How to Patch Holes in Wallboard
A do-it-yourselfer will often find it necessary to make a hole in wallboard to install a recess toilet paper holder, for instance. These are called voluntary holes. An angry do-it-yourselfer practicing assertiveness training or a hasty youngster planting a door knob into the wallboard are examples of how other holes are created. These are called involuntary holes.
For many families, the involuntary holes represent events that would just as soon be forgotten. As a result, pictures, wall hangings or items of furniture are strategically placed to disguise their very existence.
Unfortunately, this frequently results in awkwardly placed artwork and a decorating arrangement that would cause even the most liberal of interior decorators to rebel.
So, unless you’re into abstract art arrangement or poorly placed furniture, chances are you’ll opt to patch the hole rather than hide it.
An old (seasoned) drywall contractor who performs work for our remodeling company taught us a very simple method of making a wallboard patch and we’d like to share it with you.
First, you’ll need a piece of wallboard that is slightly larger than the hole to be patched. Many hardware stores or home improvement centers will sell partial sheets of 1/2″ wallboard which is ideal. Cut a square patch which is slightly larger than the hole on all sides. Lay the patch over the hole and scribe a pencil line on the wall around the entire perimeter of the patch. Prior to removing the patch label one side of it to correspond with the wall for easy placement.
Next, using a wallboard saw, cut along the line on the wall and remove the damaged wallboard surrounding the hole. Then, cut one piece of wallboard joint tape which is approximately seven inches longer than the length of the patch and one which is seven inches longer than the width of the patch. Note: For patches that are larger than six inches in any one direction, more than one piece of wallboard joint tape may be required.
Using a six to ten inch drywall knife, apply a thin coat of wallboard joint tape compound to the back of the patch and to the face of the wall surrounding the hole. Affix the previously cut joint tape to the back of the patch, one running horizontally the other vertically.
Carefully place the patch into the hole while folding the protruding joint tape back against the wall and into the bed of joint compound. Use the drywall knife to flatten the joint tape. Apply a thin coat of joint compound to the entire area, (including the patch) and cover all of the joints with joint tape. Once applied, all of the joint tape should be smoothed with the putty knife.
After the area has been allowed to dry overnight or longer, depending upon the temperature and humidity in the air, an additional coat of joint compound should be applied. A third coat may be required to obtain a flawless patch.
An additional two inches of area should be covered with each coat of joint compound to insure a smooth transition.
The area should be sanded with an 100 grit paper and a sanding block after the final coat of joint compound has been applied. Safety goggles and a breathing mask are a must here.
Without a doubt the most challenging aspect of this task will be to match the wall texture. This is because there are so many different types of finishes. Stipple, Skip Trowel and Heavy Spanish are just of few.
We have found that the simplest way to match most modern wall textures is with a disposable touch-up gun. This device sprays drywall compound on to the wall and, if desired, the compound can be troweled down to match a corresponding finish. The touch-up gun comes with an adjustable nozzle which allows the texture to be applied in varying sizes.
Other texturing methods include using a small piece of shag carpeting, a sponge, and other assorted utensils. In order to achieve the desired finish we suggest that you practice applying texture to a scrap piece of drywall before applying it to the real McCoy.