Get Nrdly Free Trial Built with Nrdly

How to Fix Drywall (Save $600…or MORE!)

True story:

I paid my handyman $600 to fix a 4 x 4 foot section of ceiling.

That was 9 years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, my handyman is awesome.

But sometimes money is tight, REAL tight.

And paying $600 or more isn’t doable.

Today you’ll see how to fix drywall ceilings and do it relatively fast.

Let’s dive in.

Drywall Supplies

You’ll need these supplies

This is a long list, I totally get it.

BUT you’ll save more money than you’ll spend.

And this is a great excuse to get a new impact driver, haha.

Let’s start.

How to Fix Drywall…Sizing Up Your Mess (this sounds bad but isn’t)

Holes in the ceiling  are scary.

But they’re not impossible to fix.

Measure the thickness of your existing drywall or plaster.

Measure Drywall Thickness

I had to deal with two different sizes of drywall.

On the left side of the joist there was 1/2″ and on the right side there was 5/8″ drywall.

This is a true pain in the BUTT but you’ll see how to deal with it.

If you have electricity in your ceiling turn off the circuit breaker.

I had to remove a recessed light fixture in our kitchen.

It was smack in the middle of the repair.

Remove Recessed Light


Take a picture of your light’s wiring.

When it’s time to reinstall the light you’ll know exactly what to do (and will avoid a call to the electrician).

Take Picture of Wiring

Cap the wires and push the electrical lines safely into the ceiling.

Try to avoid having them touch any copper or metal (just in case!!)

Measure the widest length and width of your hole.

Measure Width of Hole

Cut out a new piece of drywall.

It should cover the hole in your ceiling.

Cut New Drywall

Dry fit the new drywall over your hole.

Trace around the new drywall with a marker.

Trace New Drywall

Cut along your traced guide with a drywall saw.

Use a shop vac to suck up some of the dust…although this is a futile effort at times, haha.

Shop Vac Dust

Remove the screws or nails that remain in the joist.

Remove Screws or Nails

Add extra blocking in your ceiling to support your new drywall.

In this case I used 2 x 2 inch wood framing.

Add Blocking

There’s more detail in the video on how I did this (actually, there are a lot of details in the video).

Mark the location of the framing and blocking on the perimeter of the hole.

Mark Position of Framing

Now it’s time to hang the drywall.

How to Hang New Drywall (without killing yourself)

Most of the time I’m by myself when hanging drywall.

So the tips here will help you a ton if you’re in the same predicament.

Drywall screws should be slightly below the drywall.

You can accomplish this by using a dimple bit

Dimple Bit

Place 4 drywall screws at the corners of your new drywall.

Screws at Corners

I forgot to mention this in the video!!!

When you dry fit the new piece of drywall, place a mark on one side and a corresponding mark on the adjacent ceiling.

This will help you line up the new drywall…small tip but super helpful.

Attach your new drywall to the framing.

Attach Drywall to Framing

In the video you’ll see me fiddling with a laser.


The laser helped me line up the location of the recessed lights.

Basically I shot the laser across the ceiling and through the other recessed lights.

Then used it find the exact location for my new hole.

While at Home Depot I spotted an adjustable hole cutter by Milwaukee.

This is one of those tools you instantly love.

It adjusts to cut 2 to 7 inch holes in drywall.

The best part: the attachable shield catches all the dust!!!

(my wife likes this tool, can you guess why?)

Adjustable Drywall Cutter

Once the drywall is hung it’s time to mud and add texture.

This is where it gets interesting…and a bit artsy as my daughters like to say.

Mudding Drywall and Adding Texture (it’s an art)

Some might think I’m nuts.

But for textured ceilings I prefer to use fiberglass mesh tape at the seams.

Mesh Drywall Tape


It’s stronger and more flexible than paper tape.

If the ceiling wasn’t textured I’d likely use paper tape.

Add mesh tape to all 4 sides of the drywall.

Add Mesh to Drywall

Apply a thin layer of 5 minute setting type joint compound to the mesh tape.

Five Minute Joint Compound

You only need enough joint compound to cover the tape.

Don’t worry, I show you the details in the video.

Thin Layer of Compound

Once the 5 minute joint compound is dry, you can use Easy Sand 20 to get a second coat of joint compound.

Notice how the joint compound is only on one half of my 10 inch knife.

This was to fill in the difference in depth between the new and old drywall.

Easy Sand 20

Easy Sand 20 sets up in 20-30 minutes depending on the temp and humidity.

Which is nice because you severely cut down on the time of the repair.

If you’re applying thin coats of joint compound you won’t need to sand much.

A moist drywall sponge cuts down on the dust.

Also, knock down any high spots or bumps with your drywall knife.

Knock Down High Spots

This is definitely a process.

And I’ve got a ton of great tips in today’s video…including how to texture.

What’s Next

If you have to fix leaky copper pipes we have a great tutorial on how to do that without soldering.

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.



Repair Drywall Ceilings