20 Ways to Damage (and Fix) Your Walls

From on January 29, 2009 in Light Construction

Nail Holes

Walls take some serious abuse. We tend to take for granted how solid they look, when often they are in reality just drywall and paint. Anything from the head of a nail to a child’s dirty hands can do damage to your walls. Taking the time to understand and look out for the many types of wall damage can make a big difference in life (especially for all you renters out there).

  1. Nail Holes.

    By the time you’ve hung and rehung all your art, posters, and pictures, the wall starts to look like it has freckles. Oftentimes, just a dab of paintable caulk and a little paint will suffice.

  2. Dents from the doorknob.

    A common danger for walls. Dents may be fixed with spackling or putty, sandpaper, and paint. Holes may require more drastic action.

  3. Rodentia.

    Mice have been known (personally) to chew through drywall in order to gain access to abundant food supplies within those walls. First catch the little bugger if you can. Then try to find out how he got in and patch the hole in your drywall and the way in.

  4. Fingerprints.

    A notorious crime for kids, but don’t be too hard on them, some mild soap and a little scrubbing should do the trick.

  5. Smoking.

    Yes smoking. It’s unpopular nowadays but for all you who still enjoy a smoke at home, pull down a picture frame or two and look at the difference. Smoke of any kind can be very damaging to walls. It looks like repainting (and a walk to the patio) may be in your future.

  6. Water damage.

    Water is a powerful force, from the smallest drops to the biggest waves. Water inside your walls or ceiling can wreak havoc on your house. Water damage often requires a professional touch and at least the removal and repair of damaged sheetrock or the materials underneath.

  7. Wallpaper.

    Removing wall paper can leave some nasty residue behind. To avoid as much hassle as possible follow these easy instructions.

  8. A Settling House.

    The house shifting or settling can cause cracks in drywall. Sometimes it’s as simple as a bit of plaster and drywall tape, other times it’s not.

  9. Mildew.

    Mildew has been damaging walls since bathrooms were invented. This little fungus will show up on any surface and must be wiped out with a special, mildew-erasing solution.

  10. Crayons, Markers, and Pens galore.

    When kids aren’t putting their fingerprints on the wall, they’re probably getting artistic with a new box of crayons. There are plenty of ways to eliminate these little art sessions and seriously lower parental stress levels.

  11. Flood damage.

    Floods take typical water damage to the extreme. The best method here is prevention.

  12. Earthquakes.

    On that same catastrophic note, earthquakes can do a world of damage to your walls and, subsequently, your whole house. If an earthquake is powerful enough to do damage, the damage is probably extensive enough to call a contractor.

  13. Scuff marks.

    These can be caused by so many things, including shoe soles and flying frisbees. Some warm water and vinegar, mild soap, a rag, and some light scrubbing is all you need.

  14. Broken Tiles.

    As sure as you can break a coffee mug you can break a tile in the backsplash or bathroom. Carefully remove the broken tile, surrounding grout, and adhesive, clean up and smooth the area, reapply a new tile (complete with adhesive) and re-grout.

  15. The cat.

    Another from personal experience. First off get a spray bottle filled with water and use it (on the cat). Secondly, smooth and patch the damaged area and repaint.

  16. Adhesives.

    When hanging things on the wall, adhesives often do more damage than a simple nail hole. Over time the adhesive bonds with the paint or other material behind it. When it comes time for removal you may be left with damaged paint, paneling, drywall, or more depending on the type of wall. Tip: use a nail.

  17. Termites.

    Can’t forget the most famous of wall eaters. If you spot termites, call the exterminator immediately then assess the damage.

  18. Furniture.

    The hallway is 38 inches wide, your new dresser is 36. There are bound to be some dings, dents, and “dangs.” Drywall patching sure is fun!

  19. Watering plants.

    Even the watering of plants can have some ill effect on walls, usually in the form of mold or mildew as described in #9. Plant water can be very nasty as well. Keep an eye on flower pots and the area around the plants. Regularly wipe down the walls and floor around the plant.

  20. Fire damage.

    The scariest and thankfully rare way to damage your walls. Many an electrical fire has started inside a wall. Unfortunately, often the best recourse following a fire is a call to the insurance company and a free estimate from a local contractor.