Project Guide

How to Patch Drywall

Outline the Damaged Area with a Carpenter’s Square
person outlining a damaged portion of drywall
  • Using a carpenter’s square and a pencil or marker, draw a line at least an inch or more above and below the damaged area.
  • Use a stud finder to find the nearest stud on either side of the hole and mark those.
Cut the Sides with a Keyhole Saw or Utility Knife
Cut out sides keyhole saw or utility knife - Patching Large Holes Wallboard
  • Use a saw blade or utility knife to cut along the lines you just drew. When you run into stud, mark and measure ¾ inch farther in, which will be the center of the stud. 
  • The edge of the patch should be directly over the stud so both the existing drywall and patch have support. 
  • Cut along the lines carefully, making several passes with each cut slightly deeper than the previous cut. 
  • Remove the damaged piece of drywall.

Safety: Cut away from your body, not towards yourself.

Cut the Support and Install in the Wall
Cut support install wall - Patching Large Holes Wallboard
  • Cut a 1- x 3-inch piece of scrap lumber or ¾-inch plywood approximately 2 to 4 inches longer than the height of the patch. 
  • Screw these supports vertically behind the opening to keep the patch from cracking. 
  • Hold the support in place and secure it with drywall screws without driving the screws through the drywall.
Cut the Drywall Patch to Size
Cut patch to size - Patching Large Holes Wallboard
  • Using a 2- x 2-inch piece of drywall, measure the repair area. 
  • Cut a piece of drywall to size using a utility knife and carpenter's square.
Install the Drywall Patch with Drywall Screws
Install patch drywall screws - Patching Large Holes Wallboard
  • Position the screws at least an inch from the edges to avoid spitting or crumbling the drywall. 
  • Use a drill to affix the patch in place.
Complete the Drywall Patch
Complete the patch - Patching Large Holes Wallboard
  • Run strips of self-adhesive fiberglass drywall tape around the patch, centering the tape on the seams. 
  • Use a 6-inch drywall taping knife to spread drywall joint compound across the patch and tape to create a smooth, flat surface. 
  • Let the compound dry overnight, and then sand until smooth. Repeat with a second coat. 
  • For a very smooth patch, spread a third coat with a 12-inch drywall taping knife and let dry overnight, and then sand, wipe with a tack cloth and paint the area.

Required Tools and Materials:


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