How to Patch Holes in Drywall
TOH general contractor Tom Silva shows how to patch-up drywall, in under 10 steps
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.
Many people don't know where to start when they're learning how to patch a large hole in drywall. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to make a solid, virtually invisible repair. You don't even need to buy a repair kit. There aren't any special tools needed for drywall repair. 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."
Cut out the patch
Find a scrap of drywall that's the same thickness as the damaged drywall, and cut out a square-cornered patch big enough to cover the hole. Place the patch over the hole and pencil its outline on the damaged wall. Draw an X on the wall above the hole and an arrow on the patch that points at the X so you'll know how to orient the patch in Step 6.