Patching drywall from electrical work

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I recently had an electrician come in to run power to a staircase that was dark. In order to extend the power, he had to cut several circular holes in the drywall or the ceiling to reach the existing power. He left behind the holes he cut, so in theory it should be easy to replace the hole, but I'm struggling with how to patch the holes in the ceiling.
I tried just using spackle/paste around the edges, but the problem I ran into was that it was difficult to keep the hole piece flat and flush with the existing ceiling. How can I patch this effectively?
Many thanks in advance....
--charlie
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If I understand correctly... Slide a board (1 x 2 or 1 x 3) into the hole. Cut a piece of dryeway close to the diameter of the hole. Screw the patch piece to the backing board. Use some monofilament or strong thread to pull the board tight so you can drive the screw. You can also drive screws through the intact ceiling to anchor the board and then patch over the screws.
Now, finish to match the ceiling.
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Typing in a hurry while listening to someone talk to me... I meant drywall, of course.
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On Mon, 19 Dec 2005 19:35:05 -0600, Dave Balderstone

I thought it was "drywall", but I still wondered if you had something else, that I hadn't heard of.
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Hi,
You can get some nylon mesh (tape or square patch, depending upon how large the holes are) at your local hardware store. Put that on much like you would do a corner with a very thin layer of spakling (fill the mesh holes and enough to tape it to the sides) and let it dry. When it dires, then put a second spacking layer on a little heavier and then sand it smooth. That works like a charm.
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Tumbleweed36
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Send this link to your electrician so he knows how to make it easy for the next time: http://www.wd40jobsite.com/secret_detail.cfm?idt8&c=1&q=&s=1
Like Dave suggested you can probably slide a 1" x 3" or wider piece of wood up there and anchor it with some drywall screws. Butter the back of the drywall pieces with a thin layer of joint compound where they will contact the wood. Joint compound has some good adhesive qualities. Push the pieces into the opening and gently secure with drywall screws. Let this dry a day and then go back and tape over the seams and apply one coat of joint compound. Let it dry another day and add another layer of joint compound using a bigger knife to finish. You will need to feather it out over a wide span so that it doesn't look like a lump. Use a damp sponge to smooth it out when it is dry. You may need 3 or more coats of joint compound to get it looking good. Let it dry in between coats. I like to sponge in between coats just to keep it smooth.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv
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Thanks so much for the suggestions so far. To be clear, the holes are only about 3-4" in diameter, but let me recap to make sure I understand the suggestions.
Take a narrow, wide piece of wood and position over the hole(s). Secure in place (through the ceiling?) with drywall screws. Adhere the filler pieces to the wood with joint compound. (Is securing the piece with drywall screws necessary for such a small piece?)
Let dry. Tape over seams and apply joint compound. Let dry. Apply another layer of joint compound. Let dry. Sand, sponge, smooth to get a blended effect. Repeat as necessary.
To address Joey's suggestion re: clips - it sounds like an interesting idea, although I'm worried about the clip splitting the drywall around the edges of the hole. I'll stop by Home Depot and ask them about it, though, as I'll need to get some tape and adhesive.
Thanks again to everyone's help - I'm breaking new ground here patching my ceiling. :-)
--charlie
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For such small holes you can use wood lath pieces approximately 7" - 8" long. You can put a temporary drywall screw in the middle to position the wood and hold it in place while you secure it using drywall screws through the drywall.

I suggest at least one drywall screw to hold the piece in place.

Take your time. Don't try to accomplish too much at once. Use thin coats of joint compound.

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Thanks John, that 45* trick is great. Can't imagine how I haven't thought of that before, or ever seen it before. I have developped lots of tricks, but not that one. I'm about 3/4 of the way through rewiring an entire (small) house, and I really wish I'd seen that tip four years ago, but at least I will use that on the last bedroom, the dining room, and the remaining closet.
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I came up with that tip about 18 years ago working on a shopping center. We had to make several access holes and the drywall guys were quite annoyed about it. When they saw how easy it was for them to fix the holes they actually thanked me. It was great that WD-40 made a video to demonstrate it after I suggested the idea to their forum. They gave me a WD-40 tool belt for that suggestion.

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John Grabowski wrote:

i am lost
I can't picture your technic how will this fix the drywall
a 7-8" lath piece makes me think it's round
you mean like a paint stirrer to put inside the hole?
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Go to the big box and get the 'drywall patching DIY' pamphlet, or spend 15 bucks for the DIY drywall book. In this case, pictures are worth 1000 words, and it will quickly become clear. Basically, the lathe or board inside the wall acts like a splint, and holds the plug in place till the joint compound sets. Fastening it TO the drywall is the hard part. If you don't mind doing the patching in several sessions, you can even put the stick on the outside, held in place with screws. Patch the cracks that are exposed, and leave it to dry several days. Then ever so gently, remove the screws, and patch the rest. That makes for a weak patch, though, since only the mud'n'tape is holding it in place. Alternative is to make hole bigger, stud to stud (or joist to joist), and nail the patch in place. You can usually buy a broken sheet of drywall for a couple bucks, enough for several patches. (or just pull it out of the trash dumpster at a nearby jobsite, if one is handy.)
aem sends...

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ameijers wrote:

thank you for that lecture
thats the kind of eager beaver I like to see
I don't need no more education is why i am so obtuse today
I have done same...for a ceiling, I make a toothpick sandwhich with two circles.. the toothpics hang out enough to hold filler circle still
for walls, you could just butter the edges and put it in with a screw once it's lined up, just let it hang there, you know don't booger it up
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On Mon, 19 Dec 2005 20:46:18 -0500, "John Grabowski"

Hey thanks. Just in time for me, I have to patch a leak caused hole in my ceiling.
It's sort of obvious aftter you read it, but most stuff is obvious AFTER someone tells you how.

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I was watching Ask This Old House show and they told of a new product where you put these clips with drywall screws on the side of the hole. You then fasten the cut out piece into this clip which eliminates the need for a back board. I saw this same kit in Home Depot in the drywall section.
Joey
Charlie wrote:

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Joey those clips sound nice and John I like the 45 tip too. I've always done this with the front and back thin stick method or sometimes if the hole is small I twist drywall screws in the cut to jam the piece in. I find that the trick is to bevel the edges of the cut to get rid of the furry cut edges of drywall paper. Then the compound can be smoothed easier and the job's often done in 2 or 3 passes. It's always a good idea to save those pieces. Making up new ones of the right thickness and shape can be a pain. Richar
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wrote:

That's good. Some people take the holes with them.

Home depot sells for not much money, a dollar or two for 2 or 3 or so for 4, a set of metal clips for this very purpose. After the joint ismostly patched, the metal part at the front bends back and forth and breaks off. Well you have to bend it. It doesn't just bend by itself.
I haven't used them yet, but they look good.
I bought a card's worth in Dallas and saw them in Baltimore also.

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*You* don't. It's the electrician's responsibility.
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Charlie wrote:

everyone is assuming you know what they mean about putting a backing up there
poke a backing through the hole, and when you let go it is covering the hole... (its just floating over the hole as you look up) it doesnt fall because it is past the ceiling but larger than the hole...
put a screw on each side. screws go through the ceiling, and of course into the backing this will suck the backing towards you.
if you can't get screw started into backing...put a temporary screw in the center of the backing...(looks like a backing pop)...this might give you enough counter pressure to start the other two screws. If that is not enough (pending on the backing you might use) then put a toggle bolt through the center of the backing...this will give you plenty of counter pressure...then unscrew the toggle bolt (of course you will never see the nut again) EVER!...
you can also put money in the walls like this...
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See http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infdrywall/infsmallpatch.shtm

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