Decision To Patch or Replace Drywall in Home Remodeling

The planning and budgeting phase of any remodeling project is over loaded with decisions to be made. These decisions are mostly the design elements and product selections. However, remodeling, unlike building a new home, almost always involves patching and renovating to an existing area. Ideally, the remodeled and unaltered areas will meet at the transition from one room to another at a door or doorway.

More often than one might guess, planned projects require a stop and start demolition point that is not clearly defined by a room change, door, or doorway. Continued ceilings are a situation to watch for. Halls, foyers, and adjoining rooms where the doorway has a flush header and goes completely to the ceiling are examples. The decision of where to stop will potentially affect many individual work tasks. These tasks may include flooring, drywall, molding, and painting.The photo on the left is from a Mark of Excellence project for an HGTV extreme remodel in Middletown, New Jersey. It is a good example of how three separate rooms share one continuous ceiling.

A common question that is posed by both remodelers and homeowners is, “Do we need to gut all the kitchen walls and ceiling or can we just redo the cabinet walls?” Obviously this is a budgetary question. While almost anything is possible the factors and implications are rarely clear and simple. Generally, the newer the home, the more feasible a partial room demolition and remodel can be. When you blend or “marry” old wall board or plaster and molding to new drywall a seamless appearance is much more difficult to achieve. Then you must also consider the impact on work and accessibility. Do you want to update insulation on outer walls? Will there be lights and electrical wiring that will need to pass behind? Electrical and lighting pricing has two main categories – new work and old work. New work refers to new homes or additions or fully gutted rooms where the walls are open and easier to run wiring and place receptacles and fixtures. Old work requires an electrician to fish wires through an enclosed cavity and retro-fit the receptacles and fixtures.

The photo above and to the right is a kitchen project from AK Complete Home Renovations in Georgia. More than any other room, a kitchen has an abundance of lighting fixtures, switches and wires that need to be placed. Obviously open walls and ceilings make for a better, less expensive installation.

Partial demolition of bathroom rooms for a remodel poses more questions and possible problems. Has there ever been a leak or water build up in walls? Unseen rotting wood, wet insulation and mold can be a ticking time bomb if not uncovered and addressed.

Full replacement is clearly a better choice than partial remodels and patching, but it not the only choice. Life, and remodeling, is about making decisions. The Design Build Planners strongly suggest that these decisions be made after all the factors are considered. The DBP team is available to offer opinions on remodeling projects or any industry topic. Feel free to contact us and schedule a 15-minute phone consultation.  Click the “post-it” and follow the easy steps and set a time convenient for you!

3 thoughts on “Decision To Patch or Replace Drywall in Home Remodeling

  1. NuvoBuilders

    Thanks for the post, you have raised some good points here. I’m just wondering (slightly off topic), how many people get a number of quotes for home renovation? or do you just stick with one quote?

    1. Neil Post author

      We find that homeowners will get estimates until they find a contractor providing good value that they are comfortable with and confident in. Sometimes they are looking to find this with the first company, but sometimes extend research and estimates are required.


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