How To Patch a Hole in Your Drywall
by Ethan Hagan
Art of Manliness
How to repair
drywall is one of the most common questions on a home improvement
website, and here’s the reason why. It’s tough to
successfully patch a wall so that you can’t even tell it
was ever damaged. With drywall covering just about every square
inch of your house, condo, or apartment, it’s bound to get
messed up so take my advice. Learn the right way to repair holes
in your drywall or make friends with someone who can.
is going to walk you through the process of repairing a medium-sized
hole in drywall. Once you master this skill, it’ll serve
you well for the rest of your life (or until people quit hanging
drywall in their homes).
the materials you’ll need before you get started.
- Mesh tape
compound (see below)
boards (see below)
A typical sheet of drywall measures 4′ x 8′, and that’s
way more than we need for this project. Most home improvement
centers sell smaller 2′ x 2′ sections which are great
for making repairs. Plus, you can save the “leftovers”
for the next time. Drywall is available in several thicknesses.
Most interior walls utilize 1/2″ drywall, and ceilings are
usually 1/2″ or 5/8″.
tape: If you look around online, you’ll see lots
of debate over paper tape vs. mesh tape. I think mesh is easier
to work with, and I have total confidence using it for repairs.
If you talk to enough contractors, you’ll learn that it
really comes down to personal preference more than anything else.
need to screw the new piece of drywall into something, and a
backer board gives us that surface. Size your backer board so
that you can finagle it inside the hole.
Compound: Setting compound (a.k.a. hot mud) is a powder
that you mix with water. Unlike joint compound which dries through
evaporation, setting compound dries through a chemical reaction,
shrinks very little and dries very hard. Setting compound is differentiated
by setting time (in minutes), and you’ll find 5, 20, 45,
90, etc. Pick a setting compound based on your skill level. For
instance, if you’re new to patching drywall, 45 gives you
a nice window in which to work.
It’s important to understand that mud that has “set
up” isn’t completely dry. Once the mud has set up,
it’s safe to apply another coat. Let the mud fully dry
overnight before you attempt to sand it.
Boards: To repair a medium-size hole, you’ll need
some sort of backer board, and I used a small piece of 1/4″
/ driver or screwdriver
- 100 grit
A good drywall knife is made from stainless steel, and has a
metal heel for pushing defects into the surface of the drywall.
1: Square the Hole
thing you need to do is cut the hole into a square or rectangle.
It may seem counterintuitive to make the hole bigger,
but cutting a circular (or other oddly-shaped) piece of drywall
is more work than it’s worth. Grab your drywall saw and
square up the hole.
2: Add the Backer Board
like to fit the backer board inside the hole and then start
a screw to give me something to hold onto.
screws in to hold the backer board in place, and be sure to countersink
the screws just below the surface of the drywall. See below.
3: Cut a New Piece of Drywall
your drywall saw to cut a new piece of drywall that fits into
4: Cover the Joints with Tape
tape has adhesive on one side which makes it easier to position.
Use the tape to cover all the edges.
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© 2012 The Art of Manliness