I made a mistake with drilling a hole in the drywall. It's off by about 1/4-1/2 inch. The new hole will be really close to the old hole, or knowing my poor drilling skills, it will overlap the old hole.

Someone told me I can use joint compound or something to fill the hole and reuse the hole. However, when I went to OSH, the worker said structurally, we can't refill a hole and reuse it and that the screw/anchor will eventually get loose and fall out.

Is my friend correct that I can reuse the hole or is the worker correct that structurally we can't reuse the hole?

EDIT: I'm trying to drill holes for screw to hold a curtain rod and use anchors in the drywall. The anchors are the plastic anchors that came with the curtain rod set. I don't think the rod and curtains weigh that much but the store worker said the filled in drywall won't be as strong as untouched drywall.

I didn't measure the line or drill the hole correctly b/c one of the end brackets holding the rod is like 1/4-1/2 inches too low (stupid me). I COULD move it out (or in) 1-2 inches to the left or right but then it doesn't look symmetrical, which is why I want to just fill the holes and re-drill a hole 1/2 inch up to line everything up but if the filled in hole won't hold the anchor, then that won't do.

  • 1
    What type of anchors and screws/bolts are you using? What is behind the drywall in the vicinity of the hole?
    – bib
    May 8, 2017 at 12:00
  • 1
    Also, what are you hanging from said hole?
    – Chris M.
    May 8, 2017 at 12:55
  • How large is the hole? is the hole to the side? if it is a small hole to the side you may be fine with a molly bolt that expands on the back side.
    – Ed Beal
    May 8, 2017 at 13:47

4 Answers 4


Joint compound usually bonds fairly well to the gypsum inside drywall panels. However, you must get it thoroughly filled to make good contact. Also, standard joint compound shrinks substantially, so you'd be better off with a setting-type product (Easy Sand 45, for example).

If you press the compound in adequately and let it dry or cure fully, you'll be able to drill a new hole at the correct location. You'll want to start with a small, sharp bit to be sure that it doesn't "walk", or shift position. Anchor your drill well to help with this.

Then, the paper surface of the drywall panels provides much of the strength of most anchors. I'd use an anchor that spreads the load behind the panel, such as a toggler. This won't rely so much on your hole plug then.


You haven't said how big the hole is or what it's for, but I think I understand your question, how a little filler might not be as strong as untouched drywall. It depends on what it's filled with, but regular drywall filler probably won't be as strong. If you're just hanging a small picture I'm sure filler would be perfect.

If you're hanging something very heavy and you want to make sure it's a strong patch, and if you don't mind a hole at least an inch or two and a little patching & filler & paint you could put a piece of wood behind it and screw it into the "good" drywall on either side:

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Then patch it with the larger drywall piece you cut out (if you cut it out carefully).

Now your "new" drilled hole will be just as strong as the wood behind it is held, probably 4x a single screw in drywall.


I had a similar problem when I was mounting shelves and the dry wall hole was a little too loose. This YouTube video shows how to use wood filler, which makes the hole very strong (just make sure you push wood filler into the hole and don't just put some on top of the hole like spackle): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlUlJwoaS7A

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    Could you summarize the video, in case the link breaks? Sep 1, 2018 at 3:37

You can fill a hole, and then re-drill it for an anchor.If you use a standard weight setting compound, and not all-purpose pre-mixed or lightweight compound, you should get something close enough to the strength of the original drywall. It would actually be stronger, if you didn't use a sandable compound, but a sandable setting compound would get it close to the original.

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