How to Patch Drywall (Project Summary)

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Sooner or later, most of us will have to mend drywall work, be it for purely cosmetic reasons – for example, to fill nail holes – or for reasons of convenience or safety – for example, a hole has exposed the wiring. While the latter will take more time, you can be sure that there is a do-it-yourself solution, regardless of the scope of the repair. Read on for guidelines on how to patch drywall in small, medium, and large projects.

Patch a small area

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– sandpaper
– putty paste
– spatula

The smaller the hole, the easier it is to patch. Start the process by sanding the area smooth. Then load some putty paste onto your spatula and apply the product directly to the hole. Work in enough paste to leave a small mound over the hole, then press the flat side of the knife firmly against the mound to smooth it out. Finally, wipe the repaired area with the blade in one wide motion, leaving the filled hole perfectly level with the finished drywall. Let the filler dry sufficiently. The drying times vary. For an exact estimate, see the manufacturer’s instructions. Sand lightly when dry.

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– Patch a medium-sized area

TOOLS AND MATERIALS Available on Amazon
– sandpaper
– spatula
– Articulated connection
– Drywall mesh tape

If you’re trying to mend a slightly larger hole – an area an inch or two in diameter – the process gets a little trickier, if only because it’s a material you may not have on hand: mesh tape. (You can purchase mesh tape in either a roll or a pre-cut square.) After sanding, cover the area you want to mend completely with mesh. This will now become the base to which you will add the grout, a product that goes on like putty paste but gives a stronger result. When spreading the grout, pay particular attention to the seams where the mesh tape meets the surrounding drywall. If you can no longer see the tape, use the putty knife to smooth the poured grout, then scrape the surface in wide, smooth motions from side to side for an even finish. Finally, let the grout dry for about eight hours – read the manufacturer’s instructions – before sanding and repainting the wall.

How to mend drywall - big hole

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Patch a large area

TOOLS AND MATERIALS Available on Amazon
– drywall
– utility knife
– drywall saw
– drywall screws
– screwdriver
– Drywall mesh tape
– spatula
– Articulated connection
– sandpaper

A larger patch requires a correspondingly larger expenditure of time and effort. In fact, the patching process here isn’t very different from the one used to initially install your drywall. First, use a drywall saw to cut the problem area evenly. They should have a rectangular hole. If necessary, use a utility knife to clean the edges. If possible – and to do this you may need to make the hole larger than is absolutely necessary – make your hole large enough to expose one of the wall studs. Otherwise, you will have to lay a wooden element horizontally between the two closest studs. Why? You will be filling the hole in the wall with a piece of new drywall, and that piece will need a surface to which it can be securely attached.

Next, use a drywall saw to cut out some of the drywall you procured from either the excess in your garage or the aisles of your local home center. Measure and cut carefully as the piece needs to fit perfectly into the rectangle you cut into the wall. When you are sure you have a tight fit, secure the new drywall to the stud (or horizontal member) with drywall screws.

Using the drywall patch, firmly attach mesh tape to all seams between the patch and the existing drywall. Then load up your putty knife with grout and completely cover the mesh. (Don’t forget to brush the mass over the drywall screws as well.) Use the blade of the putty knife to smooth the mass where it has piled up, then scrape from side to side with wide strokes the seams or top to bottom, depending on the orientation of the mesh. Allow the joint to dry for about eight hours before starting the final phase: sand the patched area and repaint the freshly repaired drywall.

Let a professional do it for you

Get free, no-obligation project estimates from licensed drywall installation and repair professionals in your area.

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