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How to patch a hole in drywall

A hole in the drywall with a sorry note

Before applying paint, paper or other covering to your walls, you need to repair any holes.


Before you get started

Fill nail holes and small punctures with spackling compound. When dry, sand lightly. If the hole is next to an electrical outlet, you may be able to conceal the damage with a larger outlet box or an oversized outlet cover plate. For larger holes, you will need to patch the damaged area.

CAUTION! Determine where the electrical wiring is located before cutting into a wall.

Small Dry Wall Patch Holes

If the hole is no bigger than two inches, repair with fiberglass tape. Stretch tape across the hole. Apply two or three coats of joint compound and sand between coats.

Step 1: Enlarge and Square Up

Cut a square area larger than the hole with a utility knife or keyhole saw.

Step 2: Prepare Backer Boards

Cut two backer boards so they are 2 to 3 inches wider than the hole.

Step 3: Secure Backer Boards

Place a backer board inside the hole at top edge. Secure with 1-1/4 drywall screws, holding the board in place as you work. Tighten until screw heads are below the surface. Place second backer board inside lower edge of opening. Secure with screws.

Step 4: Install Patch

Cut patch to fit opening. Screw patch to the backer and tighten until screw heads are below the surface.

Step 5: Tape Seams

Apply strips of fiberglass tape over seams.

Step 6: Apply Joint Compound

Cover tape with a thin coat of compound. When dry, sand lightly. Apply two more coats. Feather and sand each coat until the surface is smooth.

Patching Large Holes

For holes larger than 8 inches, cut drywall back to middle of the studs bordering the hole. Butt backer boards to studs and secure behind drywall with screws. Fit patch into opening. Secure to the studs and backer boards with screws. Finish with fiberglass tape and joint compound.

Materials you will need:

  • 2 pieces of 1 x 3 inch scrap wood for backer board
  • Drywall scrap for patch
  • 1 and ΒΌ inch drywall screws
  • Self-sticking fiberglass tape
  • Joint compound
  • Fine-grit sandpaper

Tools you will need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife or keyhole saw
  • Wood saw
  • Screwdriver
  • 6-inch taping knife



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