How To Patch a Drywall Hole Without Studs?

Most homeowners prefer using drywall because it is easy to install and durable. However, it is not damage-proof. The upside, however, is that replacing damaged areas and patching holes in drywall is pretty easy. We have done a good deal of research on this and came up with a very practical guide for you. 

Here is an easy-fix guide on how to patch the hole on your drywall without studs:

  1. Cut a clean line around the hole.
  2. Place the patch over the hole.
  3. Apply joint compound on the patch.
  4. Sand the wall until smooth.
  5. Prime and paint the wall.

Further along this article, we will share important tips on patching smooth and textured drywall. If you want to know more, keep reading!

A huge hole on the drywall inside a room, How To Patch a Drywall Hole Without Studs?

How To Do Stud-less Fix on Drywall Hole

Using studs in patching large holes can be a complex process. If you wish to do a DIY patching job, then it's best to keep things simple. 

A huge hole on the drywall photographed up close

1. Cut a clean line around the hole.

Generally, the edge of holes in drywall is uneven and has loose debris. To make patching easier, smoothen the edges of the hole by cutting a clean line along the sides.

For large holes, measure and trace a square that is slightly bigger than the hole. Cut the shape from the drywall. 

A white wall with a huge hole on it

2. Place the patch over the hole.

Backing support is usually recommended for holes bigger than your fist. To patch a large hole without using studs, you will need to prepare the following materials:

  • Piece of drywall
  • Drill
  • Screw
  • 2"x4" furring strips
  • Drywall screws
  • Drywall mesh tape
  • Joint compound (Drywall mud)
  • Putty Knife
  • Hand sand sponge
  • Skim coat
  • Skimming blade
  • Primer
  • Paint

To patch the large hole, we need to attach the furring strips along the length of two opposite sides of the square with drywall screws. Half of the strip face should be visible in the hole. This is where you will anchor your patch. If the hole is too big, attach another piece of the wood strip in the middle for better support.

A huge hole on the drywall photographed in the living room

Next, insert the drywall patch in place and screw it into the furring strips. By this time, you should have a total of 8 screws. 4 screws outside the corners of the hole and another 4 inside the corners of the patch. If you have a splint in the middle, then that makes 10 screws in total.

Once the patch is secured in place, seal the seams with a drywall mesh strip. For a smoother finish, make sure that your tape touches end-to-end. Do not overlap the edges of the tape on top of one another. 

Check out this 6"x25' drywall mesh tape on Amazon 

3. Apply joint compound on the patch.

After taping, you can now apply a joint compound, also called drywall mud into the seams using a putty knife. The seams need a thick coverage to completely seal the hole. After the seams, cover the rest of the patch with mud until the mesh tapes are completely covered. Let the area dry for 24 hours or as the manufacturer instructs.

See this joint compound on Amazon

While it is necessary to cover the whole patch with mud, also see that the application is not too thick. To much mud will make sanding the area more difficult.

4. Sand the wall until smooth.

Once the mud is dry, sand the patch area using a hand sand sponge until the area is smooth. You can use other sanding tools as long as a smooth finish is achieved. 

Then, apply a skim coat over the patch area for an even finish. Feather the coat out to the corners of the patch. If the outcome of the coat is not satisfactory, you can skim again. You can achieve a better coat finish using a good skimming blade.

Click here to see this 24" skimming blade on Amazon

5. Prime and paint the wall.

If your skim coat is looking good, you can now finish patching by painting over the area. But before applying paint, it is ideal to prime first. This is so that any small holes missed during coating can be sealed. Plus, the paint will adhere better when you prime.

Make sure your paint color matches the rest of the wall. Paint over the primed area and let it dry. Congratulations, you're done!

How To Patch A Medium-Sized Hole

Worker using a tape to measure the hole on the drywall

The steps in patching a drywall hole that is 4-5 inches wide are similar to a larger one. The only difference is the medium of patch used and how it is applied. 

So for medium-sized holes, there are 3 ways you can patch that gap. You can choose from the aluminum mesh patch, presto patch, or a California patch.

Aluminum mesh patch

Using this mesh patch is super easy. Choose a patch that is big enough to cover the hole with a one-inch allowance on the sides. These patches that come in 4"x4", 6"x6", and 8"x8" sizes provide enough support and blend well with the wall after painting. 

After choosing the patch with the right size, tape it over the hole. Smooth the area on the side to prevent creases.

Next, start applying drywall mud to the center of the patch. Apply liberally so that the hole is covered and filled with mud. From the center, move to the sides and cover the entire mesh with mud. Finish with a smooth surface.

Presto patch

The presto patch is a paper patch that has a 4" circle drywall in the middle. Holes that are 3" - 4" wide can be fixed up with this option. 

To start, place the styrofoam template over the hole and trace along the circle pattern with a pencil. Next, cut the pattern from the wall using a cutter or knife. 

Once the pattern is cut out, apply a liberal amount of mud on the sides and inside the corners of the circle as well. Then, we can put the plug over the hole and smooth out the paper patch on the corners. Completely cover the patch with mud until the surface matches with the wall seamlessly.

California patch

The idea of the California patch is similar to the presto patch. However, this is ideal for holes that are 6" wide and will require you to manually separate the board from the paper patch. 

First, you have to cut the drywall into a square that is 2 inches more than the width and height of the hole. At the board side of the patch, measure an inch from each corner and run the cutter along the board only. Do not cut the paper.

Peel away the board to reveal the one-inch allowance on each side that will serve as the anchor. 

You can then trace the shape of the board on the drywall. When tracing the square, omit the paper border. Cut the shape from the wall with a drywall saw.

Apply mud the same way as the presto patch, lining the outside and inside corners of the hole. Plug the patch, feather the sides to smooth them, and remove excess mud. 

Before applying mud, try fitting the plug to the hole first to make sure it fits right. This is recommended for both presto and California patches.

How To Repair Holes on Textured Drywall

Green and dark green color combination

The steps involved in patching a textured wall are almost the same as those for a wall without texture. For this, follow steps 1-4. But before texturizing your walls, you need to prime them first. 

Why apply a primer before texture? For the same reasons we do it before painting walls — better adherence and even drying.

Now, how to create textured walls? It depends on the texture style you have. Some will require you to manually apply and style the wall like in the case of a comb or slap brush. For, styles like the orange peel and knockdown, you can make use of a wall texture spray.

Check out this orange peel texture spray on Amazon

The good thing about this product is that it has a nozzle-and-dial system that allows you to control the pressure and coarseness of the spray. This brand comes with a knockdown variety. 

After drying your texture, it is strongly encouraged that another layer of primer is applied before painting over it. 

For more information on textured walls, read this article: 7 Types Of Wall Texture For Your Home

To guide you on the repair process, watch this video:

What To Do Before Cutting Into Drywall

Now that you know how to patch holes and make your wall look anew, you're probably giddy to start. But before you go charging, there are a few things you need to observe before cutting into your walls. 

  1. Locate electrical wires and plumbing that run in your walls. This task will require you to consult with a professional or at least the blueprint of your home. 
  2. Use a stud finder to make sure you do not cut over a section with studs. This can make the repair more complex.
  3. Know that a half-inch drywall weighs 1.7 lbs./ sq. ft. You need to note this especially if you are repairing a large wall section.
  4. Determine if the wall for repair is load-bearing. You can either look at your blueprint or use a stud finder or magnet for this. Studs in load-bearing walls are usually 16 inches apart in the center. Meanwhile, non-load-bearing walls have studs that are 24 inches apart.
  5. Use protective gear when sanding. The process can kick up a lot of dust in the air.
  6. Keep small children and pets away from the work area until the repair is complete.


A huge hole on the drywall inside a room

To sum up, patching your drywall hole without studs is possible. Our guide and reminders on patching holes on both smooth and textured walls will be of help to beginners. Now, you can dive right into your drywall repair project. Happy fixing! 

You might also want to check on other related topics:

How To Clean Up After Drywall Installation?

What Grit Sandpaper For Drywall?

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