How to repair holes in plasterboard

Plasterboard is a popular building material, comprising panels of plaster pressed between sheets of paper, used to construct walls and ceilings in most modern buildings. Although highly versatile, plasterboard is quite fragile and a hard impact from a sharp object will often result in a hole. Such a hole can easily be repaired but requires the use of a backing board to prevent the filler from falling through the hole into the space behind.

Cut away loose pieces of plasterboard around the hole with a sharp craft knife in order to remove any jagged edges and create a neat, rectangular shape. Take a scrap piece of plasterboard or hardwood and cut it so that is is slightly larger than the hole you wish to patch. This will be used as a backing board to hold the filler in place.

Pierce a small hole in the centre of the backing board and thread a piece of string through it. Tie a nail on one side to prevent the string from coming back out.

Apply adhesive to the edge of the board on the opposite side to the nail. While firmly holding the piece of string, insert the backing board into the hole so that the adhesive is facing the inner surface of the plasterboard.

Pull the string towards you to bring the board into position. Use firm pressure to ensure the adhesive makes contact all the way round the edge of the hole. Hold the board in place for a few seconds and then leave it to set. Check the instructions supplied with the adhesive to see how long this will take.

Cut off the string, allowing the nail to fall down behind the plasterboard. Begin to fill in the recess by building up layers of filler until the area is just slightly proud of the surrounding plasterboard. Sand away the excess until the repaired area is flush with its surroundings. You can then redecorate as necessary.


Small holes in plasterboard can be fixed using regular filler, building up layers from the edges towards the centre.

Make sure your backing board fits inside the whole before applying adhesive. It may be easier to insert it diagonally.


Check inside the hole before enlarging it to make sure you do not cut into any cables or pipes.

Things You'll Need

  • Craft knife
  • Off-cut of wood or plasterboard
  • String
  • Nail
  • Adhesive
  • Filler
  • Filler knife
  • Sandpaper
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About the Author

Based in London, Anthony Thompson originally worked in the financial sector but has been writing professionally since 1992. The former editor of a monthly computing and technology magazine, his work has appeared in The Guardian, GQ and Time Out.