Patching Drywall Holes and Cracks Patching Drywall Holes and Cracks

What You'll Need
Drywall compound (mud)
Keyhole saw (or drywall saw)
Utility knife
Stud finder
Fiberglass tape
Drywall knife

Patching drywall may sound difficult, but it's not. Drywall, without the support of lath that older walls at one time had, lacks the durability of the older lath and plaster walls. Consequently, walls made of drywall - or sheet rock, as it's sometimes called - are more vulnerable to penetrations that can create cracks and holes. Here's how to patch drywall holes and cracks.

Step 1: Patching a Small Hole or Scratch

To patch a small, superficial hole that has not penetrated entirely through your drywall and is no larger in diameter than 1" to 2", fill the hole with drywall compound (mud). Use the edge of your drywall knife drawn across the filled hole to level the fresh mud with the surface of the drywall sheet in which the hole was made.

Step 2: Patching a Larger Hole or Scratch

For a larger hole, one that has penetrated entirely through the drywall or is larger in diameter than 2 inches, you will need to remove the piece of the drywall that includes the hole or scratch.

Step 3: Removing a Piece of Drywall

In removing a piece of drywall that includes the hole you need to patch, you'll need a solid support behind the new piece. Use a stud finder to locate the two wall studs on either side of the hole. Use a pencil to mark the spots, behind which are the centers of the 2 wall studs. Use the pencil and straightedge to draw two straight, parallel lines between the 2 studs, one above the hole and one below the hole. These lines should be at least 3" apart. Use a keyhole saw or utility knife to cut out the piece of drywall between these two lines.

Step 4: Attach a New Piece of Drywall

Use the strip of drywall you removed as a guide. With your pencil, trace the four edges of this strip on a new piece of drywall. Cut out the new strip you just drew. This piece should fit into the space where you removed the piece with the hole. Each end of the new strip should fit flat against a wall stud. Use a drill to drive 2 drywall screws through the new drywall piece and into the wall stud.

Step 5: Patch the Crack

Fill the crack between the main drywall sheet and the new piece. If the crack is no more than ¼" wide, fill it with mud and even the two surfaces. If the crack is wider than ¼", use your drywall knife to spread a thin line of mud along the crack, so that it covers the drywall surface at least 2" on either side of the crack. Paste a strip of fiberglass tape on the line of mud. Finally, spread another line of mud on top of the fiberglass tape. When the mud is dry, sand the newly applied dry mud, then paint it with primer and a matching paint.

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