Project Guide

How to Patch Drywall

Outline the Damaged Area
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
Person cutting out a piece of drywall around damage.
  • Use a saw blade or utility knife to cut along the lines you just drew. When you run into a stud, mark and measure a 3/4 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
Person inserting support piece inside cut-out space of drywall.
  • Cut a 1 x 3-inch piece of scrap lumber or 3/4-inch piece of 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
Person inserts drywall patch to perfectly fit into cut-out.
  • Using a 2 x 2-inch piece of drywall, measure the repair area. 
  • Cut a piece of drywall to size using a drywall knife and carpenter's square.
Install the Drywall Patch
Person drilling drywall patch into a cut-out space.
  • Position the drywall 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
Person applying drywall tape over drywall patch.
  • 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 drywall hole repair, spread a third coat with a 12-inch drywall taping knife and let dry overnight, then sand, wipe with a tack cloth and paint the area.

Once you have learned how to patch a hole in the wall, you can do this simple repair to patch drywall anywhere in your home. Learning how to patch drywall yourself can also save you money as you won't need to bring in a professional to fix a hole in drywall. As a renter, it is vital to know how to patch a hole in drywall so that you can make any needed repairs before you move out of a rental property. 

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