Fix a Hole in Drywall
LESLIE: Coming up, we have a call from Joe in Tom’s neck of the woods, New Jersey.
Joe, how can we help you?
JOE: Hi, how are yous tonight?
LESLIE: Good. Wes are good. (Leslie laughs)
TOM: (chuckles) Yeah. No, he’s from New Jersey. He’s from New Jersey, Leslie. You have to say, “How you doing?”
LESLIE: How you doing, Joe?
TOM: (chuckles) How can we help you with your cabinets, Joe?
JOE: Yeah, in my kitchen I put up a cabinet. And where the cabinet is was an old outlet switch which I put on the outside wall.
JOE: Now the tape has come off and I have a hole there starting to show where the cabinet ends and part of the wall is. What I have to try and do is I don’t how I could put a new piece of wallboard in there.
TOM: So basically, the cabinet kind of ends up half-covering where the old switch was?
TOM: OK. And you tried to tape over it with spackle before you put the cabinet on and now the tape’s coming apart?
JOE: Exactly what I did, yes.
TOM: Yeah. OK. Here’s where you went wrong. What you should have done is before you put the cabinet on, you should have filled that whole thing with a piece of drywall. The right way to do this would be to take the cabinet down and to cut a piece of drywall that is exactly two inches wider and two inches taller than that hole. Then you take that piece of drywall, you flip it over, and you cut the back side of it out that 1-inch in from each edge. And what that does is leaves a little chunk of drywall with a piece of paper tape attached to the outside. Do you follow me? It’s like having drywall with tape attached. And you put that in the wall and spackle over the whole thing and now it all becomes part of the wallboard. And once that dries and you sand it and everything, then you can put the cabinet back on top of it. You’re trying to fill a big void that’s half-covered with a cabinet and it’s really hard to do that right now.
JOE: Yeah, the problem that I’m having is it’s a floor-to-almost-ceiling cabinet.
TOM: OK. Oh, so it’s really hard to take it out?
JOE: I was wondering if there’s some way I could slip it in behind it.
TOM: Well, you might be able to do it this way. You might be able to use the same technique that I suggested but just have three sides of that patch. In other words, it’s flush against the cabinet but it’s wider than the hole on the top and the bottom and the one side.
JOE: Oh, yeah. OK.
TOM: That would do a better job of attaching then just trying to fill it or tape over it.
TOM: And the other thing that you can do is you can slip a little piece of wood into that hole and, with a drywall screw, you can actually attach the piece of wood to the back of the wall, leave it out sticking into the hole, then put the little patch piece of drywall on top of that, put another screw into that to give it a little bit of support. Either way, you’ve got to get some more support on that or it’s just not going to work. You can’t take a big void like that and just cover it with drywall tape and spackle and expect it to hold.
JOE: No, I know. At the time I wasn’t thinking properly about it. It’s one of those jobs that I – yeah, I appreciate your help.
TOM: Alright, Joe. You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.