I am a new 1st time home owner. The house I purchased is an older home, and has had some "renovations".

The people who were there before me 'remodeled' the kitchen by taking out a wall that had cabinets to open the kitchen up a bit more. They did a very poor job at fixing the drywall in the ceiling where the cabinets & wall were. Image below:

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Is there anything I can do to easily smooth that out? It bumps out a bit, and is beginning to crack. Would I need to cut out that whole piece and re-do it to make it look half decent?

Also, in the stairwell in my home there is a very distinct line, where the 2 pieces of drywall on top of each other meet. Is there anything that can be done to minimize that line as well? (image below)

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Click for full size image

3 Answers 3


You will need to smooth it out by applying increasingly wide applications of drywall mud; depending on how rough it is it might take 2-3 coats. You would then sand it smooth, prime and repaint the entire surface.

Unless the drywall is water damaged or has significant physical damage (doesn't look like the case), you will not have to cut out anything.

On the ceiling you might be able to get away with just repainting the entire ceiling (prime first!) as people are unlikely to get close enough to it to really notice a few imperfections. I suspect it is more noticeable in your case because of the color difference due to the paint fading at different rates.


If there are bulges, it will be much better if you dig them out to below the average level of the wall or ceiling; that way you will likely have less to fill. If you have to dig out more than an inch deep, you will have to fill first with something solid, like a piece of wood screwed into whatever is available below surface. Then you can start filling in no more than 1/4 inch layers. Even if a stud is bulging out a bit you can shave that down. I had to do just that in my previous house when I prepped it for sale, after 15 years of settling.


The ceiling looks to have paper tape under the mud, which is normally only used in corner joints.

For a quicker turn around, and more satisfying finish - it would probably be best to scrape all of the tape and mud from this repair off, then re-tape the joints using fiberglass tape. After the initial coat on each of the seams, treat the entire space as one repair - skimming the middle section and out into the surrounding area of the ceiling. When your done, you should have one giant spot, twice the size of the original area. You should only mess with the "piece" of drywall, as far as ensuring it is secured properly, and of similar thickness to the pieces surrounding it.

The wall looks like a paper joint as well, but in this case, there doesn't appear to be any mud backing the tape up.

If this joint is soft, and can be pushed in - you will need to cut all of the loose tape out, as well as any loose pieces of sheet rock, then re-tape the joint, with fiberglass tape - feathering out into both pieces, far enough make both pieces appear as one.

In both cases, several thin coats, can go a long way, in making the repairs easier to sand and paint. Don't try to get it done all in one day either. In some cases, even a small patch job, can take two or three days, just waiting for the mud to dry, especially on exterior walls and ceilings.

  • 5
    Paper and fiberglass tape are used interchangeably - really depends on the preference of the person doing the install.
    – Steven
    Jan 14, 2014 at 21:01
  • Seasonal extremes make paper tape in any joint, obsolete by comparison. Paper tape is prone to failure, and is the typical go to, for banjo and bazooka work in complexes and cookie cutter homes.
    – tahwos
    Jan 14, 2014 at 21:28
  • diy.stackexchange.com/questions/3/…
    – Steven
    Jan 14, 2014 at 22:01
  • 4
    There is nothing wrong with paper tape, it has been used for many many years without any problems. The secret to good seam coverage, is feathering the joint compound out to create a wide smooth seam rather than a thin seam. The type of tape used matters very little, as long as it's applied properly.
    – Tester101
    Jan 15, 2014 at 11:25
  • Paper tape is fine and in fact fiberglass tape has more play and should only be used with setting type joint compound (the stuff that comes in bags) as it doesn't shrink and contains plaster of paris I believe. Jan 10, 2019 at 21:15

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