I'm getting ready for my first major DIY project (about a week away). Here's a summary:

We confirmed the presence of Asbestos in our house heating vent insulation and acoustic ceilings. We're hiring licensed abatement professionals to remove it. 2 heating vents are in the wall so the abatement crew are planning to remove the drywall directly in front of the vents to get access. The result is that two vertical sections of drywall (approximately 7 ft x 1 ft each) will be removed.

I need advice on how to repair the drywall after they're done. I'm specifically interested in knowing:

  • What tools will I need to complete the drywall repair?
  • What equipment will I need?
  • What procedure would I use to repair the wall? I expect it to be different than the repair method I've seen elsewhere (referencing strapping).
  • Time estimate for a beginner to get this done? I'm guessing at least a few days.

In addition to advice, any pictures/how-to links/videos/etc would be greatly appreciated.


  • 1
    Is there any reason in particular you are having the asbestos removed from the heating ducts? If it is hidden, and intact, and you aren't planning on moving the ducts around, there really is no reason to remove it- just leave it there. Asbestos is only dangerous when it is disturbed- intact, on ductwork, it should pose no danger.
    – MarkD
    Oct 23, 2010 at 1:16
  • @MarkD We want to eventually replace the furnace and the HVAC technicians won't perform ANY work unless asbestos is removed from the heating ducts.
    – Mike B
    Oct 23, 2010 at 1:49
  • Did the company doing the removal not offer to fix the drywall for you? It seems odd that they would come in and cut holes in your walls and not have a crew that could come patch it (usually at a slight cost to you).
    – Tester101
    Oct 23, 2010 at 3:27
  • @Tester101 They did but were quoting upwards of an extra $600 for repair, painting, texturing, etc. We're in the process of moving and have other projects in mind so we're trying to save $ everywhere we can.
    – Mike B
    Oct 23, 2010 at 3:30
  • @Tester101 And we did get multiple bids too =)
    – Mike B
    Oct 23, 2010 at 3:31

1 Answer 1


I'm assuming here that they're not going to replace the ducts in the wall; if I'm wrong I'll adjust my answer accordingly.

  • Cut three or four pieces of 2x4's long enough to fit between the studs at the sides of the hole.
  • Toe nail or screw one in horizontally near the top of the hole, one at the bottom and the other one or two in the middle. Provided your drill will fit in the space, screwing may be easier since you don't have to swing a hammer in a confined space. If you use nails, it would be a good idea to drill some pilot holes first. Use at least two at each side, one towards the front and one towards the back; ideally you would have them on the top and bottom of each cross piece too.
  • Cut a piece of drywall to size -- it doesn't have to be exact since drywall tape is 2" wide -- but should be fairly close. If you have a drywall rasp, cut it a little larger than you need since it'll be easy to trim it down.
  • Place it in the hole and screw it into the cross pieces.
  • Apply some mud around the edges with the taping knife. Press the tape into it, then more mud on top, and smooth it out.
  • Let the mud dry; sand it smoothish, then apply some more mud on top, spreading it out further. Repeat until it looks OK.


  • electric drill
  • hammer (if you use nails)
  • saw to cut the 2x4's (mitre saw is quickest, handsaw would do),
  • drywall tools: craft knife, mud pan, taping knife, option drywall rasp (quicker to trim the piece of drywall down to size than using a knife), sander. (A few years ago, I bought a combination toolkit at Lowe's with all the tools you'd need this kind of job; it was a lot cheaper than buying them all individually).


  • drywall
  • drywall screws
  • 3" (approx.) nails or wood screws,
  • one or two 2x4's,
  • mud (there are mixes that you can get that will dry in 30 minutes or so, but I'd recommend getting a bucket of all-purpose joint compound since this is your first time).
  • drywall tape (I prefer paper).
  • sandpaper (for the drywall sander)
  • plastic sheeting to cover the nearby area (sanding drywall makes a lot of dust that you don't want in your vacuum).

None of the jobs takes particularly long, but you need to let the mud dry between coating and sanding, so figure a few days to get the wall ready for its finish treatment: texturing, painting, etc.

  • 1
    Good answer! One addition - if this is your first time I'd have a sponge and water ready for cleaning mud where you don't want it. Also if you are unhappy with a mud coat you can come back in the first couple of hours and smooth it out a bit with the sponge. Oct 23, 2010 at 3:05
  • 1
    Since it's your first time I'd recommend the fiberglass adhesive tape, and apply it before any joint compound is applied. If you use paper tape, it's easy to not get it pressed tight enough to the drywall which will make more of a bulge in the finished repair (since you can't sand deeper than the tape). The fiberglass is guaranteed to be as close as possible to the drywall. Oct 23, 2010 at 3:51
  • @steve @mike Thanks for the tips. Really appreciate it.
    – Mike B
    Oct 23, 2010 at 4:39

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