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Is drywall tape required for a patch to a small hole that's fastened only to the surrounding drywall sheet?

Specifics - I have a round hole, about six inches in diameter. I've patched it with a round piece of drywall. Drywall screws hold the patch to a board, and the board to the surrounding drywall.

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A hole that size should be taped to prevent cracking. You don't need to use tape though. Another method uses the patch piece of drywall's paper:

  1. Square the opening to be patched.

  2. Cut a pice of drywall about 4" x 4" larger then the hole.

  3. Score the back side of the patch piece of drywall along lines 1 & 2, about 2" in from the end.

  4. Place the drywall face down on a table, lining up the score line with the edge of the table and snap it along the line.

  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 for score lines 3 & 4.

  6. Peal the outer edges of the drywall off leaving just the front paper so that your pice looks like fig 2.

  7. Place the patch pice over the hole and mud.

enter image description here

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I've always taped repairs in drywall that require patches.

I can't give you a great answer as to why other than I've always been told without taping, eventually the joint compound will crack. I've never personally tested that theory.

This thread might offer insight.

  • Thanks for your answer. I had seen that other thread, but the accepted answer deals with sheets affected independently by shifts in a wood frame. ("...if it moves even somewhat independently of the sheet next to it..."). For this question, the patch is tied directly into the same sheet. If I understand correctly, there shouldn't be any independent movement. – Andy Thomas Jul 19 '15 at 1:17
  • Yeah, I am not sure that thread was the best in the context, but it had a little insight. Like I said, I always tape during patch jobs, but I am not a pro drywall guy so I am not doing patches on a daily basis. I just heard the compound could crack and that it helps make the transitions smoother if feathered correctly. – justinw Jul 19 '15 at 3:53
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From a lot of trial and error adventures I found the following to work. Cut a patching piece of drywall roughly square, somewhat larger than the hole you are trying to repair. Then, holding the patch so it covers the hole, draw a pencil line around the patch then cut along the pencil line to make the hole match the patch.
Take a relatively thin but wide piece of wood that is at least a couple of inches longer than the longest dimension of the hole. Have a drill with a phillips bit in it ready along with four drywall screws. Snake the piece of wood inside the hole and hold it so that it diagonally crosses the hole and put a drywall screw though the wall and into the wood, snugging the wood up against the backside of the wall. Rotate the wood piece so that as much of the wood shows through the hole as possible and use another screw through the wall and into the other end of the wood.
Now the wood will support the patch in the next step. Mark the wall with pencil marks so you know where the wood disappears behind the wall on both ends of the hole. Prestart the two remaining screws into the patch before putting it into the hole and back out the screws so that the points of the screws don't protrude out the back side of the patch. Now, gently fit the patch into the hole and without applying much pressure on the screws, slowly run them into the wood through the patch until the screws are just snug and slightly dimple the surface of the patch. The patch will now not shift, the main reason for cracks in taping. Prefill the crack around the patch with a very thin coat of spackling. Let dry a couple of minutes then repeat, gently pressing the spackling into the crack. Now use either paper tape (if the crack around your patch is like a hairline, or mesh-type tape if the crack is larger then say havel the thickness of a pencil. Multiple very very thin coats which go on a fast, dry quickly and require almost not sanding... this will make the job easy and look nice when you are finished. Good luck.

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Yes, tape. I prefer the sticky fiberglass tape, especially for patches.

First I cut a patch. I create a square one because its easier to tape. After cutting the patch, I lay it across the hole and mark where the drywall needs to be cut. Many times its good to cut a little extra out because the drywall has cracked on the back side. Then cut the old drywall out to match the patch. Before putting the patch in, I put a small board like a piece of paint stirring stick across the back of the hole. Its fastened by two screws one on each side of the hole. I then place the path in the hole and attach it to the board with another screw or two. I predrill the holes in the drywall because the screws might not have enough byte in the small board to sink enough into the drywall so you can mud over them. I then tape it and start putting mud on, a thin coat at a time.

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