by Harriet Bond
(San Francisco, CA, USA)
There are many reasons that your drywall may have a hole in it. Perhaps you had some new electrical outlets put in, or a pipe repaired. Or maybe someone accidentally bashed a chair into the wall just a little too hard. Whatever the reason, it is possible to patch drywall without paying a handyman half your monthly salary.
First, you will need to find a way to support your patch. That means finding the studs nearest the hole. You can do this by knocking on the wall until you find a part that sounds solid instead of hollow. Or, a far easier method is to use an electronic stud finder. If the hole is particularly large, you might even be able to seethe studs in it.
You will need to carefully measure and use a metal ruler to mark a rectangle around the edges of the hole, making sure that the corners are a perfect 900. Mark a piece of extra drywall with the same measurements. Cut the patch out and then cut out the rectangle in the wall. It’s a good idea to double or even triple measure before doing any actual cutting.
When you are cutting drywall, use a protective mask and goggles to prevent inhalation of the dust. You can use a serrated kitchen knife or a drywall saw to cut the drywall, taking care to make the corners nice and square so the patch will fit right into the hole.
To support the new patch, you will need two or more (depending on the size of the hole) pieces of wood that are cut to fit snugly between the studs on either side of the hole. Slide the support pieces into the hole and wedge them in tightly, one at the top and one at the bottom… This requires very careful measuring, and you may want to cut a tad long on the first attempt. Once you have the pieces wedged in tight against the front of the wall, you can secure them with drywall screws.
Now, fit the patch into the hole and set it therewith drywall screws, screwing the patch to the two support pieces behind it. How many screws you need will depend entirely on how large the patch needs to be, you should have at least one screw every three or four inches Don’t worry if there are gaps around the edges of the patch, that’s the next step.
Use joint compounds to fill in any cracks and smooth them out with a putty knife. Once the compound is nearly dry, you can feather the edges with a damp rag or sponge to make it smoother. Let it dry completely, and then apply seam tape, being careful to cut it exactly, so there are no overlaps as you apply it to all four sides of the drywall patch. Now you are ready to finish the whole project off.
One last coating of joint compound will finish the construction part ofthe job. When this has dried, you can simply sand it down level and then paint over the patch so it matches the rest of your wall. It’s recommended that you paint the entire wall, as a single patch may be noticeable.
As you can see, it is time consuming to repair a hole in your drywall, but the savings are worth it and it isn’t that difficult. You can avoid having to call in a handyman next time someone punches a hole in the wall, and just fix it yourself!