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I have a light switch where the plaster board around the edges of the face plate have broken away.

Holey light switch batman

I was thinking of using some kind of filler like Polycell to fill the holes but I'm not really sure how I would go about it. Is it simply a case of mixing the filler quite thick and applying to the holes?

I don't know if this is relevant but the back plate behind the light switch isn't attached to the wall in anyway. The back plate seems to be stay in place by screwing in the light switch.

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What is behind the face plate? In the US there would be a junction box (similar to this). –  Tester101 Nov 17 '11 at 18:10
    
@Tester101: The box behind the face plate looks similar to this one –  Barry Nov 17 '11 at 18:40
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Is the box properly secured? –  Hemm Nov 17 '11 at 19:43
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2 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted
  • Pick up a small bucket of an all purpose patch likeDap Flexall All Purpose Filler. The all purpose stuff is a little thicker than typical joint compound, so it makes filling a bit easier.enter image description here

  • Remove the switch cover.

  • Using a taping knife, fill in the holes by pushing the compound into the hole and drawing the knife away from the hole.

enter image description here

Like so...

enter image description here

  • Repeat for each hole.

  • Wait for patch to dry.

  • Sand, Prime, Paint, Reattach the face plate.


If you find the holes are too big, and the compound is just falling through the hole. You'll have to get a wall repair patch kit, to fill the holes before covering them with compound/plaster. Follow the directions on the patch kit.

enter image description here

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This looks to be what I need to do. My only concern is the electrical box. As mentioned above, it isn't attached to the plaster board at all. It only stays in place once the light switch has been screwed in. –  Barry Nov 17 '11 at 19:52
    
@Barry Hmmm. That seems odd. You might need a new box. In the US they make what's call an "old work" box, they have little tabs that allow it to pinch the wall to hold it in place. I would check the local hardware store for something similar, and replace the box before patching the holes. –  Tester101 Nov 17 '11 at 19:54
    
Awesome, thank you. I think I will purchase one of these before I sort out the plaster. –  Barry Nov 17 '11 at 20:03
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If you can place some tape on the backside of the holes to span the width, it would make filling the holes easier on you. –  Evil Elf Nov 21 '11 at 14:25
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You can use something like this Wall Repair Patch to give some support to the new plaster. Cut out a square in the patch to match the size of the junction box and then put the patch in place (with the face plate off). Then apply joint compound to those gaps; the patch will give the joint compound some support. Finally when everything is dry then put the face plate back on.

enter image description here

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Sorry, I am a complete novice at DIY. Won't this fill the hole completely? I just need to repair the holes around the light switch. –  Barry Nov 17 '11 at 19:47
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You would cut out a square in the center the size of the junction box. –  Jeff Widmer Nov 17 '11 at 19:58
    
Oh yes, of course. doh! –  Barry Nov 17 '11 at 20:01
    
overkill for the application –  jberger Nov 19 '11 at 20:37
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