Sanding drywall or plasterboard during repairs leave you exposed to high concentrations of dust containing talc, calcite, mica, gypsum, and silica. Such exposures may lead to lasting eye, nose, throat, and respiratory tract irritation. Annually, there are over 500 fatalities and more than 30,000 nonfatal injuries due to exposure to such harmful substances or environments. Other casualties suffered during drywall/plaster wall repair including falling from height, strains from carrying heavy boards, and injuries from improper handling of work tools. In 2019 alone, falls, slips, and trips accounted for 880 fatal work-related injuries.
Hence, the attempt to repair your drywall/plaster wall should be left to professional contractors nearby with the training, experience, and equipment to handle this simple but delicate task saving you from potential physical or health hazards. Note that not everyone that claims to be a drywall/plaster wall repair contractor near you can actually do a good job. The following questions will help you weed out any unprofessional contractors:
Are You a Licensed Drywall/Plaster Wall Repair Contractor?
Licensing requirements for drywall/plaster wall repair are location-dependent. In states like Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana, licensing is usually done locally at the municipality level. California requires all contractors to have a state-issued license for any work that costs more than $500, and it issues separate drywall contractor and lathing and plastering contractors' licenses. Similarly, Hawaii also issues separate licenses for drywall and plastering installation and repair. In Maryland, drywall/plastering repair contractors are required to obtain a home improvement license, while Oregon requires any individual that is involved in paid construction activities, including repair services, to obtain a construction contractor's license.
Certain factors can also affect these licensing requirements. For example, if your walls contain asbestos, then your drywall/plaster wall repair contractor is statutorily required to have a government-issued license. Also, if your home was built before 1978, your drywall/plaster wall repair contractor is required to have successfully completed an EPA-administered lead-safe work practices training and certification program.
Considering that licensing requirements vary by location, it is advisable that you contact the local consumer protection agency near you to find out the specific requirements for drywall/plaster wall repair contractors in your area of residence. Also, you can authenticate any proof of licensing that you are given by a contractor through the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies' licensing information webpage.
Are You a Bonded and Insured Drywall/Plaster Wall Repair Contractor?
Due to the hazards associated with drywall/plaster wall repair, it is always a good idea to hire a contractor that is bonded and insured. In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a total of 5,333 fatal work-related injuries and 2.8 million nonfatal work-related injuries among private contractors. Drywall and ceiling tile installers accounted for 17 and 1,310 of these fatal and nonfatal work-related injuries respectively.
Hiring a bonded and insured drywall/plaster wall repair contractor near you protects you from financial liabilities that may arise due to a work-related injury or your contractor defaulting on the job. Always ask your drywall/plaster wall repair contractor to provide you with proof of insurance and bonding. Contractors are typically required to have a general liability insurance plan, a workers' compensation insurance plan, and a surety bond of no less than $1,000. However, your state of residence may have additional requirements. Therefore, it is always a good idea to contact your local consumer protection agency to find out if there are specific insurance and bonding requirements for drywall/plaster wall repair contractors in your area.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
Although drywall and plaster walls serve the same purpose, they have a few fundamental differences. While both of them are commonly made with a material known as gypsum, drywall typically comes prefabricated, while plaster walls do not. This means that with drywalls, the gypsum has already been mixed with water, solidified, and cut into boards that are ready for installation. However, with plaster walls, you have to mix the gypsum by yourself to form the plaster, which you then manually apply over a lath. Note that plaster can also be made using other materials like cement. The prefabricated nature of drywall makes it easier to install and repair when compared to plaster walls. Drywalls also provide better insulation than plaster walls. On the other hand, plaster walls have the advantage of being more malleable than drywall, and they are also stronger, more durable, and more sound-proof.
Professional drywall/plaster wall repair contractors are generally capable of expertly fixing damages in both drywall and plaster walls. However, you should never make this assumption. Always confirm that your contractor is qualified and experienced enough to handle your specific type of wall surface.
Who Will Do the Work?
Drywall/plaster wall repair contractors are typically capable of handling jobs alone. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to find out whether your contractor will be coming along with any additional workers. This usually happens if your drywall/plaster wall repair contractor has an apprentice, or if the scope of the work is too much for one person to handle. If either of this is the case, you should make sure that all additional workers involved in the repair job are properly licensed, bonded, and insured.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
Any professional drywall/plaster wall repair contractors near you would typically offer a type of warranty known as a workmanship warranty. This warranty assures you that the repair job was done professionally and in the best way possible. Always find out from your contractor whether you will be offered a warranty for the job. You should do this before any work begins. Also, even though a warranty can be oral, written, or implied, it is advisable to request a written copy of any warranty that you are offered.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
Generally, you will need to obtain a permit before you can carry out any home improvement work that will significantly alter the structure of your home. As is the case with contractors' licenses, drywall/plaster wall repair permit requirements are also location-dependent. For example, in Chicago, Illinois, you do not need to obtain a permit for drywall/plaster wall repair or replacement of up to 1,000 square feet as long as it does not involve the alteration of plumbing or electrical devices or systems. In Naples, Florida, no permit is required for residential drywall repair provided that the repair is not fire-related or if the repair is in a small area that contains no more than two sheets of drywall. In Denver, Colorado, no permit is required for repairing, replacing, or tearing down drywall that is not more than a four-foot by eight-foot sheet, while Wall, New Jersey does not require a permit to install, repair, or replace less than 25% of the total drywall/plaster wall in a room.
Generally, any professional drywall/plaster repair contractor near you would know the permit requirements for your area of residence, and the fastest way to obtain these permits where necessary. Note that you can get this information too by contacting your local building department.
Will You Provide References?
Based on the Federal Trade Commission's recommendations, you should never hire a drywall/plaster wall repair contractor that cannot provide you with at least three verifiable references. It is also a good idea to ask your contractor for â€œbefore and afterâ€ pictures of jobs that they have completed. Finally, you can get independent reviews on the drywall/plaster repair contractor that you wish to hire from third-party review websites like Google Review.
Do You Have a Business License?
Many drywall/plaster repair contractors either own their business or work for a contracting firm. As of 2019, the United States has approximately 30.7 small businesses. These businesses are generally required to obtain a business license before they can legally operate. Note that business licenses are issued to business entities and not to individuals like professional licenses. Always make sure that your drywall/plaster repair contractor has a valid business license. You can request a copy of this license and contact your state of residence's Office of the Secretary of State to verify its validity.
What Are Common Drywall/Plaster Wall Repair Problems?
Some common drywall/plaster wall problems are:
- Water damage
- Scuff marks
- Mold growth
- Presence of holes
- Dents and bulges
- Termite damage
- Joint and joint tape problems
- Bad finishing
- Presence of air bubbles
- Popped nails
- Badly cut areas for electrical outlets
How Much Does Drywall/Plaster Wall Repair Cost?
Drywall/plaster wall repair will cost you an average of $150 - $250. This cost usually depends on the type of repair required and the labor-intensity of the repair job. Listed below are some drywall/plaster wall repair cost estimates:
Repair cost estimates by type of damage:
Repair cost estimates by type of repair:
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of Drywall/Plaster Wall Repair?
The cost of drywall/plaster repair is affected by the type of damage and the amount of labor needed for the repair. Your drywall/plaster repair contractor may charge you per square foot of repair done or per hour of work done at an average fee of $50 - $70 or $70 â€“ $100 respectively. These fees include the cost of any materials used for the job. As such, jobs that take longer or involve more damage will cost more. For example, fixing water damage to your drywall/plaster wall will cost you more than fixing a small hole in the wall.
What Qualifications Should a Drywall/Plaster Wall Repair Contractor Have?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are approximately 102,850 drywall and ceiling tile installers and 27,360 plasterers and stucco masons currently employed in the United States. Although drywall/plaster wall repair contractors do not have any mandatory minimum educational qualifications, some contracting firms may require their employees to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Drywall/plaster wall repair contractors typically learn their trade on-the-job by working with more experienced contractors, as well as through employer-organized training programs.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Professional Drywall/Plaster Wall Repair Contractor?
Even though it may not seem that way at first, hiring a professional drywall/plaster wall repair contractor to fix damages in your drywall/plaster wall is a more cost-efficient option than hiring any handyman nearby. A professional drywall/plaster wall repair contractor is experienced enough to find out the root cause of the damage to your wall and take the necessary steps needed to limit its reoccurrence.
On the other hand, a handyman is not trained in any particular type of repair and instead takes on various odd jobs. As such, drywall/plaster wall repairs undertaken by handymen are usually hit and miss, and there is always a high probability that you end up hiring a drywall/plaster wall repair contractor to fix the same problem. Professional drywall/plaster wall repair contractors also have the advantage of being bonded and insured, thereby insulating you from any financial liabilities in the event of work-related injuries or defaults. Note that you should always verify your contractor's bonding and insurance status.
What Are Common Post Drywall/Plaster Wall Repair Expenses?
The most common post-drywall/plaster wall repair expense is the cost of reapplying or changing the wall finish that was previously on the wall. In many cases, this usually involves repainting or applying wallpaper. Painting typically costs an average of $2 â€“ 46 per square foot or $20 â€“ $50 per hour, while wallpapering will cost you about $1 - $4 per square foot. Some drywall/plaster wall repair contractors also offer painting and wallpaper installation services. It is a good idea to find out whether your contractor does this, especially if you are satisfied with the repair job. You can also ask your drywall/plaster wall repair contractor to recommend a good painter or wallpaper installation contractor nearby.
Another post-drywall/plaster repair installation expense that you can incur is the cost of debris disposal. In many cases, this cost is calculated into your bill. However, if your repair job generates an unusually large amount of debris, you may be charged extra for its disposal. This typically happens in situations where the extent of damage to your drywall/plaster wall requires it to be completely removed.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Drywall/Plaster Wall Repair Expenses?
Standard homeowners' insurance policies cover sudden and unexpected damages to your property, and if your drywall/plaster wall is damaged under these circumstances, your homeowner's insurance policy will cover the cost of repairing it. 98.1% of the homeowners' insurance claims filed in 2018 were a result of property damage caused by wind, hail, fire, lightning, water, and even theft. Note that homeowners' insurance policies do not typically cover any damage that is caused by negligence, normal wear and tear, lack of maintenance, or natural disasters. As such, if your drywall/plaster wall damage is as a result of these, your homeowner's insurance policy will probably not cover any repair costs. Before you purchase a homeowner's insurance policy from an insurance company, you should make sure that the policy spells out the circumstances under which it would cover the cost of fixing damages to your home.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Drywall/Plaster Wall Repair Contractor?
Many professional drywall/plaster wall repair contractors near you would accept payments made via digital platforms. Transactions conducted via digital platforms like mobile wallets and credit or debit cards are generally faster, more convenient, and better for record-keeping purposes than transactions conducted via physical methods like cash or check. Note that not all drywall/plaster wall contractors accept digital payments, and so you should always confirm this with your contractor. You should also remember to always collect a receipt of payment for any cash transactions that you conduct.