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closeup of a hole in drywall

A Guide to Repairing Holes of Varying Sizes in Drywall

Every single homeowner - whether thrifty or not - should know how to patch drywall in their home. It’s a skill that doesn't require hefty tools and knowing that you can make the quick fixes yourself can make a big difference to your experience - and your budget - in your home. When you break a hole in the wall, or one of the kids does, you might think that a professional has to be the one to fix it but it’s just not true!

If you love to get stuck into fixing things yourself, then you’ll be happy to know that you really don't need to spend the money hiring someone to make the fix for you when you can tackle it on your own. It’ll take a day or two including drying time to fix a hole in the wall and all you need to learn is how to patch drywall. Once you’ve learned how to do it, you’ll never look back.

Smaller holes: what you’ll need:

This list is just a general one and the chances are high that you’ll find it easy to get most of this from your garage:

  • Quick drying spackle. You can get this from any homeware store.
  • Putty knife. If you don't have one of these already, a butter knife you’re happy to let go of can do the same job.
  • Sandpaper. You’ll find this in the same homeware store as the spackle.

Making the repairs:

  • Fill the hole in the wall with the quick drying spackle using the knife. This should be easy to do and you can smooth it over with the knife’s edge.
  • Allow it to dry and then lightly sand the area so that it’s flattened along the rest of the wall.
  • Prime and repaint the area.

Medium holes: what you’ll need:

For holes that are a little too large to just spackle, sand and paint, you may need the help of a drywall repair kit instead of the standard spackle and knife. Sure, you’ll still need these items, but the full tool list includes:

How to repair:

  • Cover the hole with the mesh and ensure the mesh is bigger than the hole by an inch all around.
  • Use the knife to apply the spackle to the mesh. Do it thinly, though!
  • Let it dry before sandpapering down to smooth.
  • Prime and paint.

Large holes: what you’ll need:

Larger holes are often tougher but not impossible to do yourself. This will need a lot more than spackle and putty, and be careful about touching or cutting any wires in the wall behind it. You will need:

How to repair:

  • Start by preparing the wall. Remove any of the loose pieces of drywall before you do anything and ensure that the electricity supply is switched off.
  • Mark straight lines beyond the edge of the hole to square it up.
  • Cut out the excess drywall inside the square.
  • Install backer boards inside the wall and secure it with drywall screws.
  • Cut and install the drywall patch and measure and mark it out. You should have less than an eighth of an inch of wiggle room.
  • Tape the joints by taping over the lengths of all the seams. Overlap the tape at the corners and avoid any bubbles or wrinkles created so that you can mud the joints with ease.
  • Use the drywall knife to add a layer of joint compound. This sits on the mesh tape so it should still be visible. After the first layer dries, apply a second and thin layer to further smooth the tape. Then add a third layer of compound and feather it out to blend with the surface of the wall.
  • Get sanding. This is where you don the dust mask and start smoothing out the surface of the drywall compound. Don't be too aggressive with it, however, as too much sanding will show the mesh tape through the compound.
  • Paint and prime. The last step is to apply a couple of coats of primer, allow it to dry and then paint over it. Now that you know how to patch drywall of all sizes, you’ll find it so much easier to do it yourself when you need to.

It’s nice to hire professionals for the big jobs, but you should ensure that you know the basics at the very least as a valuable skill!

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