How To Repair Holes In Drywall

by Darwin Hall

drywall room

It is hard to imagine any home improvement project that does not involve working with some wallboard.

Wallboard, also called drywall, gypsum board, and Sheetrock (a brand name), is a versatile and inexpensive building material.

It is easy to install, although it is more difficult to finish properly.

It is dimensionally stable, it can be fireproofed and moisture proofed, it cuts easily, and it creates an excellent surface for texturing, painting, wallpapering, paneling, or tiling.

Repairing Small Holes

There are a few ways to repair small holes:

Using tape.  Holes that are too large to spackle but no more than 2 to 3 inches across can be patched with drywall tape and compound.

Step 1

Use paper tape or fabric mesh tape to cover the hole.

Step 2

Spread a layer of compound around the hole and press short pieces of tape into it, covering the hole.  Smooth compound over the tape, oozing it into the hole as much as possible.

Step 3

Feather the edges and let it dry.  Then sand it smooth.  If drying causes cracks or shrinkage, smooth another layer of compound over the patch, let it dry, and sand it.

Using cardboard to patch drywall.  An alternative method is to use a piece of cardboard cut slightly larger than the hole.

drywall repairThread a knotted string through it, push the cardboard through the hole, and pull on the string to hold it in place.

Next, apply fast-setting patching compound, pushing it so that it oozes around the edges of the cardboard and binds it in place.

The compound should be about 1/4-inch below the surface.  In a few minutes when the compound sets, cut the string and score the fresh compound so that another coat will adhere to it better.

Finish the patch with a second coat of compound, smoothing or texturing it to match the surrounding wall surface.

See also:  How To Skim-Coat Drywall

Repairing Large Holes

There are also a few methods to repairing large holes.  The first involves using a triangular plug for holes that are too large to span with tape but not large enough to require cutting back to the studs.

1.  Cut a patch out of drywall, beveling the edges towards the back side of the piece.  Then trace the outline of the patch around the hole (the damaged area) and cut the wallboard to match.  Be sure to bevel these edges also, so that the patch will nest into the opening but not fall through.

2.  Use a large wood screw as a temporary handle.

3.  After spreading compound around the edges, push the patch into the hole until it is recessed about 1/16 inch, and smooth out the compound.

4.  After the compound dries, tape and finish the patch so that it matches the surrounding wall.

The other method for patching large holes calls for purchasing a drywall patch made out of a square layer of aluminum (for it’s rigidity and moisture proof-ness), mesh tape, and sticky backing to easily stick to the wall.

They come in sizes ranging from 4-inches by 4-inches, all the way to 8-inches by 8-inches.  These drywall patches are a little expensive, but well-worth the saved installation time.  You simply stick them to the damaged area and then mud the area with compound.

Patching Very Large Holes

Holes that span most of the stud cavity, usually 14 or 15 inches wide, are best patched by removing a rectangle back to the centers of the studs.

1.  Use a hole saw or utility knife to make the horizontal cuts (be careful in case there is wiring behind the wall) and a knife to cut the sides.  If the hole is close to the floor, cut the rectangle all the way to the floor to eliminate taping the bottom joint.

Watch the Video2.  Measure the hole and cut a new piece of wallboard to fit.  Nail it to the studs.

3.  Tape and fill the joints.  When dry, sand and texture the patch so that it matches the surrounding wall.

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