How to fix plasterboard: The essential guide

One time, some friends and I decided to have a wrestling match downstairs and positioned our mattresses against the wall for protection. Some of my friends were in a match when they hit against a wall and destroyed the drywall, leaving a massive hole. I found some great tips on my hunt to fix the hole, and I would love to share those tips with you.

To fix the plasterboard, you will need to completely clean the surface surrounding the damaged plasterboard, patch up the original hole, apply material based on the size of the hole, and sand the plasterboard thoroughly. Each process will vary depending on the size of the damage.

Here is a step-by-step process depending on how big your hole is. You will need different materials and will need to fix your plasterboard depending on the extent of the damage. After you have patched your hole, I have included some steps on how to best reapply paint on your plasterboard and some tips on using plasterboard.

A Note:

No matter what, your material will not match the exact look or texture your original plasterboard had. Similar to if you had a hole in jeans, you will always notice that you patched the jeans if you look hard enough.

However, these are some great ways to make it as next to normal as possible.

Fixing Small Dents/Chips

  1. Clean off any debris caused around the damaged plasterboard so you can start fresh.
  2. Cover the hole with fast driving spackle to avoid spillage.
  3. Let the spackle dry for at least 24 hours or the time that is listed on the spackle’s packaging.
  4. Sand the surface completely. Source

Fixing Popped Nail Heads

This method is for fixing holes in plasterboard that are the size of popped nail heads.

  1. Clean off any debris before you start your project.
  2. Drill in a drywall screw about 1 1/2 inches above the nail head or hole that goes into the stud to make sure the rest of the drywall is secured.
  3. Make a hole in between the hole and the screw that you placed right above the hole. This will make a hole big enough that you can fill the hole with a spackle.
  4. If applicable, drive in the popped nail completely into the stud so it is not in the way with the spackle.
  5. Let the spackle dry for at least 24 hours or the time on the spackle’s packaging.
  6. Cover the hole completely with a spackle until the original hole is completely level with the wall.
  7. Sand the material until is smooth against the wall. Source

Fixing Small Holes

This method is for fixing holes in plasterboard similar to the size of doorknobs.

  1. Clean off any debris before you start your project.
  2. Apply a self-adhesive patch along the edges of the hole, as if you are applying a band-aid. Smooth the edges accordingly.
  3. Cover the patch using a drywall knife using either spackling compound or a lightweight joint. Cover the entire surface in a pattern as if you are applying paint to a wall, adjusting the angle so the new chemical blends into the wall.
  4. Take some time to let the patch dry (at least twenty-four hours).
  5. Be sure to apply multiple coats so you can blend the material as much as you can so the patch can be as even as possible with the rest of the plasterboard.
  6. Finish by sanding the surface. Source

Fixing Medium Holes

This method is for fixing holes in plasterboard up to six inches. Do not use this method if your hole is in the middle of your plasterboard, as it can wreck the rest of your plasterboard.

  1. Clean off any debris before you start your project.
  2. Using a stencil and a separate piece of plasterboard, create a square shape that is two inches larger in width and height than the hole you are working with.
  3. Cut the square from the rest of your plasterboard.
  4. Shave an inch of each side of the plasterboard square using a thin knife.
  5. Snap off the gypsum on the square you created, but be sure to leave the paper backing intact.
  6. Place the patch around the hole and use a pencil to trace the hole onto the wall. Do not include the border paper while you are tracing your square.
  7. Apply joint along the sides of the plasterboard and the paper border. Fit the gypsum into the new hole and press the paper edges coated with joint compound into place along the outside edge of the hole.
  8. Cover the entire patch with a joint compound, making sure the hole and the rest of the plasterboard are blended into each other.
  9. You might need to use multiple coats of the joint compound so the patch can ease into the rest of the plasterboard. Be sure to let the material dry before applying another coat
  10. Sand the material thoroughly. Source

Large Holes

If your hole is bigger than six inches, you will need to start from scratch by creating your own separate patch then attaching it on. Here is how you do it!

  1. Using a piece of paper and a pencil, create a square that goes around a couple of inches surrounding the hole.
  2. Stencil this square on a separate piece of plasterboard.
  3. Cut along the stenciled square so you have a piece of plasterboard that is the same size as the piece of paper that you drew.
  4. Place this piece of plasterboard on the hole and use a drywall saw to cut along the edges of the square.
  5. Attach a furring strip, a small, thin piece of wood, inside the hole to either side of the hole with screws. Sink the screws beneath the surface of the drywall.
  6. Set the drywall patch in place and drill it into the furring strips, sinking the screws beneath the surface of the drywall.
  7. Apply joint tape to the borders of the patch. Joint tape allows the patch and the wall to be able to attach and to make the plasterboard more powerful in the future (to avoid future cracks).
  8. Cover the patch and tape with joint compound, applying the material like paint. Let the compound dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply a second coat if needed.
  9. Sand the surface thoroughly.


Repairing Holes In A Corner

This method is for fixing holes in the plasterboard along with the corners of your wall.

  1. Cut the damaged corner horizontally using a hack saw.
  2. Use a utility knife to cut vertically along the hole so you have a clear portion of the wall to patch. Remove the damaged pieces of plasterboard.
  3. “Cut a new piece of corner bead to fill the gap and attach it to the wall with nails or the manufacturer’s recommended fastener or adhesive.”
  4. Apply joint compound to both sides of the compound as if you are applying paint, making sure a corner is still present.
  5. Dry the material thoroughly.

How To Finish Your Hole:

After you have fixed your plasterboard, you will need to be sure to blend the patch in with the rest of the board. Here are some step-by-step instructions on what to do now:

  1. Leave the fixed hole for about a day so it can dry completely.
  2. Go around the hole with a sander one more time to make sure that the hole blends in with the rest of your wall
  3. Cover your hole with primer, then allow a little more leeway time for the primer to dry.
  4. Finish by painting your wall.

Tips And Things To Know About Plasterboard

  • If you would like to contact a professional, it will cost around $54-180 for small holes that aren’t caused by water damage. Larger holes, cracks, and holes caused by water damage will cost on average about $220-380 to fix.
  • Some contractors will also impose a service fee of $50-100 and an hourly charge as well. Call around, find the best price, and go along with using the contractor that works for you. Source
  • Repairing holes in the ceiling of your plasterboard will cost the same, but some companies will charge an additional 20% charge to accommodate the different workspace and the additional workers that are needed for that type of project.
  • The typical price for plasterboard is $12 to $90 for a 4-foot-by-8-foot panel if you would like to completely replace your drywall. Source
  • Eliminate as many drywall butt joints as you can that will get in the way of fixing your drywall. Replace those after the project is over. Source
  • There are mini drywall saws that are a great alternative for cutting around electrical ports or other spots throughout your home (Source). You can find them for around ten bucks at most hardware stores.
  • Be sure to completely clean the plasterboard and the wall you are fitting the plasterboard on before installing them together. Source
  • Be sure to always leave a ten-millimeter gap in between the floor and the first wall sheet as you are fixing your plasterboard. Source
  • Do not nail the center of your plasterboard at all costs. Source

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

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