How Big a Drywall Patch Before Taping is Needed?

bshanleyOctober 8, 2012

I'd like to cut out several 3" to 4" circles in my drywall ceiling, then "plug" the holes with the same size circles of new drywall, and then mud over them. Will there be a circular crack if I do not tape a patch of that size? Any better ideas? Thanks in advance.

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In my experience, you will get cracking unless you tape them. You're probably not going to be able to put in a patch so perfectly that you could only apply mud to the crack; you'll have to mud over the whole thing, so why wouldn't you want to use tape?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 1:58PM
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A hole that size will need some kind of backing to repair properly.

A 2" wide piece of wood that is at least 1/2" thick and 6"+ long is put up on the back side of the sheet rock and secured with a couple sheet rock screws on either end to the sheet rock ceiling. Then the patch is screwed to that wood to secure it in place.

That will hold the patch securely in place. Taping a circular hole is not easy, but by installing the patch as I described, taping is usually not necessary.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 4:48PM
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I'm with handymac. If you're cutting the holes with a hole saw, you can even use the same pieces. Clean the drywall edges with a sharp utility knife before you mud. Gently pull a sharp blade on a 45 degree angle and they'll clean up nicely.

If the plugs are proud of the wall surface, shim the wood backing with something to recess it a bit.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 5:52PM
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A hoe large enough to use drywall as part of the patch needs tape.

mesh tape and setting compound is easier to feather out.

Expect to feather out at least 2-3 times the size of the hole.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:43PM
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Hi, I have done that before with no tape.
Example.... 3" hole
Piece of sheetrock about 6" square. Thickness doesn't matter if there isn't anyting like a rafter above the hole.
On the face side of the sheetrock find the center. ( x from corner to corner) with a stick maybe a paint stick put in one screw in the stick near the end about 1" away.Now put another screw in the stick about
2 1/2" away from the first screw let about 1/4" stick out the back of the stick. put the first screw in the center ot the rock and turn the stick to cut the sheetrock turning the second screw untill you cut the sheetrock through.You should have a 5" circle.
Now turn the sheetrock over. With the stick move the screw so they are about 1 7/16 apart cut the back side of the sheet rock like before but DO NOT CUT THE FACE OF SHEET ROCK
go bout 3/4 way through then break and peel off the sheet rock off the face paper. When done the part should be 5" on front and a little less than 3" on the rear.
Fit the patch to the hole and adjust as needed. Mud the back edges and the paper of the patch and place in the hole. If needed hold up the patch across the front with a stick across the patch.Remove any excess mud fron the surface. You will finish the patch when it dries place
Good Luck Woodbutcher

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:49PM
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If you have Sheetrock record splitting from your walls, it is best to take down the shedding record and set up new record. Here is how to do this. You will need Sheetrock record and Spackle or comparative paste.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:03AM
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There seems to be a slight difference of opinion as to whether tape is needed on a job of this size or not. I was hoping to avoid taping, so as to also avoid a hump and extensive feathering. But let's say I decide to play it safe and use the tape. Do I have to try and tape the circumference of the circle, or can I just place three or four pieces across the patch, effectively turning the circle into a square? As always, thanks for your advice.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:57AM
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If you go with tape, two parallel pieces would do it. It doesn't have to cover every bit of the joint to lock everything in place. If you tape, an alternative would be to use extra thin mesh tape, which is thinner than paper tape.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:33PM
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Follow-up: I bought a cheap but extremely effective hole saw kit from Amazon. There were about a dozen sizes, up to 5." I cut out the holes, backed them with wood where necessary, filled with drywall cut from scrap with the same size hole saw, taped, mudded, and painted. So far, so good. Thanks for everyone's advice. This is a wonderful site!!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 12:40AM
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You do not need to tape unless the hole lies on a seam. A small hole, in the middle of a sheet, will not crack if the patch is sufficiently backed. Cracking is caused by movement, but on an inside (small) hole there can not be any movement. Put in plywood strips behind the patch, as shown in the link below. I have used this method without tape with no cracking.

Here is a link that might be useful: Repair a Small Drywall Hole

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 8:34AM
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"there can not be any movement."

Right up till someone leans on the wall.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 2:56PM
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I've had hairline cracking a couple of times when I didn't use tape, even though the patch was properly backed. It could have been a result of the location (ceiling patch with attic on other side, and wall patch on a poorly insulated exterior wall), but I've since just decided to always tape. I also do two things to minimize the hump and how large the feathering with joint compound needs to be:

1) I use a razor blade to slightly bevel the paper edges of the hole and the front and back edges of the patching piece. This insures that there is nothing sitting high around the edges, and that there is no roughness on the back side of the patching piece to cause the patch to sit proud.

2) I sometimes use a very thin cardboard shim so the wood backing is set slightly deeper. This allows the patching piece to sit a small bit lower than the surrounding surface; this helps with avoiding a hump while mudding. I have also found that new wallboard and old wallboard might not be precisely the same thickness, so you can adjust by shimming if you need to.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 3:43PM
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In this case, the person is patching a ceiling, so nothing is even going to touch that patch. And if you put in well secured plywood in back with screws in through the surrounding perimeter, the patch will stay put and no cracking will occur even without tape, provided it is a small doorknob type hole that is patched. But if it is an edge, or where two sheets meet, then tape. Also, a very large patch should probably be taped, although usually you would want to extend a large patch over to a stud, and then for sure you would tape.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 9:19PM
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No tape and you will get a crack in time.

Size doesn't really matter.

What's the big deal about using tape?

It adds structual intregrity and is nothing to apply.

I guess we all have to worry about something in this life.

I guess saving no money and no time is worth it to some.

Glad I have a life.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 2:28PM
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