How to Patch Holes in Drywall

holes and cracks in a plaster wall
  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 45
What You'll Need
Putty knife
Utility knife
Fiberglass patch
Drywall saw
Wood piece
Drywall screws
Drill with Phillips screwdriver bit
Piece of drywall (size depends on your hole)

Interior walls made with drywall can easily be punctured, whether by a doorknob, the back of a chair, or something else. Therefore, if you’re a homeowner, you should know how to patch drywall. Luckily, patching drywall is an easy project that you can complete yourself. Here are a few tips to help you get the job done quickly.

Widening and Smoothing Holes

Before you can fill a hole in your wall, you need to smooth the ragged edges in the drywall's outer surface paper. To smooth the edges, use a sharp edge of a utility knife to shave off paper edges protruding from the hole. If necessary, push the edges into the hole by making a slight dent. It’s better to fill a dent than to have a rough surface when finished.

Patching Small Holes

Step 1 – Apply Drywall Compound

If the hole is small enough, you can use a putty knife or drywall knife to fill it in with drywall compound. Spread the compound across the hole with the knife, and blend it in with the rest of the wall. Let the first coat dry, and then apply a second.

Step 2 – Scrape Away Excess and Make a Mound

Scrape away any excess compound before you allow it to dry. Leave a small mound of the compound, so that you can sand it down to match the surrounding surface when dry.

Patching Medium Holes

Step 1 – Create a Thin Compound

For holes as large in diameter as 3 inches, you will need to make a backing for the drywall compound to adhere to. One option is to use a fiberglass mesh patch. To add this patch, first make a small amount of thin compound by thinning regular compound with some water.

Step 2 – Apply the Compound and Add Patch

Lay a bed of this thin compound around the edges of the hole, using your joint knife. Press the patch into place over the hole, apply another layer of compound over the patch, and smooth its surface with your joint-knife edge. Allow the area to dry. Then, spread the compound over the backer to hide the hole. Sand the drywall patch smooth.

Patching Large Holes

Step 1 – Remove Damaged Drywall

To patch a large hole, you must install a support brace that you can screw your drywall to. First, remove the damaged drywall by cutting a rectangular piece out around the damaged area.

Step 2 – Cut New Drywall and Braces

Cut a new piece of drywall the same size as the piece you removed. Then, cut two strips of wood, small enough that you can insert them into the hole, but long enough that it will extend behind the drywall on either side of the hole.

Step 3 – Insert Braces and Use Screws

Slide the braces into the hole. Leave 1 inch of bare wood on each side of the hole. Drive drywall screws through the drywall and into the braces to hold them in place. This will secure the new piece of drywall in place. Set the new piece over the hole and screw through it into the braces.

Step 4 – Fill With Compound

Fill the cracks with drywall compound between the old drywall and the newly inserted piece. Apply seam paper, add more compound over the paper, and smooth the compound. Then, allow it to dry before sanding.

Have a hole in your drywall ceiling? Patch a drywall ceiling hole with some of the same tools and steps.