I still remember walking into my first off-campus apartment with my parents during college. My Dad took one look at the Hulk-Smash holes in the walls and asked, “Do you know how to patch a hole?”. I politely responded, “No, but my landlord should.”. Fortunately, that time I didn’t have to worry about repairing the wall or the materials needed.
Truthfully, even the most careful of homeowners and renters are susceptible to damaging their walls or ceilings. Parties grow out of hand, children and pets run rampant and, sometimes, humans can be downright clumsy (guilty).
If any of these scenarios results in a hole in the plaster or drywall of your home, don’t call your local handyman right away. Depending on the size and scope of the damage, you may be able to repair the hole yourself with a simple patch job.
In order to do this job right, you’ll need to use the proper tools and material. Most home improvement stores sell wall and ceiling repair patch kits, which contain a self-adhesive fiberglass or aluminum mesh for use in the patch job. The mesh will be stuck to the wall, via its adhesive backing, in order to provide a frame for finalizing and finishing the patch.
Make sure to choose a kit that contains the appropriate mesh for either plaster or drywall, depending on the surface you’re fixing. You’ll also want to ensure that the adhesive mesh is large enough for the job at hand. The ideal mesh doesn’t need to be more than a half-inch larger than the hole in question, but the extra mesh ensures a strong adhesion to the surface you’re working with.
Joint compound is a necessary component for patching a hole in a drywall or plaster surface. The joint compound (sometimes referred to as mud) will stick to the fiberglass mesh covering the hole in order to form a solid surface. You’ll also want to have a utility blade handy for cutting and scoring as you work through the repair.
Now it’s time to get down to business. With the proper materials available and at your disposal, you’re ready to begin the patch job. If you purchased a patch kit that contains meshes of multiple sizes, choose the one that best fits the hole. If the mesh is too large, simply cut off the excess with your utility knife.
Locate the lightweight metal patch that is included in the repair patch kit. Hold it over the hole in order to ensure the sizing is correct. Any excess metal can be removed simply by bending the patch and snapping off a side or two.
Next, while holding the metal patch in place as a template, use your utility knife to lightly score the topmost layer of the drywall. Make sure to cut on all four sides of the patch, including around the corners, but avoid cutting all the way through. The idea here is to simply remove a portion of the drywall or plaster.
Once scored, you should be able to remove a portion of the drywall or plaster surface that surrounds the hole. This effectively transforms an odd-shaped or uneven hole into a uniform square that is much easier to work with.
The next step requires you to place your metal patch onto the adhesive mesh and place it on the hole. When done properly, the metal patch should fill the square hole you’ve cut. There should still be some mesh around the perimeter. This ensures a firm grasp between the mesh, the metal patch and the surface you’re working with.
When the mesh and metal patch is in place, you can go ahead and begin covering it up with the joint compound. Make sure to lay the mud on thick; you want to ensure the mesh is completely covered by the first coat. Once the first coat is dry, smooth it with your sandpaper before adding a second and third layer of joint compound. Then repeat the mudding and sanding processes each time.
After the third coat of joint compound has dried, use a paintbrush or roller to re-paint the surface.
Your significant other — or landlord — will never even know there was a hole in the first place!
Unless you run through the door… It definitely takes a little more than a patch kit to fix that.
Have you ever had to patch a hole in a wall? What method did you use? Let me know in the comments below!