drywall holes
Photos by: Merle Henkenius
FOR SMALL HOLES, PRESS THE sticky fiberglass mesh over the openings. The plumbing holes shown here are left over from when an old sink was removed.
Live in a home long enough, and you'll have to patch holes in the walls. Whether they're neatly punched out by knobs on swinging doors or broken open by rough-housing kids, holes happen - no matter how careful you are. Remodeling also creates some holes when plumbing pipes and electrical outlets are removed. And if a small section of wall is 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.
SMALL-HOLE REPAIR
Tiny nail and screw holes are easiest: Use a putty knife to fill them with spackling or wall joint compound. Allow the area to dry, then sand lightly. Anything larger must be covered with a bridging material for strength before patching compound can be applied. For holes between 1/2 and 11/2 in. dia., bridge the gap with a piece of adhesive-backed fiberglass mesh. We used a repair kit from Manco (less than $2) that includes a pair of 8x8-in. mesh squares. First, hand-sand around the hole to smooth any rough spots. Wipe off any sanding dust with a damp cloth. Then cut a piece of fiberglass mesh to overlap the hole by at least 1 in. on all sides. Peel off the paper backing and press the mesh to the wall (photo 1). Spread a layer of spackling compound over the patch with a 6-in. drywall knife (photo 2). Let it dry overnight, sand lightly, then apply a second thin layer. If needed, apply a third skim coat after the second one dries.
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