2x4  1/2" thick plaster base materials. And it haves to withstand transpotation and cracks.

Welcome to the EZone.


YCF Dino

(post #63779, reply #12 of 61)

On the wall I take it?

It sounds like a 'stamping' process much in the same way that they do with concrete.  We used to also do a finish called encaustica or marmorino which is actually an ancient troweled on finish using fine marble dust and slaked lime.  It's beautiful and it looks rough with several layers that you seem to look into but it in fact is quite smooth.

If you are going for a textured surface and want it to resemble something like blue stone, you have to research it and also play around with plaster on your own.  Look up Evergreene Paint Studios on Google and follow it to the plaster section.  I used to work for them, in fact I think my ugly face is in one of the pictures of their projects.

(post #63779, reply #14 of 61)

Maybe you know the answer to this.

Someone showed me to mix d-bond with HOT (I mean HOT) water. I mixes easier and smoother.

I do it all the time with fine results. Does not seem to affect set time.

What gives?


I Love A Hand That Meets My Own,

With A Hold That Causes Some Sensation.



"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." — Sherlock Holmes, 1896

(post #63779, reply #15 of 61)

i'd like to offer a general thank you to whomever posted one of the slickest drywall patch tricks i've ever heard of a few months back- 

to patch a hole in an unsupported place, first cut the hole out so it is roughly rectangular then cut a piece of drywall about 2" too big in both dimensions.  flip it over, score and cut away the rock- LEAVING AN INCH WIDE 'FLANGE' IN THE FRONT PAPER FACE around the rest of the rock that fits the hole.  smear a little (too much puckers the paper excessively) mud in and around the hole, slap the patch in, feather it out.  voila! the self-taping, self-supporting patch.  i used this trick three times a few weeks ago and it worked like a dream.


(post #63779, reply #16 of 61)

That's called a "Califorinia patch".  I don't know why the name but I live in the NE and have been doing that for years. It works well.

(post #63779, reply #35 of 61)

Jer, the guy that showed me that tip called it a "hot" patch. I've used it many times without problems.


Warning! Be cautious when taking any framing advice from me. Although I have a lifetime of framing experience, all of it is considered bottom of the barrel by Gabe. I am not to be counted amongst the worst of the worst. If you want real framing information...don't listen to me..just ask Gabe!


keep looking for customers who want to hire  YOU.. all the rest are looking for commodities.. are you  a commodity ?... if you get sucked into "free estimates" and  "soliciting bids"... then you are a commodity... if your operation is set up to compete as a commodity, then have at it..... but be prepared to keep your margins low and your overhead  high...."

From the best of TauntonU.

(post #63779, reply #17 of 61)

Can't really say, but it works with plaster of paris.  I'll have to try the hot water mixing next time I use the D90.  It makes sense that it would mix smoother.

(post #63779, reply #18 of 61)

And the best mix of all for small holes and large openings, as well as veneer plaster application and one coat over fiberglass finish..

The D-plaster mix.

Regular joint compound mix with latex primer and plaster of Paris. What you have here is all in one mix. We use it for many years to prep before taping and to restore entire buildings the EZ way.

One guy was applying the mix with a roller and one guy behind was making the walls smooth or texture by just going over with trowel. When the plaster was getting hard to work we just spray water and making the mix soft again,

Similar to veneer plaster but more forgiving and EZier to apply by anyone with a roller. This thing work like magic plaster,

OK guys. I' just told you the secret to make EZ money. 2-3 guys can restore the walls in a small house in 1-2 days. No demo  $200-$300 materials and you have a job that is worth $6000.00

But you have to put your rrass down and learn the mix.


And this is for Doug.   Use your right hand with LBtrowel.

Edited 12/11/2004 11:25 am ET by YCFriend

(post #63779, reply #22 of 61)

Been doing the plaster of paris mix with jc forever but never tried it with the latex primer.  Makes sense, it would seal it off better.  Learn to use a long plasterer's trowel, practice with it and you go like the wind.

(post #63779, reply #23 of 61)

You don't even have to use the long trowels with the D-mix. You can use one 6'' and one 9'' taping knife to. The good thing is that you can work with the same materials that you already apply on the wall for a longer time.

with joint compound you can't  re-work or re-coat the same materials.

With durabond you need a top coat.

With Veneer plaster you have to be an expert and is a messy job.

With the D-mix you combine all the benefits of all above methods.

Easy to apply and recoat and rework the same materials the same day or hour and when you done you don't have to sand. You can say the EZier to apply veneer plaster?


(post #63779, reply #25 of 61)

Dino, I'm interested in this D-mix your refer to.  I don't do a lot of drywall and have never done plaster, so the more detailed info you can provide the better.

When you mention regular joint compound - you talking a premix like plus 3 or a dry powder like easy sand or something entirely different?

Latex primer - just primer paint like you buy by the gallon off the shelf, or latex primer like you use on concrete that you want to bond more concrete to - or something entirely different?

Plaster of Paris - I assume this is a powder - is that all I ask for when I go looking - Plaster of Paris?

Like I said, all new to me, but willing to learn if you have the patience.  Any brand specific info and approximate ratios to mix would be very helpful.

Thanks in advance,


(post #63779, reply #26 of 61)

P of P is gypsum.

So is guaging plaster, which is what I use with JC.

Are we talking about the same thing here?

Our quarrel with the world is an echo of the endless quarrel within us.  - Eric Hoffer


(post #63779, reply #27 of 61)

A. The best joint compound to use with the D-mx is the premix stuff. (5 gallon buckets) the green or the plus 3.(the plus-3 is even better)

B. Cheap PVA latex primer. (Regular wall primer.)

C. Plaster of Paris. (Regular powder.) 

Like I said, all new to me, but willing to learn if you have the patience.

Me? Is you who need to have the patience.

Start with  a small mix. (10) part joint compound-(2-3) primer and (1) plaster of paris.

First you mix good the joint compound with the primer and when you ready you mix the plaster of paris with the rest. 

You can make small repairs or you can do an entire wall 8x20 with one mix.

After few buckets - bags and can's  and one day in your basement you will be able to make the right mix for the right job.

good luck.



Now,who need's to have the patience?