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Filling big holes in plasterboard

Listed under Blog, preparation, Scot Hindley Posted Jan 14 2014

Scot Hindley, Associate painter and Decorator in Cheshire had a good experience with Gyproc Plasterboard Patches, for filling big holes in plasterboard.

Here are some big holes in plasterboard.

Gyproc Plasterboard  Patches

There are a few ways to tackle this, but Scot had some of these patches.

Gyproc Plasterboard  Patches

As Scot explains

Inside the packet you get a number of self adhesive patches that cover all sizes of holes. I used the patches in conjunction with Gyproc Easifill as a two coat system.

And this is the end result.

skimmed with Easifill

Scot’s original article is on his blog, where he demonstrates how he is steadily decorating Cheshire homes to a very high standard.

Traditional way to fill holes?

Traditional and plasterboard don’t really fit in the same sentence, but this is one tried and tested dry waller approach to repairs in broken walls.

repair plasterboard holeCut out some rigid metal gauze bigger than the hole.

Thread a piece of string through the gauze.

Push the gauze through the hole. Make sure the gauze covers the hole, because that will provide the backing for the filler; pull firmly on the string so the gauze is pinned against the back of the sound plasterboard.

To hold the gauze in place, use the string and a pencil as a brace.

Use a thick stodgy filler in stages, before skimming and smoothing off.

The technique is shown here on a Homeserve video.

Note that whilst it does show clearly how to fill a large hole, it doesn’t show how to prevent a hairline crack re-appearing around the edge of the repair, if the filler shrinks. (Obviously a doorstop is in order to stop a handle repeatedly knocking against the repair!)

It’s all in the details!

Annoying hairline cracks that keep reappearing? That is where the Toupret Elafib cotton scrim would come into its own.

Elafib scrim

ie Paint a 2″ band of vinyl matt paint around the edge of the repair and bed the scrim in it. When dry skim and sand (with a Mirka sander block attached to your vacuum. Still available from Hallmark Fraulo £33.07 incl of VAT and delivery)

The reason the stick-on patches Scot used are so convenient, is that you would cut the patch to extend over the hole, so the vulnerable edge is covered and reinforced in one hit! Once skimmed over, the filler and board underneath can do whatever it likes, the surface filler should not crack.

Same technique as gauze, except with plasterboard off-cuts

I have searched high and low and cannot see a video or images of the technique I picked up after a week of doing nothing but walking around a hotel repairing gaping holes in plasterboard walls. Good old electricians had lost their cables and literally loafed around the building with claw hammers smashing holes, looking for clues!

Instead of gauze, you use a piece of plasterboard cut a couple of inches bigger than the hole

Instead of string, drive a 2″ flat head nail through the patch piece.

Put a big dollop of filler on the face of the replacement piece, about an inch or so all round the edge. You are going to make a sandwich!

Fernagle the replacement patch through the hole (on the angle). With a good hold on the pointy end of the nail, line the patch piece up so it is covering the back of the hole, and then pull firmly on the nail till the filler squidges and the edges of the patch bed tight onto the back of the sound plasterboard. The suction and grip of the filler will keep the new piece in place til dry.

When the filler has dried off, carefully push the nail back into the void and start building up the layers with filler. (If you are repairing 1/2″ plasterboard, you could bed a 3/8″ piece of board in the gap to get the layer built up quickly. When the hole is filled flush, reinforce the joints with scrim and then overfill and sand down with your dustless sander.

Either way, Scot has long finished by now with his self adhesive Gyproc patches!

Any other ways of repairing smashed plasterboard? Please share them here.

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9 comments to “Filling big holes in plasterboard”

  1. Charles Budd

    Those patches look a lot quicker and easier than the old techniques. I’ve always used the ‘finangled bit of plasterboard in the hole’ technique; but instead of a nail I use a long screw – it holds better than a nail and is easier to remove.

  2. Andy Crichton

    The nail goes through from the back so you can pull on the pointy end as hard as you like, it isn’t going anywhere. It is a waste of a nail though as it ends up pushed into the void.

  3. Charles Budd

    Aha! Now I get it. 🙂

  4. Harbhandyman

    The problem with all of these methods is that they leave a bump as all the filler and scrim is on the surface. I like to finagle?? a piece of timber into the hole with glue ideally PU and screw through the wall to hold it in place, glue and screw a piece of plasterboard same size as the hole. What I do then is score a border around the hole an chip off the plaster skim, it usually comes away easily unless on a joint. I them can use scrim or elafib tape and easifill/toupret. When sanded it is a crack free and flat, nigh on invisible mend.

  5. Andy Crichton

    That is a neat extra touch scribing away the edge.

    With good amount of feathering over Elafib scrim, I wouldn’t be expecting anyone to pick up on the repair to be honest. However, a thicker paper or plasterer’s scrim and not enough attention to the skimming, it is a different matter, and then you have bulge heaven.

    If he ever reads this, Deano at Llama did the best patch skimming I ever saw a plasterer do.

  6. darlic

    I have done a bit of this lately, i am no pro, how much i want to be. I found the scrim easy to use with a small brush feathering over. I used toupret fine surface filler,amazing stuff,with axus filling blades also worth buying. The only mistake i made was sanding, I used a dewalt sander and caught the scrim in two areas,very slightly, so lesson for me maybe do it by hand,would be a good idea. Also with the toupret i was very picky wanted a nice finish, and got it, but what I noticed when I came to paint with crown trade were them small bits I caught with the sander. It covered well with the paint, looking at the work you cant see the repair,so job well done.

  7. Mike

    Don’t know if you Brits have the stuff over there, but when I have problems with hairline cracks I use a product in a spray can that sprays on a rubber-like coating that covers it and is flexible. One simply primes and paints over it and Bam! No more cracks. We Yanks have a few tricks up our sleeves!

  8. plasterboard services

    Exterior eggshell creates a rugged protective coat that’s incredibly durable. It’s particularly good for wooden front doors, windowsills and all outdoor woodwork. You can even use it to paint UPVC – it does a fantastic job and the finish lasts for absolutely ages.

  9. Andy Crichton

    Thanks for calling by. Just to clarify for readers, you are based in New Zealand, and your idea of exterior eggshell may not be the same as a UK reader’s. (Your exterior eggshell sounds great!)

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