How to Repair a Hole in Drywall
What is drywall?
Drywall, also called sheetrock, is the material that makes up the walls in most homes today. Drywall is popular in modern construction due to its ability to be cut, shaped, and finished easily. Drywall is also relatively inexpensive and is lightweight in comparison to other materials used in wall construction.
Drywall is made of a powdery rock-like substance called gypsum. The gypsum is held between two paperboards that hold it together. Drywall is a non-combustible wall material that is easily cut and shaped to allow for all sorts of applications in your home.
The only downside to drywall is that it’s easily susceptible to damage and can be easily scratched, dented, or have holes put in it. As a DIY parent, having the knowledge and experience of fixing holes in drywall has saved me time and money. Let’s get into how to repair a hole in drywall from the first step to the last.
Many of these tools I have on hand. Check out Top 5 Tools Every DIY Parent Should Own for suggestions on tools to own for all types of projects. Generally, you will need these supplies to repair your damaged drywall:
· Drywall screws
· Joint compound
· Drywall tape (I prefer the adhesive kind because it makes life a lot easier)
· Drywall joint knife
· Small hand saw
· Utility knife
· Scrap piece of drywall
· Straight edge
· Measuring tape
1. Find and Measure the Damage
First, you’re going to want to find the damaged spot and clean away any debris that might be hanging out of the wall. You will want to measure the size of the damaged portion of drywall in order to know what size of a piece you will need for replacement.
If you’re anything like myself, I usually have pieces of drywall scrap lying around my basement from past projects. Depending on the size of the damage, there might be no need to buy a new piece of drywall. Whenever I finish a project involving drywall in my home, I tend to keep anything larger than half a foot in width, for these such occasions.2. Plot Your Cut
Using your measuring tape, mark a line a few inches (about 3 inches is good) outside of the hole on each of the sides, top, and bottom. Next, using your straight edge draw a line from each of the marks to form a square around the damaged spot.
Note: We measure a few inches outside of the hole to give ourselves a bit of room to work. Cutting out an area of drywall that is slightly larger than the damaged portion will ensure that we have removed all of the damage and can accurately measure our replacement piece.
3. Cut Out the Damaged Drywall
Beginning from the damaged spot, use your hand saw to work your way to the line that you marked previously. Once you reach this line, turn your hand saw so that you follow the line to the best of your ability. Alternatively, at this point, you could switch to a jigsaw or something similar. Our goal is to get a near-perfect square cut out of the wall. Once this section is cut out, be sure to clean the area with a small broom and make sure there is no debris leftover.
4. Measure Your Replacement Piece
Now you will want to measure out a replacement piece of drywall to replace the one you previously cut out. Using the measurements from the square you cut from the wall, plot a new square onto a scrap piece of drywall. You will want to get this piece to fit snug into the hole, but not have to force it by any means. Once you have your square plotted, you can cut it from your scrap piece using your hand saw or utility knife.
5. Position and Secure the Patch
On this step, we will take our replacement piece of drywall and ensure that it fits snug into the hole we cut out of the wall. If there is a stud exposed in the hole, you can use a drywall screw and your drill to secure the piece. If you do not have a stud exposed, use your adhesive drywall tape to tape all of the seams on the inserted piece of drywall.
Once your repair piece of drywall is secured into place, begin using your joint knife and compound to evenly cover the tape and seams. You only need a thin layer of joint compound here, as you will be needing to sand this smooth later to match your wall. The joint compound will take approximately 24 hours to dry.
6. Finishing up
From this point on your repair is practically finished. Sand the patched section of the drywall joint compound down so that it will match the rest of the wall. Take care not to sand too much as you could expose the seams or joint tape.
After sanding, clean the entire area making sure there is no dust or debris leftover. Once cleaning is finished, you can prime and paint the repaired section of drywall. And you’re done!
Note: It is likely that the piece of drywall used to patch the section of damaged drywall will not be primed for paint. I highly suggest priming your drywall before painting it, as unprimed drywall will tend to soak up and not hold plain paint well. For larger projects, check out my articles on How to Replace Your Drywall and How to Paint a Room.