Repair Damaged Walls With Tips From Charleston Property Management

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One of the most common damage-repair chores that you might have to do when a tenant moves out of your Charleston rental property is to fix the holes that they negligently (or purposefully) put in the walls. Even when you thoroughly screen your renters; it seems like there are always holes in the walls.

Sometimes, the holes are accidental, caused by furniture and appliances during move-in or move-out. A dresser can do a lot of damage to a poor, defenseless piece of sheet rock in the wrong hands!

Other times, the holes are due to irresponsibility; turns out that unauthorized party was a real rager, and someone ended up with their fist through a wall. Perhaps you even ended up with dents and dings because somebody wasn't paying attention when one of their young children decided to play with a hammer!

Most often, though it's simple thoughtlessnessdespite the fact that your renters signed a lease agreement that you provided when they moved into your Charleston rental property. Maybe your lease specifically forbids your resident from hanging pictures on the wall if it means using nails or screws. Yet somehow, your residents thought they could get away with itno big deal, right?

Now, they've moved out, and the damage has to be repaired during your make-ready Process. If you are going to get your Charleston rental property into acceptable viewing condition for the next round of potential renters, this process also has to take place quickly to avoid losing more of your income to vacancy than is necessary.

punched hole in a wall

It is very little consolation that you can deduct the damage from the previous tenants' security deposit: money or not, there is still the matter of actually performing the repair. It's just too expensive these days to hire a handyman when you are just a small, independent, do-it-yourself investor. This makes acquiring skills for rental property maintenance Charleston properties need essential for keeping your single-family homes and multi-family units in great shape.

You've likely already looked into how much it would cost to manage one rental property's damaged walls repaired! If you haven't, prepare to shell out as much as $340! Just five years ago, that cost was only around $250and expenses are only going to keep rising. That's money in your pocket that could be reinvested into your Charleston rental property.

You've never actually repaired or patched drywall yourself, you might be thinking, 'But how hard can it be, right?' In reality, patching a hole in sheet rock truly IS a simple repairif you know what you're doing. However, the flipside of that is that if you don't know what you're doing, this 'simple' repair can turn into a disaster.

Use this insight from Charleston property management step-by-step to look at how two common jobs should be done properly when you want to repair a hole in the wall of your investment properties.

Getting Started

Most of the tools that you will need to repair the walls in your Charleston rental property should already be in your DIY toolbox. You probably will still have to go shopping for the project supplies. Because this is such a common repair/maintenance chore, it's okay if you buy a little bit more than you need this time but. You'll definitely need all these things again in the future.

dry wall repair kit

For Your Fully-Stocked, 'Drywall Repair Kit'

  • Putty knives (3 inch, 6 inch, and 8 inch widths)
  • Inside-corner knife
  • Utility knife
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Drywall saw
  • Drill
  • Hand sander
  • Hacksaw
  • Nail bar
  • Level
  • C-clamps

Other Miscellaneous Supplies

  • 4' x 8' sheet of drywall
  • Short length scrap board for furring, 1" x 4" or smaller
  • Drywall compound (often known as 'mud')
  • Mesh tape
  • Paper tape
  • Drywall nails and screws
  • Elastic crack coating.

Safety Concerns

If you are not used to working with drywall, you might be surprised to find out how heavy just one sheet is: A 4' x 8' piece of sheet rock weighs more than 54 pounds. While that doesn't sound very heavy, it is heavy enough to tweak your back if you're not careful when you lift itand heavy enough to possibly hurt you if it falls over on top of you. Get help if you need it to manipulate the drywall.

You also have to consider that sanding a piece of drywall will result in airborne gypsum and silica dust, both of which can irritate your lungs. While this isn't medical advice, we do advise you to wear a mask when sanding.

Project #1: Fill in Nail Holes

This very common cosmetic project only takes beginner-level skillbut it does require some attention to detail. If you just try to work too haphazardly, then the end result will show itand the wall(s) will look irregular.

Obviously, having your potential tenants seeing amateurish irregularities when they come to view your Charleston rental property is not something that you want happening.

filling of holes

Step One

  • Using a putty knife, fill in the nail holes with the drywall mud, spreading it as evenly as possible.
  • A good tip is to apply the mud in a cross-shaped pattern and apply two coats, letting the first coat dry before putting on the second.
  • This is necessary, because when the first coat dries, it will shrink and leave a noticeable 'dent' in the wall.

Make sure that you scrape off any excess compound after the application. This will save you considerable time after the second coat dries and you are ready to sand.

sanding wall

Step Two

  • When the second coat is dry, sand the entire surface where the compound was spread, using a fine-grit sanding block or sandpaper.
  • When the surface is completely smooth, you will be ready to prime and paint the wall.

Project #2: Patch a Hole

This is another common problem that you might see in your Charleston rental property after your tenants move out. The skill level on this might be considered low-to-medium, meaning that if you are an experienced do-it-yourself investor, you should have no problem tackling this.

This is the type of repair job that you are going to need to do when someone has knocked or punched a hole (or worse, holes) in the drywall of the home's interior.

a hole in the wall

Step One

  • To make the patch that is going to fill the hole in your wall, you first need to cut a piece of drywall that is slightly bigger than the existing hole.
  • Place the patch over the hole and use a pencil to trace its shape onto the wall (an important note: it needs to completely cover the entire hole).
  • Using the utility knife or the drywall saw, carefully cut out the damaged wall section, according to the stencil that you made from the patch.

IMPORTANT: Take extra care when you cut near wires or outlets. If the cavity between your interior walls is thin, make sure that you do not punch through the other side.

Step Two

drilling the wall

  • Cut furring strips from the scrap board, making them slightly wider than the hole.
  • Place them on the inside of the hole and use the drill to attach them to the inside face of the wall.
  • Make sure about half of the board strips overlap into the opening (this is what you're going to attach your patch to).

Step Three

sealing the patch on the wall

  • Insert the patch into the hole and attach it to the furring strips.
  • Some people like to attach the patch with drywall mud and some people like to use screws. In actuality, there is no reason why you can't use both.
  • Apply mesh tape along the seams between the patch and the hole. Mesh tape has adhesive on the back, which will make it easier to position.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that there are no large gaps around the patch. Because you used the patch as a stencil, that shouldn't be a problem.

Step Four

sealing mesh

  • Apply the drywall mud, making sure to fill out any air pockets in the mesh tape.
  • You may have to apply more than one coat as you try to 'feather' the edges for a smooth transition.
  • Typically, you will start with your largest putty knife and transition to the smaller knives for the fine touches.
  • After the compound has dried, you're ready to sand the area smooth. When the patched area is virtually indistinguishable to the touch, you will be able to apply primer and repaint the wall.

Keeping up with the maintenance and repairs that always seem to pop up in a Charleston rental property may seem like a never-ending battle. In a very real way—it is. Becoming proficient in responding to simple maintenance requests and repair tasks like this will make your job that much easier and save you thousands of dollars in contractor fees over the years. It will also bolster the value of your investment property.

When it's time to complete the property turn and prepare for your next renter, it's worth running a rental analysis on your rental homes to see if you're earning all you could be when it comes to rent collection! Let our experts in Charleston property management run the numbers to ensure you haven't been underpricing your investment property and losing out on valuable income!


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