Q: The doorknob has hit the wall so many times it has made a large hole in the wallboard. I tried to fill the hole with newspapers and then spread some drywall paste over the hole, but, as it dried, it would crack and fall off. What should I do to fix the hole so I can paint the room?
Q: The doorknob has hit the wall so many times it has made a large hole in the wallboard. I tried to fill the hole with newspapers and then spread some drywall paste over the hole, but, as it dried, it would crack and fall off. What should I do to fix the hole so I can paint the room? A: Normally a doorknob hole is small enough to be repaired using a drywall repair kit that contains a small metal screen with an adhesive backing. The screen is placed over the hole and drywall compound is spread over the screen. Two or three applications of compound should be enough to complete the repair. If the hole is "large," as you stated, then you will have to remove some of the damaged drywall to make the repairs. Here are two suggestions: 1: Using a pencil, draw a straight line just above and just below the hole. Use a drywall saw and cut each line until you reach a wall stud on either side of the hole. Next, measure more than three-quarters of an inch from each edge of the hole to find the center of each stud. Draw a straight vertical line where you measured to join the top and bottom cuts. Score the vertical lines using a box knife and remove the drywall from the opening you made. Purchase a small piece of drywall from a home store and cut it to fit the opening. Most of the larger home stores carry small pieces of drywall for repairs such as yours. Attach the drywall to the studs using drywall screws. Use a 4-inch-wide putty knife to apply drywall compound to the joints and cover with mesh drywall tape. Allow the compound to dry and apply several more coats, feathering the edges of the compound further out each time. Sand the area and you're ready to paint. 2. Using a drywall saw, make the opening slightly larger and as square as possible. Purchase a small piece of drywall and a 3-foot-long (or longer) piece of 1-by-3-inch lumber. Cut two pieces of the 1-by-3 to the width of the opening plus an additional 2 inches. Remember, there will only be 14 inches of space available between the wall's 2-by-4-inch studs. Place the 1-by-3 inside the opening of the existing drywall with half of the 1-by-3 exposed. Use drywall screws to secure the 1-by-3 to the rough opening of the existing drywall. Do this at both the top and bottom of the hole to act as a backing for the piece of drywall you will be adding. Cut the purchased piece of drywall to fit the opening and secure to the 1-by-3 backer boards using drywall screws. Follow the instructions for taping the joints outlined in suggestion No. 1 and you're ready to sand and paint. Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Write to him with home improvement questions at C. Dwight Barnett, Evansville Courier & Press, P.O. Box 268, Evansville, IN 47702 or email him at d.Barnett@insightbb.com.