If you’ve just moved into a new-to-you home or are getting ready to move out, there’s a chance that you have a hole or two in your walls. Whether from an accident or hanging shelves or pictures, these unsightly holes may need to be filled. Patching drywall isn’t too difficult and is a great skill to have on hand. Follow these simple steps to restore your wall.
- Putty knife
- Utility knife
- Tape measure
- Joint compound
- Stud finder
Note: If you need to repaint the wall after patching it, you will need at least a quarter gallon of matching paint for touchups. If it’s just a tiny hole you can use a dab of paint applied with a soft cloth. If your paint is a high gloss version, you will want to prime the wall before repainting it; high gloss and semi-gloss finishes tend to show the difference in textures much more easily.
- Scrape away any snags or loose debris around the hole with a bit of sandpaper.
- Cover the hole or dent with spackle
- Using the putty knife, scrape away any excess in order to bring the putty level with the wall.
- Give the spackle 24 hours to dry, and then sand it smooth with the sandpaper.
Medium-sized holes are generally bigger than a silver dollar but no larger than 6 inches in diameter. In this case, your drywall repair will be slightly more complicated. You will need to use a patch kit to fix the hole. A patch kit will come with a mesh patch to place over the hole.
- Start by placing the patch over the hole, it should be self-adhesive.
- Using a putty knife, cover the patch with joint compound. Apply in a crisscross pattern, blending the edges with the wall by adding pressure to the outer edges of the patch area.
- Allow the patch and joint compound to dry, applying a second coat of the joint compound as needed.
- Sand smooth once it’s dried.
For much larger holes that a patch kit won’t cover, you will need a new piece of drywall to cover the hole.
- Cut the piece of drywall into a square shape 2 inches wider and longer than the area that needs to be repaired.
- Using a utility knife, score the back of your square of drywall about an inch in from each edge.
- Using the scoring, snap off the thick gypsum, leaving the paper backing intact. (You’ve created your own drywall patch.)
- Place the patch over the hole and trace around the gypsum square (not the entire piece of drywall, i.e. not the paper edge)
- Be sure to check for any electrical wires beforehand, they are commonly attached to a stud, so if you’ve used your stud finder and found there is a stud behind your hole, proceed with caution.
- Cut out this traced square from the wall with your utility knife.
- Apply joint compound to the back of the paper border and then fit the gypsum square into your fresh hole. Press the compound covered paper edges into place.
- Cover the entire drywall patch with joint compound using a putty knife. Feather the edges so it blends in well with the rest of the wall. You may need to apply another coat of compound, allowing it to dry between coats.
- Sand smooth after drying with sandpaper.
- If you’re painting over your patch, make sure to do a final light sanding to give the wall a smooth finish, allowing your primer and paint to go on more efficiently. If your wall is textured, mix 4 parts joint compound with 1 part water in a small bowl. Using a stiff brush, dip it into the mixture and then hold it close to the wall with the bristles up. Using your hand, flick the compound mixture onto the wall by running your finger across the bristles. You can practice this beforehand on a scrap of board.
- If your wall has a knock-down finish, once you’ve flicked your mixture onto the wall, use a putty knife to press down on the compound mixture as it begins to dry.
Another way to attach a piece of new drywall is to attach a furring strip—a small piece of wood—to either side of the hole with screws. This tip can be especially helpful if your hole is exceptionally large.
If you use this tip, make sure to screw the drywall patch into place along the furring strips. Be sure to sink the screws beneath the surface of the drywall.
Another great tip for ensuring your patch stays secure, is to apply joint tape to the borders of your drywall patch. Joint tape is a mesh tape that strengthens the bond between the existing wall and your drywall patch.
You don’t have to be intimidated by holes in your drywall. Whether the damage is large or small, you should be able to confidently make the fix. Save your walls and your wallet today.