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How To Fix a Stripped Screw Hole in Drywall

fixing stripped screw hole in drywall

Moving in or out of a new place is just about the most aggravation you can experience. Is it not? There are 25 nail and screw holes to patch when I move out, and when I move in, I always end up putting at least one screw in the wrong place or stripping the hole.

However, I’ve learned over time that it’s not that big a deal. Depending on if you’ll reuse the hole or not and what you’ll use it for, there is a fix. I’m going to help you understand how to fix a stripped screw hole in drywall. An easy method may have to do with a simple fix like an anchor.

If your hole is a tiny bit larger, but not by a lot, there’s self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape. Finally, one method you can use is drywall joint compound. If you are moving out of a place or into a fixer-upper, you will probably have more than one stripped screw hole, and this is normally for the ones that have ripped and become large holes. Also, you may want to use this method if you are going to hang any more than moderate weight in an area that’s been badly damaged. Don’t stress; I’ll explain.

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How To Fix a Stripped Screw Hole in Drywall

Here are some fixes for the stripped screw holes in your drywall:

1. Use a Larger Screw

Sure, you can simply try to use a larger screw, but here’s a hint – this will only work if there is a stud behind your damaged hole. Using a larger screw in a stripped screw hole without an anchor is only going to compound your problem. If you are going to try this. Bookmark this article and go directly to Use Drywall Joint Compound.

2. Use the Right Drywall Anchor

Choose the right size and type of anchor. This will depend on what you are going to hang and how much it weighs. Anchors come with a weight limit on the package. If installed correctly, this is the weight they will bear. Keep in mind, there are drywall anchors, concrete anchors, anchors made especially for metals, etc.

There are many choices for drywall anchors, from lightweight plastic anchors to toggle bolts that can manage more weight than the drywall itself. Here are the drywall anchors that I use at my house.

Use Fiberglass Mesh Drywall Tape for Up to 1 ½-inch Holes

What you’ll need:

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What to do:

  1. Sand the rough spots down with a fine sandpaper sponge, and dust off the debris with a damp shop towel.
  2. Use a piece of fiberglass mesh that is adhesive-backed. Cut it at least 1 inch away from the hole on all four sides. Peel backing, and press mesh against the wall.
  3. Spread a layer of quick-drying spackling compound over the repair area using a 4 or 6-inch drywall knife. Work until thin and smooth.
  4. Let the repair dry for 24 hours, and repeat step 3.
  5. Repeat step 4.

Use Drywall Joint Compound

What you’ll need:

What to do:

  1. Decide what size your replacement piece of drywall will be
    • For most screw holes, a 6-inch x 6-inch or less square piece of drywall will be sufficient to fix your ripped screw hole. Just measure 1-2 inches outside the hole on all sides.
  2. Measure and cut your replacement drywall
    • Using scrap drywall, measure your 6-inch x 6-inch, or whatever size you need, square piece of drywall with your yardstick, from the front, and mark it with a pencil. Cut it from the front, so that you get a smooth cut on the face.Don’t try and cut it all the way through. Put it on the ground on a flat smooth surface and cut most of the way through it with your utility knife. Then, you can snap off each side. The back may be uneven, but don’t fret, as it won’t be seen.
  3. Cut your bad drywall piece out of the wall
    • Now, take your replacement piece of drywall and put it directly over the hole, centering it. With your pencil, trace the outside of the square onto your wall. Then, with your screwdriver, lay the tip against the line you’ve drawn and hit the back of the handle with your broad palm gently but with enough pressure to penetrate the drywall.Next, using the screwdriver hole for a starter, begin to saw out the square you drew on the wall with your jab saw, again gently, using care not to saw any wires, pipes, etc. If the cut is too rough around the edges, use your utility knife to smooth the edges.
  4. Measure and trim your face paper
    • Believe me – I know it seems like a tedious process, but it’s really not that hard and it’s a great fix. OK, now, measure out your drywall joint tape. You will need an over-sized piece, at least an inch past the seam on both ends, for the two vertical seams and the two horizontal seams.
  5. Place your replacement piece into the wall
    • To put your replacement piece into the wall, you will first need to insert your drywall clips. They are simple to insert. Just like a paper clip, they clip onto the drywall that’s there. It’s best to use a clip on all four sides, but for a small hole, you can get by with one on top and bottom.After you clip them into place, insert a screw through the existing drywall into the clip behind. This will secure the clip into place. Make sure your screw is just below flush, because if not, your repaired wall will not be smooth.You are ready to place your replacement piece of drywall into your hole. If it does not fit perfectly, use a razor knife to barely shave the edge until it fits snugly. Then, insert a screw through the replacement piece into the drywall clip. This will hold the repair securely.
  6. Apply the compound to the drywall
    • Apply with the 4-inch drywall knife and use the 6-inch knife to help manage the putty. In other words, the putty can spread and get out of control, and the second larger putty knife can let you scrape the smaller knife off and start again by scraping the putty off the larger knife.First, apply putty to roughly 1/16-inch-thick to cover seams and whole general patched area. Second, apply drywall joint tape horizontally, and using your putty knife, smooth the tape out over the putty in horizontal motions, pulling left from the middle, then right from the middle, etc.Next, put a light coat of compound across the vertical seams, as you want putty under all the paper drywall tape, and apply drywall joint tape to those seams. Using your putty knife, smooth the tape out over the putty in vertical motions, pulling up from the middle, the down from the middle, etc.You’ll want to get as much of the putty out as possible, so gently continue to scrape in every direction until you have approximately 1/8-inch-thick putty. Make it as thin and as smooth as you can. Let it dry for 24 hours.
  7. Apply a second coat. Let it dry for 24 hours.
  8. Repeat Step 7.
  9. Sand with a fine sanding sponge.
  10. Remove debris with damp shop towels.

Video Instructions For Repairing Drywall

Use Plywood Instead of Drywall Clips

Instead of drywall clips, you can cut a piece of plywood to fit through the hole but long enough to screw behind it on top and bottom. Then, the replacement piece of drywall can connect to the plywood instead of the clips.

Tips for Fixing Stripped Screw Holes in Drywall

  • You do not want to use spackle for large holes. Spackle has more air than joint compound, thus it weighs less and dries faster. For a bigger job, you need the sturdier joint compound.
  • Liquid Nails is not for drywall.
  • For textured drywall, you will need to texture the repaired surface, for which they sell spray-on texture.
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