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hole in drywallJaime Derringer

Leaky pipes or electrical issues can happen in any home -- old or new. One day you notice a small discoloration on your wall or ceiling. A week later, it's twice the size, and it just keeps growing. The next thing you know, you're opening up a big hole in your wall or ceiling to find and fix the issue. I experienced this first-hand in my previous townhouse, as well as in my parents' home. In both cases, a leaky shower was the culprit. Once you've taken care of the main issue, you're unfortunately left with a big hole in the dryall.

My parents had the hideous hole in the ceiling of their family room for six years, thinking they would fix it when they redecorated the room. Six years later, they finally decided to redecorate and say goodbye to this eyesore. Lucky for you, you don't have to wait six years because fixing an insightly hole in drywall is easy with the right tools and materials.

This project involves cutting into the wall and replacing a portion of the wall with new drywall. Because there's joint compound involved, factor in a few days for drying time.,feedConfig,localizationConfig,entry&id=875589&pid=875588&uts=1272486168

DIY Warrior: Patch a Large Hole in Drywall

Here's what you'll need:
- Stud finder

- Section of drywall larger than the hole being repaired

- Drywall screws

- Drywall screwdriver (or other power screwdriver)

- Straightedge

- Joint compound

- 4" putty knife and 8" putty knife

- Drywall saw or small saw

- Utility knife

- Drywall or joint tape

- Two 2x4s a few inches longer than your hole, horizontally (only needed if you do not find studs in step 1)

- Pencil

- Sandpaper

- Protective mask

- Protective glasses

- Drop cloth or plastic sheeting

- Ladder or step stool

DIY Warrior: Patch a Large Hole in Drywall

Cover your floor and any furniture surrounding the area with a drop cloth or plastic sheeting. Use your stud finder to see if you can locate studs near and around the hole. If you find them, mark them with a pencil; you'll use them to anchor your new piece of drywall. Luckily, in our case, we had lots of wood supports to use, but this isn't always the case. If you don't seem to locate any studs near the hole, that's okay too. We'll show you how to create a support backing for your new drywall patch in step 3.

DIY Warrior: Patch a Large Hole in Drywall

Measure a rectangular or square hole using the straightedge, and then cut it using the drywall saw or another small hand saw.

DIY Warrior: Patch a Large Hole in Drywall

If you don't have studs, then just make them! Take 2 2x4s that are a few inches longer than your hole on either side and place them horizontally behind the drywall, to act as studs. Fasten them with drywall screws, placing a screw every 4-6". You've just created new studs to help support your new drywall.

DIY Warrior: Patch a Large Hole in Drywall

Then, use a utility knife to cut a piece from your new drywall that is the same size and will easily fit into your new hole. If you have located studs, cut slightly past the edge of the stud so that you can screw your new drywall piece into it. Skip to step 4 if you don't need to make your own stud supports.

DIY Warrior: Patch a Large Hole in Drywall

Take your new drywall patch and screw it into place with drywall screws directly into your studs. Make sure that the drywall is as close to even with your ceiling as possible.

DIY Warrior: Patch a Large Hole in Drywall

Place a small amount of joint compound along all of the seams to fill any gaps and level your patch with the ceiling. Smooth it evenly with your putty knife or a taping knife.

DIY Warrior: Patch a Large Hole in Drywall

Now, take the paper drywall tape or mesh joint tape and apply one piece to each side of your drywall. Be sure to cover all the gaps. To prevent uneven surfaces, do not overlap layers of tape.

DIY Warrior: Patch a Large Hole in Drywall

When the putty has dried (and make sure it is completely dry!), sand the surface with a medium grit sandpaper. Be sure to wear your protective mask and eyeglasses, as you'll be covered in dust! Sand the compound until the section is completely level and flat with the existing ceiling. Tip: work with a friend who can hold a vacuum cleaner up toward the section that you are sanding to suck up the dust. This will help with cleanup later.

Apply a second coat of joint compound, this time spreading it a few inches beyond the original section. Feather it out nicely and evenly to help blend the patch into the surrounding area. Once this coat has dried, sand the area once again to blend the section in with the ceiling. If you still feel that the patch is noticeable, you can apply a 3rd coat of compound, feathering it out even further.

DIY Warrior: Patch a Large Hole in Drywall

After the final sanding is done, your wall (or ceiling) is repaired! You are now ready to prime and paint. Don't forget to clean the surface well and remove any remaining dust

DIY Warrior: Patch a Large Hole in Drywall


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