Plaster Wall Repair

Plasterboard (gypsum board) is an immensely versatile material for lining walls and ceilings, as it provides a smooth surface for any finish and also has useful sound-deadening and fireproofing properties. The one thing it does not do very well is to resist impacts, and resulting holes cannot simply be patched with filler (spackle)because the board’s strength will have been lost at the point of damage. The solution is either to strengthen the board or to replace it section altogether.

Very small holes can he disguised with self-adhesive scrim rape and cellulose filler, but holes more than about 5 cm/2 in across need a more substantial repair. Use an off cut of plasterboard and cut a piece slightly narrower than the hole width and twice as long as its height to use as a patch. Pierce a hole in it, thread through a piece of string, tie one end to a nail and pull this against the face of the patch. Then hurter some plaster or filler on to the other face of the patch and push it into the hole, keeping hold of the string with the other hand. Position the patch against the inner face of the plasterboard, pulling on the string to help the filler stick it in place. When it has stuck fast, fill the hole and cut off the string.

For larger holes — a foot through the ceiling, for example — in plasterboard and (in older properties) lath-and-plaster surfaces, the only solution is to cut out the damaged piece and nail on a new section in its place. You will need to fix supports around the edges of the opening where you have cut out the damaged section. Fill the cut edges, apply joint tape to hide them and then skim over the patch with a little plaster to complete the repair.

Patching Small Holes in Plasterboard

1 Cut a plasterboard patch slightly longer and narrower than the hole, and thread a length of string with a nail tied on through it hole in its centre.

2. Butter some plaster or filler (spackle) on to the edges of the patch and feed it end -on into the hole, keeping hold of the string with the other hand.

3. Pull the string to hold the patch against the rear face of the board, then fill the recess with either plaster or filler and cut off the string.

4. Complete the repair by applying a skim coat of plaster over the patch. Flick water on to the plaster with a brush and polish it smooth with a steel float.

Patching a Larger Hole in Plasterboard

1. It the plasterboard surface is more extensively damaged, cut through it with sharp knife back to the adjacent wall studs or ceiling joists.

2. Cut across to the stud or joist centres, then make 2 vertical cuts down the centre of the stud or joist to free the damaged panel and remove it.

3. Cut 2 strips of wood to fit between the studs/joists, and screw or nail them into place so that they will support the edges of the main board and the patch.

4. Cut a plasterboard patch to match the section removed, and nail it into place. Fill and tape the joints and skim plaster over the repair, then polish with a steel float.

5. If the wood laths are split or broken, pull them away from the surface. Remove any loose sections of plaster from around the site of the damage.