Pro Tip: How to Repair Torn Drywall Paper

So you’ve finally managed to remove that trim or tile and RIP! It comes with some drywall paper (also called a disguise). What began as a fun update project has turned into an annoying repair project. The damage is not deep, but unsightly. What’s the right way to fix it? Why don’t you ask us a difficult question? We mended a hole in the drywall and this will be easier. Repairing torn drywall paper and touching it up is a pro tip that you’ll want to have in your back pocket.


Well, that’s not tearful

1. Remove loose paper with a razor. You will certainly have some ragged or hanging paper from the tear, so use a razor or utility knife to remove it. The edges of the crack should be flush against the wall.

2. Important: Seal the exposed plaster of paris. The plaster of paris absorbs moisture from latex paints, so you need to seal it to avoid blisters. You can use a drywall primer and sealer, or even some old oil paint you told yourself you’d use or throw away, but neither.

Get muddy.

3. Cover the area with grout. Use a spatula to spread a thin layer of grout (mud) over the surface. Not only will you fill in the torn area, but you’ll create a new surface so the grout should protrude about an inch past the edges of the crack. Apply the mud as evenly as possible, but you will find that it may look uneven or pockmarked, especially if you’ve never done this before. Don’t worry – read on.

Final steps: repairing torn drywall

4th Grind the area. It is common to use fine sandpaper, such as 120 grit, to sand the area. For larger areas, you can turn to a larger tool like the Ridgid Gen 5X random orbit sander. We even used a multitool with sanding accessories. However, we prefer a damp sand before the grout is fully hardened. A wet sand will not create fine particles or airborne dust on the floor and will gently remove the high spots of the area and fill in the deep spots. Cure time will depend on temperature and humidity, but we are happy to give the area around 45 minutes to cure. Touch the joint to make sure it’s not so wet that it loosens on your fingers. It should be firm but flexible. Use a damp sponge to gently sand the area and create a smooth surface with the rest of the wall.

5. Apply another layer of grout. What’s better than a shift? Two of course. A second layer will likely be needed to make the mud cover wide and smooth enough for it to blend in. You will never notice the area after painting if you get it right. You’ll likely want to repeat the grinding step as well.


6th Colour. Here the evidence of the tear disappears. Paint the area and enjoy this invisible repair. Also read our tips for cleaning up quickly.

If you need to fix torn drywall paper, hopefully this pro tip will help. If you’re a professional handyman and have tips for drywalling, add them in the comments below – or contact us with your own pro tips.

Comments are closed.