How do I repair small ding in drywall PROPERLY?

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handle of vacuum wand fell over and made small ding in drywall, right below a light switch - so very obvious.
Reapired by filling with joint compound, sanding flat, and painting with Dunn-Edwards high quality paint from the original 5 gal paint container - to garrantee color match. Historically there did not appear to be any 'primer' used over the drywall and taping, the paint is the sealer and color, just sprayed on.
Yet, my repair doesn't look good. The finished repair has a 'ring around it' looks like a water spot on my wife's silk blouse!
Ok, maybe this is a coating problem, so applied a second coat over the 1 1/2 inch diameter repair, and STILL it looks like a water mark. Ok, third coat, still there!
Close examination, the joint compound in center matches wall, the wall matches wall but the junction between the two makes for a ring.
Ok, maybe this was caused by sanding too smoothly on the junction. So, very lightly sanded to rough up and make all the surface uniformly textured using 120. Paint again, and there's still a ring!
Ok, I give up, exactly HOW am I supposed to patch drywall?
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I don't understand what went wrong. I've done a lot of repairs and never had this problem. Sometimes you can see a difference between the repaired area due to difference in the paint being old vs new, the sanding, etc. But I've never run into the "ring" problem. If it didn't match it was pretty much the whole area.
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wrote:

I'm guessing that the repair wasn't feathered out far enough to blend in with the rest of the wall. Build it up high and feather it down onto the existing wall.
I helped my son with the major part of repairing a hole he punched in plaster/lath wall and left the finish mudding and painting to him. It was his first repair and I gotta say the kid's (24) got talent. Even with a bright light shining on the repair, I can't see any ripples or shadows.
A huge part of the bathroom ceiling came down in the house he rents and he's negotiating with the landlord to let him fix it for less than it would cost a contractor to do it. I'm sure I'll be involved, but if he wants to learn (and get paid to do it) I'll support him any way I can. It's an investment. When I get too old (or lazy) to do my own repairs, I want to know that there's someone with skills to step in for me. ;-)
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Thanks to all who have answered. I didn't go into a lot of detail, but this repair is not my first.
The ding was tiny, maybe 1/3 to 1/2 inch big, but the ring is a result of repair and is more like 1 1/2 to 2 inch diameter.
We're in 20% humidity, so I gently pre-dampen the area so moisture doesn't get sucked out of the joint compound. I over fill, let dry 7 days. Gently sanded using 120 WITH a very broad block of wood. [I learned a long time ago to NEVER use a pad] Sanded just until started topping the surrounding paint. After all, don't want to cut through the adjacent paint.
Slightly pre-dampen and over filled again, let dry. and again sainded gently with the block of wood backing. Blind touch feel NO unevenness - very flat. Side lighting still shows very flat - at that time could not see the edges that would later create the ring.
Gently wiped area off to remove dust. Then using Tac Rag, gently wiped area again. Then, painted and huge ring showed up. ??!!
So I thought this paint may need two coats with the first acting as the sealer. Ok waited 7 days, painted again SAME RING! Out of frustration I gently sanded the spot WITH a pad to uniformly rough everything up. Painted again. Well this time ring is less, but still there. Which was improving the situation more coats, or gently sanding? Don't care the fifth coat seems to have finally covered over the 'rign' and it's so minimal hard to find. But, I still see it, because I know where it's at!
I did this small spot as a test - and failed. Now I'm working on a much larger area. and the ring appears to be at the junction between the joint compound and the painted surface. If I fill more the ring just moves out further to ...you guessed it, where the junction moved out to!
I'm tempted to use Zinsser (sp?) white zinc sealing primer that is alcohol based, but years ago I had trouble with that process, again at the edges of the primer coating. Years ago, filling, priming, painting ended up making a small visible line show through in the top coat that completely surrounds the repair [Yes, I'm very picky about the way a repair looks] I don't want to prime the whole wall to fix a 1 square foot area.
Is the sandpaper too coarse? Should I be using 220 or finer? on these final touches?
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On Mon, 13 Aug 2012 18:09:33 -0700 (PDT), Robert Macy

It's either in your head, you're using junk compound, or junk paint. What this about letting the compound dry "7 days?" Don't use compound for deep dents, use Spackle or patching plaster. Compound should be ready to paint in as little as 10 minutes. Spackle/patching plaster about an hour per 1/4" depth. If put on in a thin coat like compound, same 10 minutes as compound. Rough figures, but close enough.. Only way these "rings" can happen is if the walls are brand new, with a thin single coat of paint done with a no-nap roller. Then the patch covered by thin, bad, watery paint. Even then a 2nd-3rd coat of good paint will cover any "ring". Overall blending is a different issue.
--
Vic


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On Mon, 13 Aug 2012 20:58:25 -0500, Vic Smith wrote:

Or one of the tools used was contaminated with something.
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The sideways bright light is what I always do to make sure I got the sanding right. It shows up defects in technique very readily!!!!
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finally!!
it is NOW flat looking. Surprisingly, even a slight 'bump' in the amount of 0.5 to 1 mil which was extremely hard to find caused the 'island' effect. Turns out that a naturally occurring cross light along the wall brought the pattern out. Using a flashlight didn't. Feeling the surface almost didn't. But, it was there. after aggressively sanding with a BLOCK of wood until the the adjacent surface was also being bitten into; THEN the wall looks flat.
But I appreciate all these answers.
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I'll bet you didn't use a setting type compound for repair, did you?
Joe
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May have found it. Well, a bit.
Next to the repaired ding on the wall right under the light switch is a dent in the rounded corner! Workmen going by without paying attention probably ran their belt into it, or case, or something hard and dented it. This is a ten foot long metal 1 inch radius rounded corner that is nailed to each wall to form a right angle corner, but with these very nice rounded edges. Except as everyone knows edges are susceptible.
So, I packed joint compoune into the 3/4 inch long by 1/2 inch wide dent. Waited util turned pure white, and gently sanded off to recreate the rounded corner. Elapsed time less than 30 minutes. Then I tack ragged it. and painted over it with the exact same paint form the exact same container and it dried the first time with an invisible repair. Good as new!
So what's happening out in the middle? Got me. Out of frustration, I simply sanded off the large repair under another light switch panel, tack ragged it, and painted it. Almost disappeared repair, but not along the bottom edges - where it will show big time! But closer the first time. so I'm going to try just painting and painting to see if it disappears after 3 coats, like the first spot did.
Along with this I went around some of the walls and redid poorly done nail sets and screw sets and one place even had an accidental drill hole [as in, oops not here, but four inches higher on the wall] done when they installed the doorbell. EVERYone of these fills were sanded flush using 120 on a large flat board, tack ragged, and painted,. Not one had that 'water spot' effect around it. So I wonder why, right where it's going to show.
I'm using the same sanding paper on the same wood block, the same tach rag, and the same pail of paint, and didn't matter which cheap bristle brush I used. It seems my rushed recent repairs all are invisible, and the slow painstaking one is permanently coming up strange.
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I would suggest using some Kilz or Zinseer spray primer over the repair and a tiny bit onto the old areas.
Freshly applied & sanded repair can behave differently than "old work".
The primer step will greatly reduce paint absorption.
cheers Bob
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agree. I like Zinser(sp?) too. back when I was doing redwood it was the ONLY coating that prevented burn through.
However, I never got it to feather well at the edges. I could always see that faint outline. So when I used it I always took all the way to the edges, which sometimes was a large area.
I just did another nailset and again, perfect. it's flat, it matches, and even as picky as I am I can't find it. But even after three coats now under that light switch there's still a slight 'watermark' coming through. Got me. If the "more keen eye than I" does not notice, I think I'll quit on this region.
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On Tue, 14 Aug 2012 16:11:36 -0700 (PDT), Robert Macy

Bad news. That dent is there for the rest of eternity. It will never go away. It's there just to annoy you and make your life a living hell. The more you look at it, the more it's going to bother you, until you go insane. You might consider checking to see if you have good health insurance and if they cover permanent inpatient care in a mental asylum. You will soon be there and stay there for the duration of your life.
However, there is a glimpse of hope. You must do two things. First, you must destroy that goddamn vacuum cleaner that caused the dent. Take it in both hands and smash it against that wall until it's smashed into at least 100 pieces. Then sell that house, or just burn it to the ground. Then move to another house. Be sure the new house has no dents and is 101% PERFECT. Remember, you can not accept imperfection and you will only live in a perfect world. Be sure to tell the agent selling you the new home that you can not live in an imperfect house, and will go insane if there are any dents, dings, bugs, or other imperfections.
You MUST do this immediately. You're only days away from going insane. The men in the white jackets are waiting at the entrance of the insane asylum just for you. They even have your medication ready.
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On Aug 15, 12:00am, snipped-for-privacy@uguess.com wrote:

ah yes, now, to proceed on a perfect search....
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On Aug 14, 7:11pm, Robert Macy

In my experience, unless that paint on the wall is relatively new, when you get to the point that you're fixing that many spots, the old paint and the new paint are unlikely to match without something showing, sometime. In some cases, it may look OK sometimes, but with the right lighting or lighting angle the spots usually show. Meaning if you're to the point of fixing all the imperfections like nail bumps, screw bumps, etc., might as well just paint the wall.
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On Wed, 15 Aug 2012 08:40:26 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

I've found that this varies a lot, depending on the paint. I've done touch up with Benjamin Moore paints up to two years after the wall was painted and it looked good. From different cans, even.
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On Aug 15, 1:38pm, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

This is Dunn Edwards sprayed on - and probably watered, just about two years ago. house empty until we moved in. so not a lot of contamination from humans.
Anybody know anything about the Home Depot Paint? Behr, or whatever? does that touch up for a while too?
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On Wed, 15 Aug 2012 15:32:14 -0700 (PDT), Robert Macy

Not going to happen. You'll have to paint.
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The fact that it was sprayed on and now you're using a roller to touch up could be a factor in it matching too. I've seen the pros on TV using a sprayer to get the paint on fast and then another guy walking behind with a roller because that gives it a nicer finish. But I've never seen it done that way in contruction here. If they are spraying, they just spray.
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wrote:

I didn't say I used a roller, as a matter of fact I mentioned cheap bristle brushes.
I found that with enough 'wetting' agent the paint flattens to match nicely. Or, with 'dry' brush strokes seems to match texture wise.
One repair at eye level on a wall that gets sideways bright/sun the spot completely can't find! But, I'm STILL fighting underneath that light switch, even after 5 coats!!!
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