No matter how careful you are, live in a home long enough, and you'll find yourself with some holes in the walls to patch. And if a small section of wall is really 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.
How to Fill a Small Hole
Fix tiny nail and screw holes:
Tiny nail and screw holes are the easiest to fix. 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.
Fix holes between 1/2 and 11/2 in. diameter:
For holes between 1/2 and 11/2 inch diameter, 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.
Use the kit in 4 steps:
- 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.
- Spread a layer of spackling compound over the patch with a 6-in. drywall knife.
- Let it dry overnight, sand lightly, then apply a second thin layer. If needed, apply a third skim coat after the second one dries.
Note: Use a 6-in. drywall knife to smear spackling compound through the mesh and over each hole. Let the compound dry, then sand lightly.
How to Fix a Medium-size Hole
Holes between 11/2 to 6 in. diameter
Holes ranging from 11/2 to 6 in. diameter must be bridged with an even stronger, more rigid material. We used a 4x4-inch galvanized-metal patch from Homax ($2.25) to repair a 2 1/2-in. diameter puncture caused by a doorknob. The company also makes 656- ($3) and 8x8-in. ($4.25) patches. The patch comes stuck to a 6-in.-sq. piece of adhesive-backed fiberglass mesh.
Install it in 3 steps:
- Peel off the paper backing and press it to the wall centered over the hole.
- Then spread on three coats of compound, letting each dry thoroughly before applying the next.
- The final coat should be at least 12 in. sq. so that the compound at the edges of the patch feathers out to the surrounding wall.
Note: For medium-size holes, peel off the backing sheet from the metal patch to expose the adhesive. Then press the patch to the wall.
How to Patch a Large Hole
Fix Holes larger than 6 in. diameter
Repairing a hole that's larger than 6 in. diameter doesn't require much—all you need are two short 1x3s and a scrap piece of drywall.
Patch a big hole in 9 steps:
- Start by cutting the ragged hole into a neat square or rectangle.
- Slip one of the 1x3s into the wall cavity and screw it to the edge of the cutout; be sure it overlaps into the hole by 1 1/4 in.
- Then attach the second 1x3 to the opposite side of the cutout.
- After cutting a piece of drywall to fit into the cutout, apply a bead of construction adhesive to the face of each 1x3.
- Secure the patch to the 1x3s with 1 1/4-in.-long drywall screws.
- Spread a thick coat of joint compound around the edges of the patch
- Use the drywall knife to firmly press paper tape into the compound; this will hide the joints.
- After the compound has dried completely, sand it smooth and apply at least two more thin coats of compound.
- Lightly sand the final coat, prime the area and brush on two coats of paint, letting the first dry thoroughly before applying the second.
Note: Cover the metal patch with a coat of joint compound. Then gradually feather the edges to blend the patch into the wall.
Where To Find It:
1610 6th St., Dept. TH1197 Bellingham, WA 98225
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