Patching Sheetrock

I want to share a trick I learned for patching Sheetrock. I told this to several people at the MOM and no-one had ever heard of it. It works with any thickness of 'rock and is easy to do. If done correctly, you will never see the patch.

Let’s say you have a round hole about 3" in diameter - just about the size a door knob will make in a wall. Take a framing square and make it 4" x 4". It’s important to make the hole perfectly square. Then cut out a piece of 'rock anywhere from 6" x 6" up to 8" x 8". Now turn the piece over and you will be looking at the rear paper. Mark a 4" x 4" square in the middle of the back side of the piece of 'rock. Cut along the outline of the square but do not cut through the front paper. Scrape off the back paper and the white (or green) gypsum. Mud the wall and the back side of the front paper (you can also mud around the inside of the hole in the wall if you like) and press the patch firmly into position. Smooth the top paper out and then put on 2 or 3 coats of mud on top of the patch to feather the patch into the existing wall sanding between coats.

With practice, you can make the patch absolutely disappear. Use “hot” mud and the job can be completely done within 20 minutes although base and topping compound work just fine, too.

I learned this from a plastering contractor who worked on high-end homes. He made so much money doing patches that he only had to work 2or 3 days a week and he still owned a really nice home.

Let me know if something I wrote is not clear and I’ll try to explain it better. Hope this works for all of you. It certainly has made my life as a landlord easier.

One word of caution: This method is so easy and gives such good results that it’s easy to get carried away. It doesn’t work on really big holes where you need backing and sometimes, if there are lots of holes, it’s easier to simply replace an entire sheet of 'rock rather than try to patch it. It’s a judgement call you only learn from experience.

Good luck.


Excellent tip Rolf,

Folks in the trade call it a “hot patch”.

If you need to do larger sizes that need support, cut 2 scrap pieces of wood (2x2’s work well) that are about 8 inches longer than the height of the patch. Slip them in the square cut hole, hold them in place vertically, inside the wall, at about 1/3 & 2/3rds of the distance horizontal. Put a couple of screws in each end of each piece thru existing drywall on the top & bottom, & you now have blocking to support the middle of the “hot patch”.

This works equally well on floor work, if you are needing something to nail to, like a patch near an interior wall or cabinet, & the floor joist ain’t there, like in bathrooms. If done right, you will not have the give in the floor at the edges of the patch, & it is very strong, & quick. I like to use long drywall or deck screws for such repairs.

Thanks for sharing,

Rick Lee

Post Edited (11-12-07 16:13)

I don’t want to seem too cheesy here, but these are mobile homes. If the hole is from a doorknob you can buy a round plastic piece from most supply stores(Lowes, HD) with adhesive on the back that is designed to keep the doorknob from going through the sheetrock in the first place. They come in different sizes & will cover the hole just fine with no repainting required.

I have also used blank switch plates to cover small holes, just screw & caulk them over the hole. Finally, I have covered a fairly large hole in a bedroom wall by installing a chalk board.

Chalkboards, doorknob covers, wall plates… now those sound more like the patches I do…lol. But it is good to have the knowledge for patching the sheetrock. Considering most of my lonnies have the BEAUTIFUL wood textured wall board, I am not sure how much I will get to use your techniques though.

For those who encounter these wallboards, one technique I have used to fix wallboard with a lot of problems is wainscoat. Just get a contrasting color of wallboard, cut each sheet in half (making them 4 feet tall) and slap them up with liquid nails and batten strips. Since I have found that most damage is below the 4 foot line (ie dogs, kids, under window leaks) this works great. Top it off with a cheap chair rail and you have turned an eyesore into a selling point, cheaply. The wallboards usually run less than $15 a sheet and the strips and chair rail run around $2-3 per 8 feet. So that means you can cover 8 feet of wall for around $18. I usually do it just on the areas that are in bad shape and like this as it saves the time of patching and painting over bad areas.


Excellent tip, Rolf. I’ve heard this before but never tried it. I may use it in my own home, should the need arise.

In mobile homes, I prefer even simpler methods such as clocks, wall plates, or, even stickers. You can get big stickers for cheap and they cover nicely. I learned this technique from some of my buyers, who will often punch holes in doors and then use a bumper sticker to cover up the hole.

My favorite sticker I have seen in such an application was a large bumper sticker in a very nasty home that said “Expensive… but worth it!”

I guess we think alike, because I have done the wainscoat thing also. Most times I only do the wall with the holes, if there is more than one I’ll do the whole room. I have had people tell me how much they like the “accent wall”.


Going to try your idea on a soft spot in the middle of a floor tomorrow.


my contractor calls this a “California patch”

when had videos, they showed this



If you are repairing a small place, just mark it square, use a circular saw to make the plunge cuts, or a jig saw or sawzall. You can move the blocks to the outside edges, on each side & fit a piece between each side on the top & bottom, basically creating a “ledge” on all four sides to support the new patch piece. Measure & cut the new piece & drop it in, & screw it down. You can even do odd shapes this way. Easy peasy, the repair will be solid & it is fast.

Years ago I worked for a guy who had a mobile home repair biz & used air tools for everything, including air chisels, saws, etc… I like cordless, but the air chisel is a bad man for cutouts, especially in tight spots, but use with ear plugs, HUH?

Rick (who used to have better hearing)

When you are working & need a step up to reach something over head, make yourself a “bucket bench”.

You need;

2 Plastic buckets the same size, like 5 gallon paint, or drywall mud buckets,

A 2"x10" x 4’, or similarly sized plank(skinny guys get to use 3/4 plywood)

Screws that are about 3/4" maybe a dozen.

1)Lay the plank on the floor.

2)Center one of the buckets on top of the board at each end, handle up, line the edge of the bucket about 1/2" from the end of the board.

I like to make the handles perpendicular to plank, some folks like them parallell, some remove them.

3)Put screws through the bottom of the buckets into the board, 6 per bucket.

4)Turn it over & use it.

It is light, very cheap, durable, & after a while you will learn how to “walk” or “surf” the bench around, but be careful, you can cave the side of the bucket in if you exceed the PSI limit with weight or force from movement. You just step off & step back on after you pop the bucket back out.

This is great for cieling & high wall work.

If you need a taller bench, find some of the 7 gallon buckets, chlorine buckets are great, but many have screw on lids & make such good tool buckets that you will hate to use them for that, unless you have a bunch.

Have Fun,

Rick Lee (who has exceeded the PSI limit before)

Great idea, I love it! But I am no lightweight, those who met me at the MOM can attest. Will it hold a 250 pounder? If you want a little more height you could just slip 2 more buckets inside and gain 4-6 inches of height.


It will hold a 250+ pounder, but be careful trying to surf with it. If you add buckets & stand on it they will become permanently “nested”.



A trick that may keep buckets from becoming peranently nested is to drill an air inlet hole through the botton of the “bench bucket”.

That could work, let me know how it turns out.



Showed the guys on my crew your floor patching technique and they were duly impressed. Of course I shamelessly took credit for the idea and neglected to tell them the real source of the information. Hey, I want them to think that I am smarter than is actually the case and this was a wonderful way to drive home that message.



I am glad that it has helped.

I cannot imagine that I invented it, but I just transferred the hot patch technology to floors, when I had to replace some in a bad spot.

I hate going in behind someone who has done a hack job, & having to straighten it out, like when you can see the ground at the edge of the tub,

or at a wall or cabinet. This trick lets you do a real nice job quickly, & efficiently.

If you need to you can use scrap cardboard to make a pattern for odd shapes, & tight spots, & then just trace it onto the plywood replacement stock.

If you are doing several spots, you can prep the spots with blocking, make the patterns, & lay them all out on the plywood & move them around as needed to minimize waste. At $15.00 to $20.00 plus per sheet, and gas at $3.00+ a gallon, it matters.

I like to maximumize economy of motion whenever I can, thinking through the steps that you need to complete to get to the end really helps, that way you can hopefully eliminate the “I shouda’s”.

Now that you know it, claim it as your own! Your crews think you are a genius, your secret is safe with us.


Post Edited (11-12-07 16:12)

Great tips. Thanks for sharing.