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How to repair
small holes in plasterboard walls

Plasterboard has a thick paper covering on the back, if this is still intact -

  • Cut away the plaster and front paper to expose the plaster core and remove all the loose and damaged plaster. Clean with a dry brush.
  • When the plaster filler has been mixed and ready to use, dampen (but don't soak) the back and sides of the hole by using a moistened brush or water spray.
  • Use a filling knife to fill the hole with plaster filler, making sure that it is pushed into the edges, so that the filler is proud of the surrounding plaster.
  • Use a wet filling knife across the hole to level off the filler to the surrounding plaster - if the hole is too wide to be bridged by the filler knife, use the knife around the edges and then work on the middle part.
  • The filler used in holes may shrink as it hardens, and the surface may need to be built up using repeat coatings of filler. Between each coat, lightly sand the surrounding plaster surface and moisten the previous filler before applying the next coat of plaster filler.

If the hole goes right through the back covering paper of the plasterboard:

  • Cut out the damaged part of the plasterboard using a sharp craft knife - check before cutting that there are no cables behind the plasterboard, you don't need to worry too much about pipework as it won't be damaged by the knife.
  • Plasterboard repairCut a piece of plasterboard from an off-cut such that it will pass, sideways, through the hole to be repaired but that its overall size will not allow it to be pulled back through the hole when the faces are together.
    If this sounds confusing, see the diagram right to get an understanding of the intent. Basically the width of the repair piece is narrow enough to slide sideways through the damage hole, but the length of the repair piece overlaps the damage hole when it is parallel to the plasterboard.
  • Plasterboard repair 2Drill a hole in the middle of the repair piece and thread a length of string through it and tie the string so that it cannot be pulled back through. Tying the string around a matchstick will help locate the string.
  • Plasterboard repair 3Holding the string, slide the repair piece sideways through the damage hole into the void behind the plasterboard.
    Using a filling knife, apply a small amount of plaster filler to the back of the surrounding plasterboard and pull the repair piece into the filler and against the plasterboard.
    Whilst holding the repair piece in place, fill around the edges of the damage hole and onto the repair piece, but keep away from the string and keep the level below the original surface.
  • When the filler has hardened, cut off the string and carefully push it back through the hole in the repair piece.
    Using plaster filler, complete filling in the damage.
  • The filler used in the repair may shrink as it hardens, and the surface may need to be built up using repeat coatings of filler. Between each coat, lightly sand the surrounding plaster surface and moisten the previous filler before applying the next coat of plaster filler.