How to Repair a Large Hole in Drywall

  • 01 of 07

    Repairing a Large Hole in Drywall

    A main painting plaster into place
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    Repairing larger holes in drywall up to about 24 inches square is different than repairing a small hole in drywall. When patching a larger hole, you need to provide an actual drywall patch and also the structural support for the patch. This tutorial will walk you through the steps involved in this repair.

    Needed Tools and Materials

    • Length of 1x4 or 2x4
    • Section of drywall wallboard larger than the damaged area
    • Coarse thread drywall screws 1" to 1-1/2" long
    • Minimum 6" wide
    • Wallboard Joint Compound
    • Framing Square
    • Wallboard Saw
    • Drywall Sanding Block or Sanding Screen
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  • 02 of 07

    Prepare Opening

    Unlike a small hole in the drywall where you need only cover the hole with an adhesive mesh/metal drywall patch, holes larger than 8 inches are going to be patched with a piece of drywall. The area receiving the patch will need to have the edges made neat and clean to prepare for the installation of the wallboard patch.

    Using a straightedge, or preferably a framing square, mark off a square or rectangular section around the large hole or damaged drywall area.

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  • 03 of 07

    Install Support Blocking

    The patch will be supported and fastened to two of the sides of the opening with wood support blocking. The approach I will explain supports the wallboard patch in all four corners, which is important.

    • Cut two lengths of scrap wood 4" to 6" longer than the longest length of the opening.
    • Make sure the wood is at least a nominal 4" inch width such as a 1x4 or a 2x4.
    • Place one length of wood along the longest edge inside the hole so that half the width is over the opening and the other half is over the existing wallboard.
    • Position the blocking so that you have an equal overlap of the wood board at each end of the opening.
    • Hold the board in this position and fasten in place with 1" to 1-1/2" long drywall screws.
    • Place a screw at each end and about 6" apart along the length of the opening.
    • Repeat with the other side.
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  • 04 of 07

    Install Drywall Wallboard Patch

    This next step involves installing the raw drywall patch. Measure the thickness of the existing wall or ceiling you're repairing and make sure to use the same thickness of wallboard for the patch. In 90% of cases, it will be 1/2" thick.

    • Measure the opening of the area to receive the patch.
    • Cut a piece of drywall to fit the opening.
    • Place the patch in the opening with the light colored paper side out
    • Fasten to the blocking supports with the drywall screws in each corner and approximately 6" apart along the lengths of the opening.
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  • 05 of 07

    Tape the Joints of the Drywall Patch

    Although you could use paper drywall joint tape and drywall mud, the repair is easier using a fiberglass mesh adhesive-backed joint tape. I like it because it is stronger than paper tape and does not require drywall mud bedding.

    • Cut lengths of the fiberglass mesh tape and adhere to the joints of the patch.
    • Make sure to cover each length of the seam with its own continuous piece of tape.
    • Overlap the corner joints.
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  • 06 of 07

    Apply Wallboard Joint Compound

    Use the wallboard joint compound. Joint compound is not the same as spackle. Spackle is thicker and is made for smaller hole repairs, for example, nail holes or small dings. Because spackle is thicker, it won't spread as easily and if used in this application, will make the finishing work difficult and will look poor.

    • Using a wide blade wallboard taping knife, you must trowel on the wallboard joint compound over the mesh joint tape.
    • Make sure to cover all the pores in the adhesive mesh and to extend the compound past the joint by at least 6" to blend into the surrounding area (feathering).
    • Let dry and then sand smooth with a sanding block or drywall sanding screen. Please do not just use sandpaper and your hand as you will never get the sanding flat and it will look poor when painted.
    • Repeat the application of joint compound, feathering and sanding as necessary to get a smooth seam on all the joints.
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  • 07 of 07

    Prime Patched Area and Finish Paint

    Once the repair is smooth and feathered, look at it from side angles to see if it looks smooth.

    • Prime the repaired area with an appropriate for the type of paint you're using.
    • A great way to help conceal the patch is to use a small roller with a medium nap. If you brush the primer on the wall, it will have a different texture to the surrounding wall paint.
    • Once the wall is primed and dried, paint with the same wall paint you have on the wall or repaint the wall entirely if you can't get a good match.