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Patching a Hole in Sheetrock

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Last week I posted about how we moved an electrical outlet during the guest bedroom redo.

After he moved the outlet from the middle of the wall to near the bottom of the wall, we were left with a very large hole that needed to be patched. There was also a hole a few inches away that needed to be fixed (we think that this was from the tv cable that the previous owners had used).

I love to see what other owners have painted on their walls, and this house has some crazy colors lurking under the wall plates. 

Patching a Hole in Sheetrock | www.chatfieldcourt.com

The first thing my husband needed to do was to secure some wood pieces behind the sheetrock so that we could attach a patch to fill the hole.

He started by taking a 3/4 x 1-1/2 x 2 foot long piece of poplar and cutting it into 3 equal pieces which were each 8 inches long (he used poplar because it doesn’t split as easy as pine).

Next he put a glob of caulk onto each end of the wood, where it would sit against the sheetrock, and used sheetrock screws to secure it.

He tied a piece of string around the middle of the wood so that he could hold it in place on the wall, without having it fall down behind the sheetrock (that may or may not have happened to us). 😉

Patching a Hole in Sheetrock | www.chatfieldcourt.com
Fixing holes in sheetrock

He ended up using 2 pieces in the larger hole and 1 piece in the small hole.

Make sure you drill some pilot holes to help prevent the wood from splitting, and remember that pilot holes should be smaller than the screws you are using.

Patching a Hole in Sheetrock | www.chatfieldcourt.com

Now it was time for sheetrock. Since we didn’t need a lot of it, we just bought a 2 ‘x 2’ piece at Home Depot. A small piece was cut from that and was fit into each hole.

You want to make sure that the patch piece of sheetrock sits just below the surface of the wall, so that you can tape and spackle it and have a smooth, even surface.

Patching a Hole in Sheetrock | www.chatfieldcourt.com

We have double sheetrocked walls so we had to layer the patch with 2 pieces of sheetrock, which ended up being too thick. Roger had to shave it down so it would be recessed from the wall.

Patching a Hole in Sheetrock | www.chatfieldcourt.com

He then used some caulk to glue it in and also used sheetrock screws to secure it (pilot holes are recommended here too). Tape and joint compound are next (because these are big holes, you want to use joint compound instead of spackle).

Before he applied the tape, he notched the edge of the hole about 1/8 inch so that the tape would sit lower than the original wall, thus giving us a smooth transition.

Patching a Hole in Sheetrock | www.chatfieldcourt.com

We could have used either fiberglass mesh tape and old school paper tape but my husband likes using the paper tape best so that’s what we used.

Put a thin coat of joint compound over your hole and then lay a piece of paper tape over the wet joint compound so that it covers the edges of the hole.

Then put another thin coat over the paper tape.

Patching a Hole in Sheetrock | www.chatfieldcourt.com

At this point your hole is still going to be recessed from the wall, that’s what you want so it’s ok. Let the joint compound dry overnight.

Using a medium grit sandpaper, lightly sand the patch when dry to knock down any high spots and then add another thin coat of joint compound.

Always let it dry thoroughly between coats and remember that it’s better to do multiple thin coats of spackle than to put a thick coat on. You want to sand and spackle until you have a smooth and even finish.

spackle on hole in guest bedroom

After your wall is smooth, give it a coat of primer to avoid “flashing”, which is when your patched wall area shows through your paint. Once the primer is dry you can do the fun stuff…put color on the wall.


Well, after the trim and doors and bookcase are painted. 😉

Step by step instructions on how to patch a large hole in sheetrock. Any easy DIY fix. | Chatfield Court

This is really an easy job to do. It just takes a little time for the spackle to dry in between coats.

Do you have any tips or tricks to getting a smooth surface when spackling?