DIY Drywall Repair

by Shelley SmithMay 1, 2017

Last year our master bathroom shower had a problem with the drain and long story short, we found ourselves head on with a big leak and a small mold problem, below where our shower drain was located. In order to fix the problem, get rid of any mold, and also let the drywall air out completely, we had to cut some considerably large holes out of one of the closets in our basement.

How to fix a hole in drywall
I’m happy to report that the shower was easily fixed, the mold is completely gone, and the drywall is wet no more. Although now, we are left with some pretty scary holes in our wall! With my twin girls moving into that room I knew we’d need to patch them up quickly, so I thought I’d share with you how to simply repair a large hole in a wall.

1. Cut a new piece of replacement drywall exactly the same size that your hole is.

  • If your hole is an odd shape, you may need to square it off with a utility knife, to make it easier to repair.
  • Check to see that you have the proper support boards behind your new piece of drywall, so that you have something to screw your repair patch into.

2. Once your new piece of drywall is in place, use drywall screws to secure it onto the support boards behind it.

  • Make sure that your drywall screws sink into your drywall far enough that you can putty over them, for a flawless finish in the end.

Repairing Drywall
sunk in drywall screw

  • Once all of your new drywall is replaced, it will look something like this. Definitely not very pretty, but that’s where the drywall mud and tape come into play!

How to repair drywall

3. Using joint compound and a large putty knife, run over one seam section of your repair area with a good amount of mud (aka compound).

  • Work one section at a time, as the mud dries quickly.

4. After your chosen seam is completely covered with compound and smoothed out, measure the correct length of drywall tape that you’ll need, cut it to size, and then adhere it onto your seam, to seal the gap.

  • The drywall tape that I use has an indented seam running down the middle of it, so you know exactly where to center the tape on your seam.
  • The reason you use tape to cover the seams, and not just compound, is because walls have a tendency to expand and contract with heat and cold. The tape helps to seal the seam permanently, so that once the wall settles there is no chance of cracking.

5. Once the tape has been placed on the compound, take your putty knife and carefully smooth over the tape, to lightly push out any bubbles and to make sure it completely holds to the compounds wet surface, so it can dry properly.

  • Do this for all seams in your wall, until they are completely covered, and then let dry.
  • TIP: Once you’ve smoothed your tape down with the putty knife, try to resist going back over it multiple times. If you do, it may cause lifting or tearing of the tape. Joint compound dries very quickly, and if your finish isn’t completely smooth, no worries! You will just sand them away after everything dries.

How to repair drywall -

6. Now that your seams are all covered, you’ll need to go back with your compound and cover the entire surface (about 3-4 inches out) from where your original hole repair was. Do this 2-4 times, letting the compound dry completely in between coats.

  • When adding additional layers of compound to build up the smoothness of the area, try to feather it out on the edges, so that it will eventually blend in with the rest of your wall. This is also where the different sizes of putty knives come in handy. You’ll want to use a larger knife on the last coat or two, to help the putty blend into the existing wall around it the best it can.
  • If your wall has any sort of texture to it, the last coat of compound would be the time to add that in.

drywall tools
Mudding drywall -

7. Once your repair area is completely dry, use a sanding block and smooth out the area, so that it blends in nicely with the rest of your wall.

  • Drywall compound sands away VERY easily, so make sure to use light pressure, so as not to remove too much of the compound.
  • The sanding processes are also VERY messy. Make sure to wear a protective mask, open windows and cover any furniture you don’t want to be coated in fine drywall dust.

sanding drywall patch

8. After your surface is sanded properly, use a vacuum and rag to clean up any remaining dust particles, paint your area with primer, and then you’re ready for the final coat of paint!

  • Be SURE to prime your newly patched area first. If you apply your final coat of latex paint directly to the repair surface without priming first, it will cause the paint finish to look dull and rough, creating a distinct patch outline through your paint.

How to repair Drywall - blog

Repairing a hole in a wall isn’t the most fun DIY project, but if you know the simple steps to doing it on your own, then you can save yourself a lot of money in the long run. While this project isn’t necessarily very hard, it is a bit time-consuming. That being said, be sure not to rush the processes. Allowing the proper amount of time for a drywall repair project is the key to a great finished product in the end.

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About The Author
Shelley Smith