Introduction

hole
Photo: David Carmack
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A doorknob swings into the wall one too many times. An electrician moves an outlet box or fishes wire to a new fixture. An energetic teenager Jackie-Chans the Sheetrock. Whether it's by accident or intent, sooner or later, a wall or ceiling gets gored and has to be patched.

Fortunately, it's fairly easy to make a solid, virtually invisible repair. You don't even need to buy a repair kit. A scrap of drywall, a leftover piece of window screening, some joint compound, and a few common tools are all it takes, if you use the hole-patching technique demonstrated on the following Step-By-Step by This Old House general contractor Tom Silva.

Tom's patching method—cut the hole to fit the patch, not the other way around—is virtually foolproof. Working the joint compound is more of an art. "Apply thin coats," he says. "And don't fuss with it. After two or three strokes, leave it alone until it's dry."
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    Tools List

    • drywall saw
      Drywall saw
    • drywall taping knife
      12-inch taping knife
    • six-inch taping knife
      6-inch taping knife
    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • ratcheting screwdriver
      Screwdriver
    • sand paper
      Sander paper

    Shopping List

    1. WINDOW SCREENING

    2. DRYWALL

    3. JOINT COMPOUND

    4. SCREWS

    5. WOOD STRAPPING