How to Fix Drywall Holes

fixing drywall
Fixing small and large holes in drywall is pretty easy when you have all the right tools and materials. tacojim/Getty Images


Tough as it is, drywall can withstand only limited abuse. If you open a door with too much force, it can slam into the wall, creating a make a doorknob-size hole into the drywall. This kind of damage looks bad, but is easy to fix. The simplest way is to purchase a drywall repair kit. Measure the hole, and visit your local hardware store or home improvement center for a kit, or buy one online. There are various sizes and types for different applications. For example, a drywall patch for a ceiling is thicker than one for a wall. Before you use the kit, remove any loose paper or plaster around the edges of the hole. Then apply drywall patch, following the manufacturer's instructions.

In this article, we'll tell you how to fix both a small and a large drywall hole. We'll start with a small hole.

Fixing a Small Hole

To make a repair to a small drywall hole, about 6 inches (15 centimeters) or so, without a kit, follow these directions:

Step 1:

The first thing you need to do is get a piece drywall that is the same thickness as the drywall you need to fix. If you don't have any at home, a hardware store will have smaller pieces that you can use. No need to buy an entire sheet.

Step 2:

Measure the patch. It should be large enough to cover the hole and then some. Give yourself a lot of wiggle room — about 2 inches (5 centimeters) on each side of the hole. You don't want the patch piece to be too small. Next, cut the patch square from the larger piece. Turn the patch over and using a straight edge to score the paper back about an inch (2.5 centimeters) from each side with a utility knife. Don't cut all the way through the paper or the gypsum. Next, snap off the loose drywall, but leave the loose paper on the back. Place the patch over the hole in your wall and use a pencil to trace it's outline around the gypsum (don't include the paper hang over when you are tracing).

Step 3:

Let's clean the hole in the wall up. If you have a drywall saw, bully for you. That's the right tool to have. If not, don't worry. You can use that utility knife. Regardless of what blade you use, cut diagonal lines emanating from the hole to all four corners of outline you just traced. This will create a nice square opening. (You don't have to cut diagonally to the corners, although it is easier. Just cut out the damaged portion of the drywall.) If you do cut diagonally to the corners, you'll also need to score the outline of the square with the utility knife. Once scored, snap the pieces of drywall back, and then cut the edges with the utility knife and pull out the drywall so you have a nice, clean square hole.

Step 4:

Next, turn the patch piece face down and apply a thin coat of joint compound to the back of the paper using a putty knife. Turn the patch over. Put the patch over the hole, pressing down on the paper edges. Make sure it's a secure fit. The joint compound will hold the patch in place.

Step 5:

Finally, using a putty knife, apply joint compound on the patch, spreading it out on the wall, as well. It might take two or more coats of compound. It spreads easily, and well, is kinda fun to work with. When the compound dries, sand it smooth with a fine-grain piece of sandpaper. The patch is set for priming and painting.