Patching Holes In Drywall

Unique solutions and products for three common repairs

Plaster
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Drywall is great stuff, but sooner or later you're going to have to repair a dent or hole in it. It's as inevitable as the next stock market correction. You know it's going to happen; you just don't know when.

Patching drywall, regardless of the size of the hole, is fairly simple with the proper tools and techniques. We'll show you how to tackle three common repairs: covering up doorknob dents, patching large holes, and filling in voids caused by sloppy cutting around electrical outlets.

Keep in mind that drywall patching often requires you to do some painting, too. Before beginning a repair, be sure to have the appropriate paint on hand for touch-ups.

Drywall is great stuff, but sooner or later you're going to have to repair a dent or hole in it. It's as inevitable as the next stock market correction. You know it's going to happen; you just don't know when.

Patching drywall, regardless of the size of the hole, is fairly simple with the proper tools and techniques. We'll show you how to tackle three common repairs: covering up doorknob dents, patching large holes, and filling in voids caused by sloppy cutting around electrical outlets.

Keep in mind that drywall patching often requires you to do some painting, too. Before beginning a repair, be sure to have the appropriate paint on hand for touch-ups.

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Doorknob Dents

 

Doorknob Dents

Homax Wall Guard Plate
2. Peel off the backing paper from the Wall Guard Plate, then stick it to the wall directly over the damaged area.
Doorknobs cause the most common and recurring type of damage. If a door is flung open too forcefully and there's no doorstop, the knob can hit the wall with enough force to leave a big dent or even break right through the drywall.

The damaged spot can simply be filled with joint compound or patched with a new piece of drywall, but those repairs won't protect the wall from the next collision. A better, easier fix is to install a protective Wall Guard Plate ($3) from Homax Products. This 5-inch-diameter, adhesive-backed plastic disk is tough enough to withstand any doorknob crash. But perhaps the very best part is that you can finish this repair in only a few minutes.

Start by carefully removing loose bits of gypsum and drywall paper from the damaged area (step 1). Then, peel off the backing paper from the disk and press the disk to the wall directly over the dent (step 2). That's all there is to it. If you like, paint the disk to match your wall (step 3).

Step By Step

1. Tear off any jagged paper edges and remove bits of crumbly gypsum from the area crushed by the doorknob.

2. Peel off the backing paper from the Wall Guard Plate, then stick it to the wall directly over the damaged area.

3. The white plastic plate can be left as is or painted to match the wall. It will accept both oil- and latex-based paints.

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Large-Hole Repairs

 

Large-Hole Repairs

Homax Wall Guard Plate
3. The white plastic plate can be left as is or painted to match the wall. It will accept both oil- and latex-based paints.
When a hole is larger than about 6 inches in diameter, the best approach is to cut out the damaged area and patch in a new drywall piece. There are many different ways to make this repair; one approach we found simple is using the Sheetrock Drywall Repair Kit ($5.50) from U.S. Gypsum Corp. It comes with all the necessary supplies to make the repair, except the new drywall itself.

The first step of the repair is to draw a square or rectangular outline around the hole. Then, in order to remove the damaged area, cut along the lines with a drywall saw (step 1). Next, press the metal clips onto the edge of the drywall around the opening you just cut. Place one clip near each corner, making sure that the narrow spring tabs face out (step 2). Cut a new piece of drywall to fit into the opening, and then press it tightly against the metal clips. Secure the patch by driving two 1/4-inch drywall screws through each metal clip — one screw through the surrounding wall and another through the patch (step 3). Be sure the screwheads are set slightly below the surface without breaking the paper.

Now, break off the two metal tabs protruding from each clip using needlenose pliers (step 4). Cover the seams around the patch with strips of fiberglass-mesh tape (step 5), then apply a coat of joint compound over the entire area (step 6). Feather out the compound at least 4 inches beyond the tape.

Allow the repair to dry overnight. Lightly sand it smooth, then apply a second, thinner coat of compound the next day. You should sand it once more before priming and painting.

Step By Step

1. Use a drywall saw to carefully cut away the damaged section, after you have marked the cut lines on the wall.

2. Install four metal mounting clips onto the edge of the cutout. Be sure the two spring tabs on each clip face out.

3. Cut a new drywall patch to fit the cutout, then secure it with two screws driven into each of the metal clips.

4. Grab onto the metal spring tabs with needlenose pliers and snap them off below the drywall surface.

5. Cover the seams around the drywall patch with strips of self-adhesive, fiberglass-mesh tape.

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Outlet-Hole Patch

 

Outlet-Hole Patch

Sheetrock Drywall Repair Kit
1. Use a drywall saw to carefully cut away the damaged section, after you have marked the cut lines on the wall.
When installing new electrical outlets and wall switches, it's easy to cut the holes for the electrical boxes a bit too big. In some cases, the outlet cover or switch plate won't be able to hide the mistake. Plus, oversize holes allow cold drafts to blow in around the electrical box.

The traditional way to fix this problem is to fill the space with joint compound and apply a single strip of joint tape. Although that approach conceals the damage temporarily, the repair is relatively brittle.

A much better option is to cover the entire area — including the electrical box — with a FibaTape Outlet Repair Patch ($2) from PermaGlas-Mesh. This 7x7-inch fiberglass patch is similar to standard fiberglass-mesh tape, except that it is reinforced with thick diagonal strands of fiberglass. These strands lend the tape superior strength.

Begin by turning off the electricity to the room. Then wipe the wall around the electrical box clean of all dust and dirt. Peel off the backing paper from the patch and stick the patch to the wall (step 1). Be sure that it extends at least an inch past the damaged area.

Next, use a sharp utility knife to carefully cut away the mesh that's covering the front of the electrical box (step 2). Use a 6-inch-wide drywall knife to spread joint compound over the entire patch (step 3). Don't worry if some of the compound oozes into the electrical box; it will break off easily once it has dried. Lightly sand the patch, then apply two thinner coats of compound.

Step By Step

1. After peeling off the backing paper, press the fiberglass-mesh patch to the wall directly over the outlet.

2. Use a sharp utility knife to carefully cut away the mesh section that's covering the electrical box.

3. Apply joint compound over the entire area, spreading it well beyond the 7x7-inch fiberglass-mesh patch.

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Sheetrock Drywall Repair Kit
2. Install four metal mounting clips onto the edge of the cutout. Be sure the two spring tabs on each clip face out.
Where to Find It

Homax Products,
Box 5643
Bellingham, WA 98227
www.homaxproducts.com
800-729-9029

PermaGlas-Mesh
153 W. Broadway
Dover, OH 44622
www.fibatape.com
800-762-6694

United States Gypsum
125 South Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60606
www.usg.com
888-874-2450

 
 

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