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We've just completed our first drywall project and the outcome wasn't so great in places. There are a couple spots in particular that have 1/2-1/4" gaps.

I was wondering, is there a nifty way to close these gaps or do we have to pull the panel down and try again if it is too bad? I don't think they just slathering mud in it will work?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Setting-type compound (the bagged kind you mix vs. the drying-type you buy premixed in a bucket) will easily fill a 1/2" gap without cracking. Make sure you load up the gap well before applying your tape, then finish it as you would any other joint.

Sadly I have a lot of experience filling this type of gap from my own basement project a few years ago...

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There's a reason drywall tape is so wide. :) – Niall C. Dec 10 '10 at 3:23
Thanks! I'll give it a try. – javamonkey79 Dec 10 '10 at 6:59

I would probably take the panel down and try again.

Even if you used fiberglass mesh tape when you tape the joints, it'll be hard to finish the surface, and you're probably going to experience premature cracking, etc.

You could try filling in the gap with one of several materials:

  • foam backing rod (usually used for caulking large gaps)
  • expanding foam insulation
  • thin cut wood/plywood

But I'm not sure how the mud would dry over material like that. I'd imagine that it'll still be more prone to cracks than a tight gap. If you are going to try to fill the gap, a harder material would probably work better than a softer material like foam, simply because it would provide more support against bumps and scrapes.

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I'd probably cut a small sliver of drywall and put it in the crack. Have to cut because it would be hard to snap a piece that small.

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Have you done this before and had it work successfully? – javamonkey79 Dec 11 '10 at 16:02
For small areas I have. Thinkinga bout it some more, if its the length of a whole sheet, I might think about taking down the panel and trying again. – BrianK Dec 13 '10 at 0:35
I've done this for 1/2" gaps. Might take a few tries to cut it without it breaking up. – sal Dec 17 '10 at 5:41

I've used Great-Stuff gap filler on dryway in a garage. These were 1/2" to 1 1/4" gaps, irregular in spacing and 2' to 5' long. Let it dry and you can cut down the excess. Expensive but quick and easy to use.

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I've filled large gaps in new installation drywall as my house is old, not square, and has some very unusual shapes. They've stood up 20 years without issue. If there is backing behind the drywall, such as a stud, just start filling it in. Let it dry between coats. If you have a situation where there is no backing such as between wall studs, start by tucking so that the compound forms a hook over the back of the drywall. It is the same premise that was used to attach plaster to lath. I push in some fiberglass mesh on a second or third filling, but before flushing out the seam and applying the finish tape. It will work fine. Don't worry about it.

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I had a gap at the top of the drywall of about 1 inch on one end tapering to 1/2 inch at the other end of a length of 36 inches. I took a 2.5 inch wide piece of drywall doubled scored in the middle of the backing for 1/2 inch for the whole 36 inch length. I then snapped the 1 inch ends and peeled off the drywall from the front paper. This left me with a 2.5 inch wide 36 inch length of front drywall paper with a 1/5 inch piece of drywall running down the center. I then used this like drywall patch paper and joint compound to close the gap. It wasn't perfect but it worked.

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