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:
- Drywall panel
- Utility knife (this one is our fave… we use it for soooo many projects)
- Serrated knife
- 150 grit sandpaper on a sanding block
- Power screwdriver (best thing EVER)
- Mesh drywall tape
- Joint compound
- A bendy putty knife (having two makes it easier)
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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