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Fast fix for drywall holes.

The ordinary way to fix a hole in drywall is to screw pieces of wood to the backside of the hole, fit in a piece of drywall, then apply tape and joint compound. A faster way is to use a "plug."

A plug is a scrap of drywall with its core cut to the hole size but its facing paper left larger (opening photo). This paper keeps the scrap of drywall from falling through the hole and provides an edge on which to put the joint compound.

Our photos show how to make the plug and install it. The only tools you need are a utility knife, drywall saw, square, 6- and 10-in. drywall knives, and sandpaper. We've included a few tips on p. 27 to make the job go better.

* Extra effort is needed to hide a patch that is highlighted by strong side light from recessed lighting or windows. To test your work, hold a lamp against the wall to cast light across the patch. The flaws will stand out as you sand. * Seal your last coat of joint compound with white latex primer so that the paint will match the gloss of the wall. Unprimed joint compound absorbs paint and will have a different sheen from the rest of the wall. After priming, apply one coat of latex paint to the plug and then paint the entire wall. * With practice, you can finish a plug repair in less than a day. Use a powdered setting-type joint compound (Durabond 45, for example) to apply the plug, and you can be ready to apply finish coats in less than an hour. Apply premixed joint compound for the finishing coats. Speed up their drying with a heat gun or hair dryer. * You can use the drywall plug method to patch a hole in plaster too. Square the hole with a chisel and clean all the plaster from the lath. Leave the lath boards in place, even if they're broken.

1 Cut a rectangular hole around the damaged area with a drywall saw. For convenience, lay out the cut in whole inches. Be sure to check inside the hole first so you don't cut an electrical wire.

2 Cut a piece of drywall that measures 3 in. larger than the wall hole in both directions. Cut the drywall to size by measuring with the square, scoring with a utility knife and snapping on the cut. Then turn it over and cut the back paper.

3 Score a line 1-1/2 in. from the edge, working from the backside, using the narrow blade of a framing square as a guide. Do the same for the other three edges.

4 Snap the borders and peel the plaster core from the paper, leaving the larger piece of paper on the front.

5 Apply joint compound to the paper edges of the plug and press it into the hole. Smooth out with a 6-in. taping knife by pressing hard enough to push the plug flush to the wall, but not so hard as to squish all the joint compound from under the paper.

6 Apply two more finishing coats with a broad knife, after the first layer of joint compound is dry.

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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:You Can Fix It
Author:Carpenter, Scott
Publication:The Family Handyman
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 1, 1997
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