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Planning & preparation

  • A wall can become damaged for many reasons, but luckily carrying out repairs is relatively straightforward. Here we will show you how to patch repair a wall, as well as how to repair small and large holes in plasterboard
  • Bear in mind that the application method can vary between products, so it’s always best to check the manufacturer’s instructions
  • There are many different fillers and plaster products available, so be sure to consider the range and select a product that is best suited to your job. For example, if you only need a small amount, you might find it easier to use ready mixed plaster
  • Thorough preparation is key to achieving a high-quality finish, so be sure to remove all traces of old plaster, dust and grease for the area you plan to repair
  • Lay out protective sheets to cover the floor and any nearby furniture
  • Turn the radiators off in the room so the plaster doesn’t dry out too quickly
  • Some plaster products shouldn’t be applied to a depth of more the 12mm in one go. If this is the case, you may need to make two or more applications
  • Most plasterboard comes in either 9.5mm or 12.5mm thickness, so try to replace like-for-like when making repairs
  • Have a bucket of water to hand when working so you can clean your trowel as you need to; this will help to avoid lumps and unnecessary work
  • For more advice, see our online guides or leaflets ‘How To Plaster a Wall’ and ‘How To Prepare Walls & Ceilings for Decorating’

Do it right

  • When working with plaster, it's best to only work with small amounts on the hawk and trowel. Try to build up a rhythm so you can cover the patch repair before the plaster starts to set
  • Plaster can dry out quickly, so don’t mix up to too large a quantity at any one time

Staying safe

  • If sanding plaster or cutting plasterboard, be sure to wear goggles and a dust mask and try to work in a well-ventilated space
  • Always use a cable, pipe & stud detector before cutting or sawing into areas you’re repairing
  • When mixing or applying plaster, wear safety goggles, a dust mask and protective gloves

Aftercare

  • Allow the plaster to dry naturally, so avoid putting your heating on high for a few days
  • To prepare the surface for painting, sand with a fine grade sandpaper
  • If you are planning to paint the wall, it’s a good idea to apply a sealer or primer paint to help your finishing paint to adhere

Patch repair plaster to solid walls

Step 1

Remove any damaged or loose plaster with a scraper. Then, use a wire brush to clean the area.

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Step 2

Thoroughly dampen the surface surrounding the repair with a mix of PVA glue and water.

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Step 3

Following the manufacturer's instructions, mix the quick-drying patch plaster.

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Step 4

Using a plastering trowel, transfer a section of plaster to the plasterer’s hawk.

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Step 5

Cut a small section of plaster onto the plastering trowel and apply to the repair with vertical and horizontal movements. Press firmly to work the plaster into the damaged area.

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Step 6

Following the manufacturer's instructions, leave the plaster to dry. Once the plaster is dry, use a spray gun or paint brush to dampen the surface with clean water.

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Step 7

Using the edge of a clean trowel, work across the plaster repair to smooth the finish. Repeat this process if advised by the manufacturer.

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Repair small holes in plasterboard

Step 1

Check the area around the repair with a cable, pipe & stud detector to make sure it’s safe to cut through the old plasterboard.

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Step 2

Measure the hole then clearly mark the measurements onto a piece of plasterboard offcut.

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Step 3

Add an extra 25mm at the top and bottom, then cut the offcut to size with a plasterboard saw or retractable knife.

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Step 4

Using a pencil and straight edge, mark the original measurements (without the additional 25mm overhangs) onto the wall.

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Step 5

Draw diagonal lines from the hole into each corner. Then, use a plasterboard saw to cut along the diagonal lines.

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Step 6

Using a retractable knife and straight edge, score the plasterboard along the guide marks and remove the excess plasterboard.

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Step 7

Drill a hole that is big enough to easily accommodate a nail into the centre of the plasterboard offcut. Then place a nail into the hole.

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Step 8

Apply a bead of grab adhesive to the 25mm overhang at the top and bottom of the offcut and carefully slide the offcut through the hole and into position.

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Step 9

Pull the nail towards you to create a strong bond between the adhesive and the plasterboard. Don’t let go of the nail until the adhesive has bonded. Allow the adhesive to dry fully before continuing.

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Step 10

Once the adhesive has dried, push the nail out so it falls behind the plasterboard.

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Step 11

Mix and apply the repair plaster or ready mixed filler. Apply to the hole with a flexible filling knife, working both vertically and horizontally and ensuring you fill the hole until level with the plasterboard.

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Step 12

When dry, use medium grade sandpaper and sanding block to create a smooth, level finish.

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Repair large holes in plasterboard

Step 1

To make sure it’s safe to work, check around the repair area with a cable & pipe detector.

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Step 2

Use a stud detector or place a metal ruler inside the hole to locate the position of the studs on both sides. Mark roughly where the centre of the studs are onto the plasterboard wall.

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Step 3

Using a straight edge or spirit level, extend the marks and draw vertical lines that run higher and lower than the damaged area.

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Step 4

Then, draw horizontal lines 50mm above and below the damaged area, so they join to the vertical lines and create a rectangle.

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Step 5

Mark diagonal lines into each corner and cut along them with a plasterboard saw.

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Step 6

Use a retractable knife and straight edge to score along the horizontal and vertical lines so you can remove the entire damaged area.

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Step 7

Measure the distance between the two studs and cut two lengths of batten to size.

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Step 8

First, drill the pilot holes. Then, using a combi-drill, secure the batten in position by skewing 40mm screws through the batten and into the studs to create support noggings at the top and bottom of the hole.

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Step 9

Carefully measure and cut a section of plasterboard to fit the space.

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Step 10

Attach the section of plasterboard to the studs and noggings with 32mm drywall screws.

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Step 11

Then, secure the original plasterboard to the studs and noggings with 32mm drywall screws.

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Step 12

To help make the seam invisible and to prevent future cracking, carefully apply jointing tape, so that the tape overlaps the join.

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Step 13

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, mix the finishing plaster. Apply it with a plasterer’s finishing trowel, ensuring all the jointing tape is covered.

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Step 14

Allow to dry and then use medium grade sandpaper and a sanding block to create a smooth and level surface.

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