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How To Repair A Hole In Drywall

The Best How-to Guide

By Jud Menshal | Dec 4 2023 | Drywall Repair DIY

Before you get started... check this one thing.

This is a picture of a Canadian quarter. This is to measure for size before repairing the drywall.

If a hole is smaller than a quarter, you may be able to patch it without replacing the drywall. May being the keyword here. The depending on the temperature, humidity and products used you can get away without putting in new drywall and without the hole bubbling.

Warning: after reading this, you may choose to contact us, on our home page.

As you may have already discovered, if you've tried to mud/plaster without fixing the drywall first, you'll have noticed how your recently applied mud bubbles, leaving a less than desired look. That is air that does this and it's for this specific reason that the drywall needs to be repaired before mudding or plastering.

How to Repair The Drywall (step-by-step)

This is a before and after of a ceiling drywall repair in a room with wallpaper and a pendant light with 6 globes giving off a warm light
  1. Sand 14" around the damage edge, If high-gloss walls. This will be for mud adhesion.
  2. 1. Identify size of hole
    1. If smaller than a quarter, skip to "Steps for mudding"
    2. If bigger than a quarter, follow next steps
  3. Using a ruler, trace lines for a symmetrical shape around the damage
  4. Using an drywall saw cut the shape into the wall (square/rectangle)
  5. Use the shape to trace lines onto a fresh piece of drywall
    1. Make sure that the new drywall thickness matches the one on the wall
  6. Cut 1/8" smaller shape than the lines you've traced on the new piece of drywall using an exacto/olfa/construction knife.
  7. Install backing for new drywall:
    1. Place a piece of wood into the hole (behind the drywall) and hold it towards you
    2. Screw the existing drywall into the piece of wood that you've placed inside the hole
    3. This piece of wood should cross the hole so that it prevents the new drywall from falling into the wall
  8. Attempt to fit the new drywall piece into the hole
    1. Trim as needed (don't get frustrated) using the knife
  9. Place piece in the wall and screw to your newly installed backing.

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How to Mud/Plaster The Drywall (Step-by-step)

  1. Pick up your hoc and 4" putty knife
  2. Place mud onto your hoc
  3. Take mud and apply to all seams/cracks between old and new drywall
  4. Apply paper tape over the cracks and scrape the tape to remove excess mud from the sides, but not too much from underneath.
  5. Allow to dry
  6. Apply first coat.
    1. Using hoc and trowel, apply mud to the area, feathering out at least 10" around the edge of your repair
    2. Leave as few seams as possible and don't fret about the size of the seam
  7. Point Fan towards patch and allow to dry
  8. Once hard (doesn't have to be completely dry):
    1. Turn your trowel onto its edge
    2. In a pulling motion, scrape the seam off the patch like scratching a mosquito bite.
  9. Apply a second, thinner coat
  10. Point fan towards patch and allow to dry
  11. Mix small amount of water with mud
  12. Apply third coat to patch
  13. Point fan towards patch and allow to dry
  14. Check patch for any imperfections you don't think would be eliminated during sanding
    1. If found, add a 4th skim coat
  15. Sand the patch on a diagonal angle
    1. Ensure the edges are properly feathered out and blended to the existing wall. This is the most important part. If there is too much of a difference, you'll want to apply another coat, otherwise, this will have all been for nothing and you will have to look at your imperfect wall every day.

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How to Prep & Paint The Drywall (step-by-step)

This is a picture of a multicultural family taking a selfie while painting a wall turquoise blue
    Apply primer to patch and over at least 6" of existing paint
  1. Allow to dry
  2. Apply paint to primed area and all sanded area as well as a 3" overlap onto unsanded paint area
  3. Allow to dry
  4. Inspect for colour match
    1. If paints do not match after several day, you may choose to paint entire wall.
    2. Adjacent walls can be left as they are and a big plant of piece of furniture in the corner will blend everything together.

And there you have it. The basics to repairing drywall. Please note that for simplicity's sake, we've left out certain details such as mud brands and consistency, paint colour matching and dry-times as all these factors will depend on the climate and country you live in.

You'll notice we mentioned paper tape as opposed to mesh tape. You'll find that paper-tape has smaller risk of allowing cracking. Also, we highly recommend using paper tape when it comes to corners as it folds nicely into the corner rather than rounding out and making you rearrange things when there's mud everywhere, as you might have to do with mesh in corners.

If you've managed to follow all these steps and have perfectly repaired your wall, we tip our hats off to you. This is not an easy task. If you gave it you best shot and ended up covered in mud and filled the house with cuss words, well, welcome to the club. Many people think that this is an easy task and simply requires common sense. Unfortunately, mudding takes years of practice and dedication to master. It really is more of an art than a trade. Unlike art however, a mudder's work doesn't become more valuable after he or she dies. ;)

If you're not ready to give up and would like to learn this trade, we do offer a comprehensive Drywall Course that can help you gain the skills required for these types of repairs.

If you would like some help with your project or find yourself stumped as you do it yourself, feel free to give us a call and we'll setup a video chat with you to advise you on what we think is best. We love helping people on their projects and like meeting ambitious DIYers, so give us a call anytime.

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Tools And Materials Used For Repairing Drywall

Picture of several drywall knives, a hoc, paper drywall tape and some sanding sponges
  • Hoc – flat metal board to place mud on
  • Trowel – metal board with a parallel handle to spread the mud
  • Putty knife – u shapped tool with a typically black handle
  • Olfa Knife / Exacto Knife / Construction blade
  • Drywall saw
  • Measuring Tape or Ruler
  • Drill with nibbler bit
  • Fan – Any household fan will do
  • Drywall tape
  • Drywall screws
  • Spackle
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Mud – premixed joint compound - preffered brand cgc dust control
  • Paint – try to use the same brand as on the wall to avoid differences

Article By

Jud Menshal | 📚

Jud is a 14 year Asbestos Removal Type 3 & Supervisor certified remediation technician with additional experience and certifications in Mold, Lead and Finishing. He holds all mandatory safety credentials important for running a safe project site.