Rafed English

Fix a Hole in the Wall

How to patch up that hole in your wall the good way — and the good enough way.

Good Way

1. For fist-size holes or bigger, cut a square piece of Sheetrock slightly larger than the hole. Enlarge the hole so this patch will fit by placing the piece over the hole, tracing its outline, and cutting the wall along your marks with a utility knife.

2. Cut two pieces of small scrap wood a few inches longer than the width of the hole — these will be the backing for the patch. Put one piece of wood in the hole, hooking it with your fingers to hold it flat against the back of the existing wall. The wood will span the hole, parallel to and about an inch from its edge. With drywall screws, screw each end through the drywall into the wood. Repeat with the other wood scrap at the opposite edge of the hole.

3. Now lay the Sheetrock patch in the opening and screw it to the wood. Cover the seams with mesh dry-wall tape. Apply a first coat of joint compound (like Spackle) with a putty knife over the mesh. For a smooth finish, apply thin, wide coats, not one thick layer. Let dry overnight. Apply two more coats, and let each dry overnight, sanding smooth between applications. Sponge away dust, and paint to match the wall.

Good Enough

1. For holes up to three inches wide, just pick up a patch kit, available at hardware stores. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested and likes the Elmer’s Drywall Repair Kit ($19), which comes with a thin wall patch and all the tools needed (other than wall paint). Simply position the patch, apply the included joint compound, and let dry. Then sand smooth, wipe dust, and finish with a coat of wall paint.

2. For punctures, like those left by hooks or screws, GHRI recommends Elite Products’ Erase-A-Hole ($7 plus shipping). Our testers found it a cinch to rub the product — pack-aged like a deodorant stick — over a hole in a circular motion to fill it. Then just wipe the excess away, let dry, and paint to match.

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