How To Patch Drywall Holes

by Dave The Handyman on January 15, 2010

Ok you are more than likely here because you have a hole in your drywall and you want to patch it, repair it, just  make it look better for a reason or two. One of the reasons that you may want to learn how to patch drywall is that it just looks ugly. Not only that, the longer you leave that hole in the drywall, the more cool air will escape if you are trying to cool the home or apartment, vice versa if you are trying to heat the place.

Another reason that you may want to patch a hole in the drywall is if you are renting, and you want that security deposit back when you lease is up. Patching drywall holes can be done very easily, and it is better than getting charged 40 bucks and up per hole by the landlord when you lease is up. If you are a home owner, then you more than likely want your home to look good, and there is no sense in hiring a contractor to patch the holes in your walls when you can DIY, unless of course you have money to spend on that and want to help out the fellow contractors do to job security. But if you want to save money and learn something that will live with you for a life time, like how to patch drywall holes,without going the easy route in purchasing a drywall repair kit, then stick around and learn something.

Let’s look at some of the tools that you are going to need to be able to patch a hole in the drywall. As you can see in this do-it-yourself tutorial the tools that you are going to need to repair a small hole in the wall are wall compound, drywall screws, drill, a razorblade to cut the drywall, a piece of wood to hold the drywall in place, a drywall knife, a putty knife, and a beer (optional, not recommended though). For the finish you will also need some sandpaper, paint and a paint brush. Below will be several pictures to help explain what I am typing better, just click to enlarge the image a little bit.

First thing that you are going to want to do when you are patching small or medium sized holes in drywall is get a piece of wallboard and cut it just a little bit larger than the hole, enough to have plenty of room to work with. In the picture below I cut the drywall maybe too small but for the purpose of this diy home repair tutorial I am going to make it work.

Next thing that I am going to want to do once I got my piece of drywall the size that I want it is to put it over the hole and trace it out on the wall, I am using a pen in this picture but I highly recommend using a carpenters pencil if you can, I just did not have one laying around in my apartment at the time and needed to get this drywall hole patched immediately.

Now you have the line that you want to cut out, it is recommended that you draw an arrow on the piece of drywall pointing up, so you know exactly how to position it when it is time to insert it into the hole. Next grab your drywall knife, I highly recommend that you use this as it makes nice accurate cuts, they are fairly cheap and I love them, they make repairing wall boards so much easier.

Now we have a nice even hole in the drywall, and we also have a piece of drywall that is going to fit right into that hole. Now we have to have something that is going to keep the drywall patch in place and at the same time be sturdy. There are many ways that you can do this, I will show you the way that I do it. You are going to need a piece of wood that is just a bit longer than the width of the hole that you just cut into the drywall, I say width because that is the way I am fixing it in this tutorial, if you want to go up and down then go up and down, to me it really doesn’t matter. If I had a stud right next to the hole that I cut I may have wen up and down, but it really don’t matter. Insert the piece of wood into the hole, don’t drop it, and pull it against the drywall.

Make sure that you have your drill in hand and also a drywall screw, then just drill to the right of the drywall, make sure that you are using a little bit of force to pull the piece of wood towards you until the screw is hooked in. The trick to a nice drywall patch it to get the screw barely beneath the top of the drywall, this way it is easier to cover when it comes time to apply the wall compound.

Do the same to the other side, there is really no need for more than two screws unless you are fixing a hole that is much larger than this one. You just want a sturdy backboard to mount the patch on, it’s like you are making a stud and using the surrounding drywall to your advantage.

As you can see here we are almost done, and with that being said I think that I am going to take a sip of beer to quench my thirst, you can skip this step if you want to.

Now you want to take that piece of drywall that we initially used to trace the hole that we cut and just insert it into the hole against the wood. Now it may fit perfectly, but there are some cases where you may need to shave a little off to make it fit into the hole more easy. No worry’s as all you have to do is shave a little off the edge with a razor, enough to where it is going to fit into the hole.

Once you have it in there, drill a couple drywall screws into the piece of wall board to make it a little more secure. Then you are almost done as all you have to do is grab your putty knife and apply the wall compound. The trick to making this not look like a patch is to get the drywall patch as even as you can with the drywall around it, and make sure that you have the screws into the drywall and not sticking out at all, but do not go to far as you can crack the drywall.

Another trick to make the patch look like it is not a patch is to cake the compound on the putty knife and apply it all over the patch, do not worry so much as to making it perfectly smooth but you do want to try to a little bit. Now give it about 24 hours for the compound to dry and harden. Now all you have to do is sand the dried compound down with some sandpaper until it is nice and smooth. Then apply the same color paint, and it should look like there was never a hole there in the first place. :)

Now there is another option when it comes to patching drywall holes, and if you do not have all the tools that I went over and want to skip all that bullshit, go to your local hardware store or search online and get yourself a drywall hole repair kit. Some of these drywall repair kits will come with everything you need to patch the small hole, it will come with a mesh that will stick to the wall, and usually a small container of stucco or wall compound, along with the putty knife, the only thing they do not come with are the paint and the paint brush.

There are step by step instructions on most of these types of kits, so there is really no need for me to go over them, even though I do not use them anyway.

Just remember though, drywall hole repair kits only work good on small holes and do not look as professional as the steps mentioned above, but it makes the job a hell of a lot easier especially if you are just learning how to patch drywall holes.

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