How to Patch Large Holes in Drywall

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Introduction: How to Patch Large Holes in Drywall

About: A husband & wife team. Amateur makers. Expert high fivers. New video every week (or so).

Big holes in drywall (aka anything larger than 6 inches across) are a little bit harder to fix than your usual little holes. They’re too big for a patch like we used before, so you’ll actually need to buy a panel of drywall and patch your hole with that. The one we'll be showing was in our garage when we first moved in. I think someone might have rammed it with their car.

To fix these you’ll need the following tools/materials:

Step 1: Cut Out Damaged Drywall for New Drywall

First you need to cut a hole around your hole. Which I know seems counterintuitive, but it’ll make it possible for you to patch it with a piece of the drywall panel you bought.

Our hole was really big, and the panel we bought was 2 ft x 2 ft, so we held up the panel over the hole and traced it, that way we knew it would fit.

If your hole isn’t quite that big, you would do things a little differently. You’d cut a square around your hole, then cut out a piece of your drywall panel that was the same size. You can either measure your square hole and then measure out what you need to cut from the drywall piece, or if the square you cut out is intact you can trace it onto your drywall piece.

That’s probably easier to do than it is to explain in text, so hopefully that wasn’t confusing. End goal: have a square hole in your wall and a square piece of drywall you can pop into said hole. Once we had the outline of our square, we used a yardstick and utility knife to score along our line. It helps to have one person hold the yardstick and one person cut.

Then we cut through the drywall using our serrated knife.

After it’s cut, you can pull out the drywall chunks so you’re left with a clean square.

You’ll have a rough edge around your cut, so sand it with 150 grit sandpaper and wipe off dust with a paper towel.

Step 2: Attach New Drywall

Now it’s time to attach your piece of drywall as a patch. You need to attach it to something solid. If you have studs behind your hole like we did, you can screw it into those.

If you don’t have studs, you’ll need to grab a piece of 1×4 and attach it inside the hole to the back of the drywall using 1-1/4″ drywall screws. Then, instead of screwing your drywall piece into the studs, you’ll screw it into that.

So we popped our drywall patch into the hole we cut and screwed it into our studs on either side. We did three screws on the left, three on the right.

Step 3: Mesh Drywall Tape and Joint Compound

Then we used the mesh drywall tape to tape around the four edges around the patch. It comes in a roll and is slightly adhesive. It helps the joint compound stick in the gaps.

Get some joint compound on your putty knife and press it over your patch, starting in the middle and feathering it away, making sure to go at least a couple inches past your patch. Let this dry overnight and then come back and do a second coat. You’ll basically repeat the steps from before. First sand over any rough parts and wipe it down. Then apply another coat of joint compound. This time you’ll want to feather the edges a little bit past your original application.

Most tutorials online will recommend doing a third coat as well. If this was inside our house or in an area that wasn’t going to be potentially covered with shelves/pegboards/various other storage type stuff, we would do three too. But for our garage, we decided two was just fine.

Step 4: Paint, Finish, and Enjoy!

I can't believe it took us 3 years to get around to this!! It was totally doable and now our garage looks a lot more finished. Let us know if you have any questions if you do it!!

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    29 Comments

    What's great about your video is how nicely you two work together. I try my best to keep Wifey away from any of my projects. She and I would clash like oil and rocket science.

    just-you-wait-until-tonight-mr-j-fb61e2.jpgIF ONLY SCREAM.jpgHIGH 10.jpg

    I'm often accused of going overboard, but with a patch that size I would have put backing strips across top and bottom for extra support against cracking over time.

    1 reply

    Thanks for the feedback! Next time we might add some using pocket holes (via kreg jig)

    Nice! A hint - when drawing the lines around the initial cutout, I drive two drywall screws through the new board (but not into the corners, and only partway) just enough to help it grip the board while I do the tracing.

    1 reply

    Great tip to keep things from shifting while tracing the board, thanks!

    I wish I found your directions 20 some years sooner! I was renting a house. Which had been raided... Do you know how big a hole you can make with a Glock? Having been a secretary for many years I used the "white out" method. Take left over powdered dust bits, mash them up, color to match current wall color and paste from the edge inward. Use heat gun until dry. Find large mirror and cover patch if more than 2/3 up wall. Low to the floor means use your imagination. Blood spatter? Bleach and hydrogen peroxide....and scrub like a maniac. Remove paint to base and again, match color of wall.... I don't know how well it will hold up or last, but I got my deposit back!

    1 reply

    When you patch another way is to make a blowout patch

    see this site

    http://www.keithsagalow.com/blowout.htm

    Do keep in mind Evan's concept of a blind nailer in the wall and I humbly suggest 3 of them. Doing blow outs gives you the easiest best finish over time. I watched the Sheet Rock guy make these when we had to make holes for wire pulls in insulated walls, and box mounts. They always asked us to cut squared if possible and leave it as hinged flap .

    If you are doing a lot of work in a room and you have time after all the patching is done ,skim the walls before painting a primer and your walls will be awesome.

    To "sand", soak a big clean rag and rub down the walls, you will have very smooth scratch free walls then prime. Remember to keep rinsing the rag

    Also I add plaster powder to my mud before using it in repairs, it sets up much faster, you will loose "pot life" so do small batches. The lower the % of plaster to compound the slower it dries.

    nice instructable

    1 reply

    Thanks for the tip and compliment! We'll try the method of making a flap next time :)

    Some advise. You will miss holes and spots on a wall in bad repair. Do the repairs you see as described, and then prime everything (I use oil-based paint because it adheres better). Now you have a uniform color and can see the missed spots. Fix those, and re-prime over those spots.

    1 reply

    I'm guessing a long but thin damage section of drywall? I would get the 2ft x 2ft piece of drywall and cut out a section bigger than the damage (but keep it square). Score the paper side of the drywall, going through the paper, then you can snap it along that line easily (use a straight edge as a guide). Then hold that new piece up over the damaged section and trace it. Then cut out the damaged section. If there are not studs to attach to, add some wooden strips going across the thin gap by inserting them along the thin section then turning it, then screwing the new wood pieces in via the drywall. Then attach the new drywall via those new strips. Tape and joint compound as usual :) Hope that was helpful and not rambling!!

    That's a good tip on screwing the 1x4 into the old drywall. Thank you.

    1 reply

    Thanks, and no problem!! Glad we explained that clearly enough :)

    Glad to see you used a quality respirator, especially with Kilts primer. That stuff stinks really bad and is not good to breath in for any period of time. Good project to show others how to do such things. Owning a house has its way of educating you in repairing lots of things.

    1 reply

    Thanks!! Yeah super glad we took the plunge into owning a house :) and we don't mess around with our respirators, especially since we use spray-paints for our product sales and we kick up so much dust with woodworking. Really need to make or buy a dust collector soon too. Our shop vac can't keep up.