Drywall sizes

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Are you sure it's 3/8" drywall? Sheets of drywall are beveled down the edges of the long dimension. That may not be the case on your specialty piece, but take a look at one of the short sides and measure the thickness in the middle. You may have 1/2". Then again, you may not.
Depending on the size of the holes you are trying to patch, you can either shim the piece you're patching with, or make up the difference with mud. Or both.
I saw 2' X 2' square pieces of 1/2" at Home Depot the other day. They were only $2 cheaper than full sheets.
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While it is a ridiculous price compared to a full sheet, when you only need a small piece for a patch, it is easier to handle and fit into the family Econobox for hte trip home.
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If I'm buying a piece just for patching and I'm using a vehicle that doesn't have a lot of room, I'll cut the sheet down to a more manageable size that doesn't compromise the sizes of the patches I'll need. That way I can easily fit it into any vehicle.
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For that I usually go to the damaged drywall stack and get a 4x4 square.
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That works for a lot of people, but form many, that extra material will be hidden away or taking up space for the next 50 years. Not a bargain under those circumstances. Right now, I need a piece of 5/8 material abut 15' x 12". Damned if I'm going to buy a 4 x 8 and haul it home. I'll find a broken sheet at a jobsite or supplier or some other method first.
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There's nothing wrong with doing it that way, except that for me, time is money. I do this sort of thing professionally, and my time is worth much more than the seven dollars I'd save by taking the time to root through scrap bins or run down construction sites that may or may not yield the correct piece.
The neat thing about drywall is that if you do end up with extra material, you probably will use it at some point, or your neighbor will, or you can break it up into small pieces and throw it away.
On my own time, doing something for myself or my family, yes, I might take the time to find free scraps. Otherwise, it costs more for me to spend the time looking than it does for me to buy a new sheet.
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I still need that piece of 12 x 15. If you live in NE Connecticut I'll grab one of your scraps. :)
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It's very easy to cut the pieces in the parking lot at the store so they fit in your car.
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thicker than it is, and it measures 1/2" pretty darn closely.
That's fine I can write off this sheet, its not like 2 bucks is gonna break my bank (although 4 bucks might!). As to getting those 2 x 2 squares, I saw them too and was pondering it, but considering that I can pick up damaged boards for 2 bucks or less depending upon how large it doesn't seem cost effective to buy pre-cuts.
As for Jeffc, I hear what you're saying but I don't happen to have any curved surfaces and noise reduction isn't a concern for me.
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Not typically one to reply to my own responses, but in this case.
So I replaced a hole in the drywall, only to discover that the 1/2" drywall was sunk in a little from the rest of the wall.
Is it typical when patching holes on a finished wall to have the drywall sit below the level of the wall surface, and not sit flush?
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After you've done the taping and mudding, you really shouldn't have a problem. You'll be fanning the mud out far enough to hide the patch, and this will require enough mud that any small discrepancy won't stay for long.
Remember, the patch isn't painted, and it's new, and the existing drywall is painted and may be pulling out from the wall a little where you cut it. Make sure you put screws into the existing drywall as well as the patch to help keep them flush. This obviously doesn't really apply if you used what I've heard referred to as both a "hat patch" and a "hot patch". It only applies if you're attaching the drywall to studs or other wooden backer.
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to make a good clean patch look good. Mine looks like crap right now, the tape is sticking out in places where it bunched up and I didn't think to put a screw in the existing drywall - I didn't read this reply till after I applied the patch.
After it dries I'll sand it to heck and gone and but a desk in front of it.
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Take a utility knife and cut out the tape where it's pushing through. Apply a couple of coats of mud. Don't be afraid to flare the mud out a few feet if you have to.
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