How To: Patching Holes in Drywall
Apr 26, 2017
You love having your TV mounted on the wall and swear you'll always, always, always leave it exactly where it is. But life changes, and there can come a time in every person's life when they just need to take that TV down. When that happens, you’ll likely have one more task: patching holes in the drywall. Here's how to fix them. (It's a lot easier than you think.)
You’ll Need a Few Supplies
Depending on the size of the holes, you can use spackle or joint compound for patching. Spackle comes in small containers and dries quickly, so it’s great for smaller jobs. Joint compound, also known as “mud,” only comes in larger quantities and takes longer to dry, but it’s more appropriate for larger holes. You’ll need a putty knife or drywall knife to spread either product smoothly.
If the holes you’re patching in drywall are bigger than a coaxial cable, you’ll want to get a patch kit, which makes it easier to fill in the space
Tip: You may want to wear latex gloves for the patching, and you should wear a dust mask when you’re sanding.
Small Holes Are Simple
Just wipe away any dust or debris. Using your finger, push enough spackle into the hole to fill it, then use your putty knife to smooth the surface so it’s flush with the drywall. Let it dry thoroughly (follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on time), then sand it smooth. Patching small holes in drywall should only take about ten minutes of work, plus the spackle drying time, which equates almost perfectly to the length of a couple of Game of Thrones episodes. Finish it off with your matching paint color and you’re done.
Larger Holes Take Just a Little More Work
With larger holes, you need about 30 minutes of time to complete the project. First step is getting something to hold your filler material in place. To bridge the empty space, you can use a piece of fiberglass joint tape or get a drywall patch kit (available at any home improvement store). The patch is like a Band-Aid for your walls — fiberglass mesh with an adhesive backing. You can cut it with scissors to fit. It should be larger than your hole, of course, but it doesn’t have to be huge.
Stick the patch over the hole, then apply spackle or joint compound with your putty knife or drywall knife using a crisscross pattern. (Most experts recommend joint compound for holes larger than a half-inch or so.) Smooth the surface, tapering the spackle or joint compound by pressing harder around the outer edges. You may need to add a few layers of joint compound on for a perfectly smoothed, finished wall. Take into account the drying time in between layers. Sand and finish with the paint color to match the existing wall.
Looking Forward to Your Next Installation
When you’re ready to re-mount your TV — in a new location in your current home or on the wall in your brand new home — using a drilling template will make the job faster and easier.
You might want to consider using the SANUS in-wall cable management system, too. It helps hide the cords and cables so your entertainment space has a finished look. Wondering how to hide your cables? Installing the cable management system is also a pretty easy DIY project.
Now that you know patching holes in drywall is not difficult, the sky is the limit. Update the artwork hanging on your walls (maybe create a gallery wall), or reduce the stress of selling your home by using your new hole patching skills. Just like learning to change the oil in your car, this is a tool that can be used over and over again, and for a variety of applications!