Small Hole Sheetrock Repair




Stepping out of the shower one morning, I slipped and almost broke my hip. Fortunately, I was able to grab on to the towel bar and stop my fall. The down side was that I pulled the towel bar holder cleanly off of the wall. It was a nice clean round hole directly between two studs. Some may feel that the simplest way to fix this hole would be to cut the sheetrock until you can span two studs. Here's how to fix that small hole AND make that repair stronger than the original.

The tools and materials you'll need are:
1 or 2 wood shims
3 wood screws (one for flat surfaces, two for countersink holes)
1 flat washer
screw driver
set of drill bits
sharp utility knife
wax paper

First, trim the edges of the hole to make it relatively square using a utility knife.

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Step 1:

Next, trim down your shim, using your saw, so the shim is at least 3 inches longer than the hole. If you used a full sized shim you might have enough left over to make a second piece of a similar length. If not, cut down a second shim to obtain a second piece.

Using your drill and a small bit, drill a hole through the center of both shims.

Step 2:

Take one of the wood pieces and drill out the hole in the center with a larger drill bit. Make sure that the threads of the screw for flat surfaces will be able slip through the hole, but the head will not. If it's pretty close, don't worry; that's why we have the flat washer.

Put the flat surface screw (and flat washer if needed) through this piece of wood. Then screw the screw into the second piece of wood. You may want to drill out the hole a little in the scond piece of wood so that the threads of the screw will bite into the wood, but certainly don't make it too big where the screw will slip through. Don't screw the screw all the way down so that the two pieces of wood are locked together. You need space between the two pieces of wood.

Now, with the screw holding both pieces of wood, slip the bottom one into the hole and center it. Take the top piece of wood and turn it 90 degrees to the orientation of the piece that is inside of the wall. Screw down onto the screw until the top piece of wood rest against the wall and holds the two pieces of wood in place at the center of the hole.

Step 3:

Knowing that the piece of wood that is inside of the wall is 3 inches longer than the hole, you now have 1.5 inches of wood extending past each side of the hole. So, approximately 3/4 of an inch from the edge of the hole, drill a hole through the sheetrock and into the centerline of the wood inside of the hole.

Replace the drill bit with a bit that has a diameter a little bit large than the head of the counter sink screw. In the hole that was just drilled in the sheeet rock, enlarge the hole so that the screw head will fall below the surface of the sheetrock when screwed in to place.

Screw the screw into the hole. Not too tightly though. You don't want to split and shatter the wood.

Do the same to the other side.

Step 4:

Remove the screw in the center and take off the outside piece of wood.

You now have a relatively strong "back-plate" to support your sheetrock patch so that it doesn't fall inside of the hole.

Cut a piece sheetrock that will fit the hole. Don't wory if it doesn't fit that well; slightly loose is better.

Trim the edges and also put a bevel on the near side of the patch.

Trim the edges of the hole in the wall to amke a slight bevel on the edges.

Drill a hole in the very center of the patch.

Check that the patch will sit in the hole, the screw will go through the center and catch the back-plate. There should also be a V around the perimeter of the patch that will accommodate spackle.

Unscrew the screw and take the patch out of the hole.

Take some spackle and smear a little on the back-plate and on the back of the patch. Install the patch.

Install the screw and wood, but put wax paper over the spackle so that wood won't stick.

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11 Discussions


8 years ago on Step 4

What is the purpose of this step???

"Unscrew the screw and take the patch out of the hole.
Take some spackle and smear a little on the back-plate and on the back of the patch. Install the patch.
Install the screw and wood, but put wax paper over the spackle so that wood won't stick."

If the screw is countersunk wouldn't just covering the patch and feathering out the spackle be enough???

2 replies

Reply 8 years ago on Step 4

EXCELLENT question!

After the patch was all complete, I was going to reinstall a towel bar. With the forced that were going to be exerted on the patch through the towl bar, I felt that a little the extra amount of spackle to hold everything in place would be a prudent move. A l ittle more adhesion in this area is a little better than not enough.



Reply 8 years ago on Step 4

Sometimes the patch that is cut is a little larger than you would like to get...especially if the repair person is a novice. Spackle on the back will add a little bit more strength to the bond of the patch to the hole area.

There is one step that I missed (the Instructable software was allowing just so many words and I had to edit some passages to fit more words towards the end). After reinstalling the patch, spackle needs to be added arount the perimeter of the patch. THEN, reinstall the shim and screw with the wax paper. The wax paper will keep the spackle on the perimeter from sticking to the shim.

Good pick-up.
I'll see if I can revise the instructable.


8 years ago on Step 3

Great Instructable!

Would only suggest using small pieces of thin plywood or hardboard ("Masonite") instead of shims. The shims are a very convenient size, but they often split from the screws.

Alternative is to drill small pilot holes first.

1 reply

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Hi Doctor,

You're absolutley correct with the splitting of the shim when screwing in to it. The grain on this material usually runs longitudinal. Plywood or hardboard would be better.

Regarding the drilling of a pilot hole, I do indicate to do that in the Instructable...though I don't identify them as a 'pilot holes', though that is exactly what they are. In fact, that is exactly why I have the shim on top holding the shim inside of the wall - so that it will be held in place while you drill a pilot hole, open it with a countersink and then install the screws.

Thanks for the well thought out comments!!


8 years ago on Introduction

Ingenious. Great. Would also like to see the rest of the patch job including a photo of the finished patch to see if you can see any marks.

1 reply

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction


I could send you a personal digital image.
The quality of the spackling job is mostly proportional to the talent of the spackler.
The countersink for the screws and the V groove around the perimeter help with the spackling.