Saturday, April 30, 2022

Whoops! Nine Steps to Fixing a Hole in Drywall

 Has this ever happened to you? 

Two of your kids are running around the house, totally hyped up on child-like energy, playing whatever game makes sense in their heads. Then one of them tries to close the door, the other one pushes against it, and like two gladiators covered in dust and sweat, they push and push. And the one on the inside of the door decides to step back and let the door fly open, defying the springy door stop to catch the door and causing the door knob to tap the drywall with enough force to create diamonds out of coal. 

No? It's just me? 

Holes in drywall are not a lot of fun. There are a couple of ways you can fake fix it. You can try to glob on the drywall compound, creating an unstable lump of gypsum that is just waiting to fall into the wall cavity. You can put a piece of duck tape over the hole and just paint it, hoping that nobody will notice (I saw this when I painted college dorms. Crazy kids probably got away with it). Or you can fix it legitimately with this great trick. 

Here's how to fix a hole in the drywall in just nine easy steps.

1. Cut the hole to make a nice rectangle. A drywall saw is best, or you can use a utility knife to score and cut the hole. 

2. Cut a piece of drywall roughly 1.5" - 2" larger than the hole in the wall (if your hole is 4" x 5", cut a patch that is 6" x 7"). 

3. With the paper backing facing down, score the drywall with the overlap partway through the drywall. DO NOT CUT THE PAPER. Once you have the drywall scored, you should be able to peel that overlap off, resulting in a rectangle of drywall with paper sticking out on all four sides (see picture). 

4. Dry fit the patch, paper side out, making sure it fits in the hole snugly but not too tightly. The paper backing should be facing out. 

5. Once the patch is the right side, spread wet joint compound around the outside of the hole. This will be the "glue" that helps to hold the patch in place. Be sure to get joint compound on the inside edge of the hole as well. 

6. Place the patch in place, apply more joint compound on top of the patch, and smooth the joint compound around the edges and over the patch. 

7. Texture to match the existing wall. Or, if you're me, recognize that the hole is behind the door, your texturing skills are subpar, and seeing the mismatched drywall texture when the door is closed will be a constant reminder to your kids not to mess around to the point that they put holes in the wall. Or you could learn to texture. But I prefer the former. 

8. Once the joint compound is dry, paint to match. Remember that paint may fade over time, so you may need to paint a larger section of the wall to make the patch less obvious. 

9. Most importantly, add or replace the door stopper. It clearly did not do its job, and no longer has a right to protect your near-perfect patch job. 

Pro tip - make sure that your family doesn't think that it is as easy as it actually is. You don't want them to get comfortable knocking holes in the wall. 

As always, happy parenting!

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