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Who Dey 03-04-2010 09:23 AM

Removed Chair Rail - Need to Patch
I need a little help in drywall repair prior to painting.

I'm painting my daughter's room and, as she wanted, I removed a chair rail. My problem is two-fold:

1. Where the chair rail was, about every 6 inches, there are two nail holes and some of them are relatively large where the drywall chipped when I removed the rail.

2. The room received several coats of paint over the years when the rail was in place. Now that it's removed, there is a noticeable height difference between the painted walls and underneith the rail.

I don't have any experience with patching anything other than small nail holes. I was thinking of patching the large nail holes with light weight spackle. After drying I will use joint compound to smooth out the surface.

Does that sound like a good approach?

Big N8 03-04-2010 10:20 AM

Do a good sanding around the room and skim coat the area with compound. Then sand again.

Who Dey 03-04-2010 10:41 AM

Thank you very much for the reply.

I'm a complete novice at this, so ...

- I sand and skim coat just the area where the rail was?

- Do I spackle or will the skim coat take care of the nail holes?

- Any special type of joint compound to use?

Windows 03-04-2010 11:38 AM

The key to making this repair a success is using a stiff putty knife or 6-in-1 to scrape off any ridges of paint from the edges of where the chair rail was. THe dip in the middle does not matter (nor do the nail holes) as the joint compound will take care of that, it's all about making the surface uniformly flat. It is a good idea to use an orbital sander with 100 grit paper to really flatten the edges. Standard premixed sand-able drywall compound should be fine. Apply a tight coat of mud, let it dry. Apply a second, more generous coat of mud, let it dry. Sand with a pole sand and 120 grit paper (or very carefully with a sanding sponge). Prime the filled area, let it dry and then coat it with the finished color. At this point you can see how well your repair is going and touch it up with more mud as necessary. Be sure to prime any additional mudded areas prior to finishing coating. I know that seems like a lot but this is the kind of repair that be disastrous if you don't take the time, especially for a novice. Just remember the enemy with drywall repairs is anything sticking out from the surface.

Who Dey 03-04-2010 11:47 AM

Windows ... I think you perfectly described my situation. I didn't mention the paint ridge at the outside edge of the rail, but it is there. I took a flexible putty knife to it last night and tried to knock the edge off. I was some what successful, but will do it again with a stiffer knife.

The "dip in the middle" is probably not that severe ... I think the paint ridges accentuate it. If I did a good job of knocking the ridge off (I didn't think of using an orbital sander), do I still need joint compound?

Finally, this is a regular sized bedroom and I'm just working on the rail-area. Do I really need a pole sander or would a sanding sponge be enough?

You're right about taking the time to prep the area correctly. I've learned this the hard way before!

Big N8 03-04-2010 12:30 PM

Yes you will need to use a sand-able compound no matter what. That will fill the nail hole and smooth out the area that the rail was. You can use a sponge just be careful.

user1007 03-04-2010 01:38 PM

Never use spackle for anything but tiny nail holes and I don't use it ever for those! It is worthless stuff.

Just make sure you put compound on with a wide enough knife. You may find something like a 12-14" handy for blending your final skim coat. You can wet sand drywall compound used on the final coat. Car wash sponge works great.

Be sure to prime over it before painting.

cellophane 03-04-2010 01:43 PM

i've been slowly delving into drywall patching and repairing recently and as a completely newbie the advice windows gave is pretty spot on from what i've done so far. i can also say - it is a lot like working with cake icing - just go slow and steady and don't be afraid to add more or remove some, especially when just starting out and trying to get a feel for it. i have an 8" plastic knife, a 10" metal knife and a 3" knife and tend to switch back and forth depending on what i'm doing. for patching a chair rail you can probably get by with an 8 or 10.

a 5 (or more) in 1 tool is also great to have around. i have this one and it gets more use than just about anything else i've got. if i buy another one i will make sure to get one with a hole in the middle for quick nail removal however.

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