Drywall panels are pretty popular among households because they are easy to install, maintain, and clean, plus the fact that they aren’t too pricey. Unfortunately, it isn’t exactly unheard of for a wall panel to suddenly turn uneven. There are several reasons that may cause this, such as poor installation and natural house settling.
Regardless of the reason, the effect is one and the same—an unsightly wall. Even if you try to cover them up with wall tiles, you’ll find that it’ll be impossible to do so unless the surface is perfectly level. The good news is, there are a few simple fixes that you can accomplish in just a matter of hours.
Fixing the Original Tape
Depending on how uneven the panels are, you’ll either be adding more tape to secure the bond (if not too uneven) or re-taping the whole thing (if wall panels are very uneven). To reveal the original tape, scrape off the joint compound on the surface. Remove any tape that’s peeling off and scrape the surface clean. Add a new layer of tape and press down firmly to provide a better seal between the drywall panels.
Applying Joint Compound
When trying to level an uneven wall, one common mistake people do is to slop on a lot of joint compound and expect to do the job in one go. It may take a lot more time to apply the compound in several layers, but you should keep in mind that each time you put a coat of compound, it should only be ¼ of an inch at most. If you go any thicker, the compound will not dry completely and you’ll end up with a messy, crumbling compound. Wait for the first layer to set until hard before proceeding to the next step.
Levelling the Surface
With a level placed over the panel, check how uneven the wall panels are. Apply another layer of joint compound to level the surface. Wait until compound sets and test again. Repeat if necessary until the level reads the wall as level.
Tip: Make sure you sand down any ridges off of the compound so that it is smooth before you use the level on it. Otherwise, chances are you’ll throw off the reading.
Replacing the Wall Panels
If the panels are off level by more than an inch, you might want to reconsider starting from scratch. Pry off the uneven panels. From there, you’ll be able to see whether the problem was caused only by poor installation or by uneven wall framing boards. If it’s the former, re-apply the panels correctly. If it’s the latter, you’ll have to use shims to build the framing boards up until the surface is level.