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Repairing Holes In Drywall

It is difficult or very expensive to find someone to repair holes in drywall. However, there is no need to hire a professional. Repairing holes in drywall is a project for even a novice home handyman.

Holes less than 1 1/2 inches:

If the hole in the drywall is less than 1 1/2 inches it is repairable by using spackle, as shown in Figure 1 and no patch should be needed.

Spackling Compound
Figure 1 - Spackling Compound

It may be necessary to lay 2 or 3 layers of spackle over the hole, as the spackle will sag as it dries. Make sure that the layer is completely dry before adding the next layer. Use a putty knife with a blade width that is larger than the width of the hole.

Use a putty knife, as shown in Figure 2, not a scraper to lay the spackling compound. A putty knife has some flex in it and a scraper does not.

putty knife
Figure 2 - Putty knife

Note: A metal putty knife works much better than plastic.

Holes larger than 1 1/2 inches:

As a general statement spackle will not fill holes that are larger than 1 1/2 inches, as shown in Figure 3. The reason being that the spackle cannot support itself when it is wet.

Large hole in drywall
Figure 3 - Large hole in drywall

There are drywall hole patch kits available, however these are usually a self adhesive mesh that sit above the surface of the drywall and hence after adding either joint compound or spackle it is necessary to feather the seam out for at least 12 inches or it will be very noticeable. It takes a lot of practice to feather out drywall compound so that you cannot see the repair.

Some of the drywall repair kits come complete with spackling compound, putty knives and all the necessary repair pieces, as shown in Figure 4.

The better way of repairing a large hole is to place a piece of drywall in the hole and use joint compound or spackle to fill the gap. Although this may sound obvious, the problem is how to support the piece of drywall in the hole. The most convenient method is to mount the piece of drywall to a wood support.

Drywall hole repair kit
Figure 4 - Drywall hole repair kit

Figures 6 and 7 outline the method for repairing a large hole in drywall. This method can be used on walls as well as ceilings. The repair will stay in place indefinitely and if some patience is taken when sanding the joint compound or spackle between the drywall pieces will be unnoticeable.

wood placed behind hole in drywall
Figure 6 - Mount a piece of wood behind the drywall hole

Before inserting the piece of wood, make sure that all loose pieces of drywall and any loose pieces of paper have been removed from the hole.

If you have a problem cutting a piece of drywall to fit, there are 2 methods that you can use.

  1. The first method is to make the hole square by using a drywall saw.
  2. The second method is to place chalk on the edge of the hole and push a piece of drywall against the hole. The chalk will leave a layout mark of the cut to be made.
piece of drywall attached to wood
Figure 7 - Mount drywall to the piece of wood

Use joint compound or spackle to cover the screw heads and sand.