Drywall Taping and Finishing

How to Fix and Repair a Hole in Drywall

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Everybody who has drywall (sheetrock) walls will eventually get a hole in one of the walls and need to do a drywall repair.  Most commonly, a door knob will punch through a wall.  The instructions on this page provide all the steps to repair such a hole. Is your hole much bigger? If so, watch the 10-part Video Series on Large Hole Repair.

Here is a picture of the hole: 

Step 1 - Cut out a square area in the drywall just big enough so the edges are clean as shown here.

Step 2 - Cut out two strips of plywood that are about 4 inches longer than the hole. Don't use plain wood since it may split when screws are fastened.

Step 3 - Place the wood strips inside the hole and fasten with drywall screws as shown below. Stay about an inch or more from the edge of the drywall when applying screws.

Step 4 - Cut a patch piece of drywall about an eighth of an inch smaller in each dimension. Fasten the patch piece securely as shown here.

Step 5 - Use a 4 or 5 inch putty knife to place a very thin coat of joint compound (mud) extending several inches beyond the edges of the hole as shown here. Don't put too much compound on or you will create a wavy or bumpy surface.

Step 6 - After the mud is thoroughly dry, use a dry 10-inch knife to knock off any bumps or high spots. Hold the knife perpendicular to the surface and scrape until the surface is level as shown here (Note: this was a picture from finishing an outside corner)  .

Step 7 - Use the 4-inch knife to apply another coat of mud that is about 1 or 2 inches beyond the first coat.  Wet down the 10-inch knife and draw off most of the compound by applying steady pressure while moving the knife across the surface as shown here. Avoid leaving too much mud on the wall!

Step 8 - Scrape the surface down with the dry 10-inch knife as you did in step 6.  Don't sand yet!

Step 9 - Repeat Step 7 and place another coat that 1 or 2 inches beyond the last coat.  Use the wetted down 10-inch knife to draw down the surface. You may need to make several passes to draw down the entire surface.

Step 10  - Again, scrape down the dry surface with the dry 10-inch knife. Get your surface level and free of bumps or ridges by using your knife to level things out. Don't sand yet!

Step 11 - Place another coat of mud that overlaps the edge of the area as shown below.  Use the wetted down 10-inch knife to draw down the surface to make this a very thin coat - this will be your final coat except for touch up.

As you can see on the right, most of the compound is drawn off with the 10-inch knife.

Step 12 - Scrape down the surface again with the dry 10-inch knife and the dry 4-inch knife.  I find I can apply more pressure with the 4 inch knife gripped with 2 hands. Knock off any ridges or high spots.  Don't sand yet.

Step 13  - Take a trouble light or lamp and shine a low angle light on the surface of your drywall repair.  Apply small amounts of well thinned out mud with your 4 inch knife to fill in scratches, depressions, pinholes or other defects.  Immediately use the 4 inch knife to scrape off most of what you applied.

Step 14 - Scrape down the surface again with either dry knife.  Then, sand very lightly with 220 grit or 400 grit paper.  If needed touch up with small amounts of mud again. The entire area from this small hole ended up being 15 inches across, but the end result is a surface that shows no trace of damage.

Step 15 - Prime your wall with a latex primer suited for drywall (most are). Then paint to match the existing wall. For best results, reprime and paint an entire section of the wall up to a corner or doorway. Remember to show your friends the nice job you did on this drywall repair. Tell them about this web site drywallinfo.com !

Here's the patched area, primed and painted.  Even with the low angle light (see on right), there is no sign of the drywall repair to be found!

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