Drywall 101

Repairing Drywall Holes and Nail Pops

There are several techniques you can use to patch holes in drywall. This article discusses three different methods, and links to three separate articles that explain in detail how to use these methods to patch drywall. Any of these techniques can be used for holes up to 13 inches. If a hole is larger than thirteen inches it is best to cut the surrounding drywall back to the nearest available stud, and install a piece of drywall to fit. Repairing holes over 13 inches in size require adequate backing independent of the surrounding drywall. The methods outlined below depend on the stability of the surrounding drywall to provide support.

Strapped backing drywall patch without drywall

Strapped backing patch

The first method does not really have a name but may be referred to as a strapped backing patch. It is the strongest method for patching medium to large holes. For drywall to be truly strong it needs to have a solid backing. This method involves using a short length of metal stud or alternatively a short length of 2" x 1" wood. The backing strap is placed behind the hole extending past either edge and then secured to the existing drywall. The patch is then screwed onto the newly placed backer-strap. This is the best patch to use for holes in ceilings.

California drywall patch bedded in

California drywall patch

The second method is popularly known as a California drywall patch. Some refer to this method as a butterfly patch. A California patch works well for small holes. If the hole is larger than 8" x 8" you may consider using the strap method above. A California patch is not well suited for holes in ceilings. This type of patch is best suited for covering up an old outlet hole where the outlet has been removed, or any other square hole.

Hammock patch mesh tape stripping

Hammock patch or Ohio drywall patch

The third method is not well known. This is a very versatile method of patching drywall that works best with small to medium size holes up to 13 inches in size. The hole does not need to be square to use an Ohio patch. If drywall was cut out, the same drywall that was removed can be used with this method. An Ohio patch is not well suited for patching holes in ceilings; however it can be used on small holes in the ceilings if care is taken when placing the patch.

Drywall screw pop

Fixing 'Nail-Pops'

A very common imperfection in drywall is 'nail-pops'. These appear as small round indentations or protrusions in the drywall surface. The paint cracks around the screw head. 'Screw-pops' are caused when the underlying screw or nail breaks free from the backing below and allows the drywall to move in and out.

The articles linked to above do not discuss matching drywall texture. If the surface you are patching is textured, you will need to determine what type of texture was applied and attempt to match it. Click on different types of drywall texture to read more. You can check out this article for tips to matching drywall texture. Most drywall cracks occur within the first year of finishing a drywall project. How do you know if drywall cracks are the drywaller's fault?