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No matter how careful you are, live in a home long enough, and you’ll find yourself with some holes in the walls to patch. And if a small section of wall is really badly stained or damaged, you’ll have to cut out the affected area and cover the hole with a drywall patch.
Fortunately, fixing holes in drywall doesn’t require a lot of time or experience. Wall-repair kits, available at home centers and hardware stores, make it even easier. How you should proceed with your repair depends on the size of the hole you have to fix.
- Drywall sander
- Drywall saw
- Dust mask
- Taping knife
- Utility knife
- Drywall screws
- Drywall tape
- Joint compound
How to patch a large hole in drywall: Overview
Measure the thickness of the drywall (most likely 1/2 in.), and look for a large enough scrap from a damaged piece at a home center as you see how to fix a hole in drywall, rather than buy a full 4 x 8-ft. sheet. Cut it to size and screw it into place, spacing the screws every 6 in. Taping the edges of the patch drywall to make it invisible is the trickiest part of the how to fix drywall job. Buy a gallon tub of drywall compound and a roll of paper tape. You can use mesh tape, but it isn’t as strong. If you have a lot of repairs, also buy a sack of 20-minute setting compound. It hardens quickly and doesn’t shrink, so it’s ideal for filling cracks and gaps before applying the joint tape. For smoothest results, also pick up flexible 6- and 10-in. taping knives.
Apply a coat of compound and tape to each joint. Thin the compound a bit with water to help embed the tape. Smooth the tape with the 6-in. knife, pulling out from the center toward each end. Squeeze some, but not all, of the compound out from under the tape so you don’t create a big hump on the wall. Immediately apply a light coating to the topside of the tape, tapering it out onto the wall.
The second and third coats are to blend and smooth the taped joints so they’ll be invisible when painted. After each coat is dry, set a straightedge against the wall to check for obvious dips and bumps. Knock off bumps and ridges with your taping knife. Add more coats as needed. Then sand, prime and paint. The following will walk you through more important tips and steps for how to fix a hole in the wall.
Check for wires
Before cutting out the damaged area of this how to fix drywall project, check the wall for obstructions. Often you’ll find a wire, pipe or duct. If so, work carefully around them with a drywall or keyhole saw. Or make a shallow cut by repeatedly scoring the line with a sharp utility knife to begin a hole patch. It’s easier to add backer board than to try to cut the drywall over studs as you learn how to fix drywall. Then cut out the section with a drywall saw or utility knife.
Insert backer boards
Cut the backer boards about 4 in. longer than the height of the hole. Pine or other soft wood works well. Hold them tight to the backside of the drywall when fastening them. Hold the boards carefully so the screw points won’t prick your fingers if they pop out the backside. The drywall screws will draw the boards in tight. Sink the screwheads slightly below the drywall surface.
Tape the joints
Lay a 1/8-in.-thick bed of patch drywall compound over the joints and press paper tape into the compound with a flexible 6-in. knife. Immediately apply a thin layer of compound on top of the tape. Allow to dry as you work your way through this how to patch drywall project.
Apply a second and third coat
Apply a second coat of compound, drawing it at least 6 in. beyond the edge of the first coat to taper the edges of the repair. Let dry, then add a third coat to smooth any remaining uneven areas.
Sand the dry compound
The final steps in how to fix a hole in the wall are to sand the dry compound lightly with 100-grit sandpaper to remove ridges and blend edges. Prime and paint.
Need Help fixing a large hole in drywall?
If your drywall is damaged- due to a crack, leak, or a hole, leave it to our professionals from Priceless Painting. We perform drywall repairs, making sure that edges of the repair are invisible and the final results are not noticeable.