Drywall Repair the Old School Way




About: A northern Californian Contractor with a very eclectic background from all phases of construction to professional snowboarding to reverse engineering of anything.

Intro: Drywall Repair the Old School Way

This is a no-nonsense way of repairing sheetrock the old school way as shown to me by an old timer. The best part about it is you use no sheetrock tape just the sheetrock itself and a little bit of sheetrock mud.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Utility knife
6" sheetrock broadknife (putty knife)

Framing Square

All purpose joint compound (sheetrock mud)
A piece of sheetrock that is roughly 1" larger (on all sides) than the hole in your sheetrock that needs repair. (So if the drywall that needs repaired is 3"×3" then you would need a piece of drywall roughly 5"x5")

120 grit drywall sanding sheets

drywall sanding pad

Step 2: Let's Get Busy!

First and foremost you need some damaged sheetrock. Ok, simple enough. Once you've selected an area requiring some attention, gather up the necessary tools and materials.
Start off squaring up the damaged drywall with your framing Square and utility knife. Once you are done with that move continue to the next step.

Step 3: Preparing the Patch

Once you're done squaring up the hole, measure it and add a minimum of 1" all the way around the hole. Mark on the backside of said patch the actual size of the hole opening. Using the utility knife and framing Square proceed to score the backside of the drywall along the edges of the dashed line. Break along the dotted lines and peel the gypsum from the paper all the while being cautious not to rip the paper.

Step 4: Applying the Patch

So once you've remove the gypsum from your patch it's time to patch the hole. First apply a liberal amount of All Purpose Joint Compound (sheetrock mud) to both the opening around the hole as well as the actual patch. Next carefully align the patch to the hole and insert it. Take a 6" sheetrock broadknife (putty knife) and smooth out the joint compound. Don't worry if it isn't entirely covered with mud you are going to need a second and possibly 3rd coat for optimal results. Let patch dry completely before moving on. Once the patch has dried lightly sand with 120 grit drywall sanding sheets. As noted above you may need a second and/or a third coat of mud for optimal results. If more coats are required be sure to lightly sand the area before applying 2nd or 3rd coats.

And that's it, pretty simple.



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    32 Discussions


    Question 26 days ago on Introduction

    Do you have any suggestions on texturing patches to match the surrounding surfac? I recently patched several holes in my daughter's walls and ceiling and was very dissatisfied with the spray texturing.

    2 more answers

    Answer 25 days ago

    We always lightly sand the surrounding area of the new patch so that there is no drastic delineation between the two textures. Often times we use a damp rag or sponge to feather the edge where the two textures meet. We then mix our texture a little on the thin side and spray starting with a 4mm nozzle. We then evaluate the texture, let it dry then determine if a larger nozzle should be used for the second coat. Remember to do light coats and let them dry completely before doing more coats.

    And if you don't have all the equipment I spoke about you can always try the paint roller method. Google it. "paint roller drywall texture".

    Hope this helps...


    Reply 22 days ago

    Thanks. I will give it another try.


    24 days ago

    I did drywall finishing for awhile. This is a great, easy fix, and a good instructable. One thing I would add, you definitely need the 2nd and 3rd coats. The 2nd coat should extend out a couple of inches further out than the first coat. Give it a quick sanding - don't have to put any muscle behind it, just knock down any marks or edges. The 3rd coat will also extend further out than the 2nd coat and is just a skim coat. This will make the repair stronger, smoother, and unnoticeable.

    1 reply

    25 days ago on Step 4

    Thank You so-o-o much. I have a hole that needs repair and was going to use patch mesh and mud-this is so much easier.


    26 days ago

    This is coming from someone who hasn't tried this yet, but: the patch is essentially being held in by paper and a tiny bit of mud between the edges of the wall and the edges of the patch? Is this likely to pop through if someone, say, leans on it?

    3 replies

    Reply 25 days ago

    If you apply a bit of mud to the edges of the hole to be patched, and the edges of the patch (the actual Sheetrock material), when you insert the patch into the hole there will be a more "watertight" fit. When dried, there will be less of a chance of breakthrough should anyone bump or lean on it. But, the paper material adhered to Sheetrock is really durable. I wouldn't worry too much about it.


    25 days ago

    I have been doing these blow-out patches since the late 70's. With a larger patch as others have written about, I use a wood backer, 1 x 4, 2 x 4 or what ever was laying around. Some times it is difficult to hold the wood in place before you get the screws into it. I put a long drywall screw in the center face of the wood backer. You hold on to the screw to hold the block in place against the back of the wall while you run screws thru the drywall into the wood block. I also put a little bit of liquid nails each side of the wood block just for a little extra hold then just screws.


    25 days ago on Step 3

    Brilliant! Many thanks for this tip.


    26 days ago on Step 3

    Looks like you missed the step of removing the paper from around the hole to avoid massive build-up and a big lump on the wall.. It is much easier, faster, and cleaner to just taper cut the hole and patch to match( like the top of a pumpkin). Then just butter up the edges and pop it in...

    4 replies

    Reply 26 days ago

    That is a very good idea. Will be implementing it on my next repair. Thanks for the pro tip!


    Reply 26 days ago

    Absolutely. Even works on larger holes. Here's one I did recently.

    mtbike2 ludionis

    Reply 26 days ago

    No real need to remove the paper unless you are into fine home building. It’s very likely that you have several but joints in the walls and not every one is a tapered joint. If you use a wide enough knife and sand properly you don’t even notice the patch. If you want to be picky then sure, cut the surrounding paper out. Just remember all joints are thicker by the thickness of the tape.


    26 days ago on Step 4

    I do this one backwards to your method.

    I cut the patch first, hold it over the hole and mark around it.

    Then cut the hole to the right size using a jabsaw or a hacksaw blade works well too. Means the new drywall fits the hole like a glove without measuring even if it isnt quite square, and less filler is needed.