How much does it cost to fix a doorknob-sized hole in drywall?
June 24, 2009 8:30 PM   Subscribe

Doorknob went through the drywall. How much should this cost to repair?

We live in an apartment in the suburbs of Chicago. There was no doorstop to keep the doorknob from going through the wall, so now there is a doorknob-sized hole in the drywall. We are moving out at the end of the month. How much should it cost to repair? Should we let the landlord fix it with the money from the deposit, should we hire someone to fix it, or should we try to do it ourselves?
posted by buriednexttoyou to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: That is a very easy job if you know how to do it. It's about 20 minutes worth of work, but it takes 2 days to do because you have to let everything dry. If your landlord has people that do repairs for him, they will be able to take care of this, no sweat. I'd expect if they are painting your place anyway when you move, this shouldn't cost you more than $50.
posted by bensherman at 8:33 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

You can do it yourself with a scrap of drywall, a spatula and about $7 worth of drywall patch and sandpaper. Try it. Worst case, it ends up costing you $7 more than having the landlord do it.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:41 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The very basics:

Cut a small piece of drywall roughly square, big enough to cover all the damage.

Trace that onto the wall.

Cut out the trace with a drywall knife (coarse hand saw).

Get two pieces of thin wood, a little longer than the hole is wide.

Stick them inside and across the opening, and screw them in at the ends to make a backing brace for your new square.

Put the square in place, screw it to the backing boards.

Use sticky drywall mesh or tape around the edges.

Apply joint compound. Let dry. Sand. Repeat a few times. Paint.

Bob's yer uncle.
posted by Aquaman at 8:46 PM on June 24, 2009 [5 favorites]

Alternately, buy an adhesive-backed white wall shield larger than the hole, and an adhesive-backed doorknob bumper, and just cover the damned hole -- then stick on the bumper. Takes FAR less time than drywalling, and no one's the wiser.

(Did this in my own house on a complex-painted wall -- worked great.)
posted by liquado at 9:10 PM on June 24, 2009 [6 favorites]

Your local Ace or Home Depot should carry a drywall patch kit for $10-$20. Some are made specifically for doorknob-shaped holes, as what happened to you happens to a lot of people. It's an easy job to do with very little in the way of labor if you are a DIY type, but Bencherman is right in that total job time is lengthy because you do a few minutes worth of labor and have to wait until the next day to come back to it.

Zenmaster also has a good point. You can go the really cheap route and use whatever happens to work. I recall patching a wall by gluing cardboard in back, filling the hole with toothpaste, waiting for it to dry, "sanding" with a damp washcloth, and adding a little paint. (This was in college. We didn't want to get charged for repairs and were too lazy to do it properly.)
posted by Avelwood at 9:22 PM on June 24, 2009

Bob's yer uncle.

Also, make Bob do a bit of the sanding and pick up a can of the texture from the store on his way over.

Make sure Bob practices with the texture to make sure he gets a good pattern and density that matches the surrounding wall, because if Bob puts on too much Bob will have to sand it down again and start over.

It should cost you and Bob about 15-20 bucks maximum and about 4 hours total to patch to perfection.
posted by iamabot at 10:11 PM on June 24, 2009

You already know someone who will look at this, say "pfft, I can fix that" and then will volunteer to fix it. Just tell your story to every guy you know until one does exactly this. Hell, if I lived by you, I'd come by and do it.
posted by davejay at 10:21 PM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

Definitely worth attempting as a do-it-yerself project, but don't expect perfect results immediately. Drywall and joint compound (mud) are exceedingly simple to work with if you're a veteran, but exceedingly difficult to manage if you've never held a trowel or applied mud to a wall. Go slow! Expect to make mistakes. Experiment with applying mud to a blank portion of drywall first. Go easy with the sanding, and anticipate a substantial amount of dust. Lay dropcloth in the vicinity to catch the dust and protect the floor or carpet.

Of course, these remarks only apply if you're planning a professional-quality repair that will be invisible to the eye. This will be preferred by your landlord, needless to say.
posted by Gordion Knott at 2:56 AM on June 25, 2009

You should try to do it yourself first. It is easy. The are tons of resources on-line to give you some guidance (like this), and find a helpful sales person at home depot.

You don't need a man to do this - trust me, you can do it. Then you can show off to the men.

If you do it wrong, then ask for help - trying and having it come out poorly will only add 2 minutes of work for someone who knows how to do it.

you can do it.
posted by Flood at 5:18 AM on June 25, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you for your answers, everyone. My girlfriend had been searching around online for answers and came up with some ludicrous website that said it would cost over $400. Of course she believed the website over me... so thanks for backing me up and allowing her to get some sleep.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 5:41 AM on June 25, 2009

Best answer: Just as Aquaman describes but for the wood, use a couple of thin pieces of plywood if you can find it, so they don't split when you're putting the screws in. Somebody else's property is the perfect place to start practicing drywall repair.

Also type "drywall repair" into Youtube.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:10 AM on June 25, 2009

Well, my vote for best answer is liquado's. Elegant and leaves the wall as improved rather than just repaired. Of course, this is only if the hole is relatively small, confined to the shape of the doorknob, rather than a big crumbled area.
posted by bz at 8:59 AM on June 25, 2009

Go to craft store. Buy a round piece of wood with a finished edge (commonly used for woodcrafts or woodburning projects.) Paint or stain in to match. Glue over hole. If landlord asks, state you added a doorstop to prevent damage to wall. This is a very quick and smart looking repair that I have used in similar circumstances.

If you decide to do a traditional drywall repair (not as easy as it appears without some practice), use a damp sponge to even the edges of the repairs before it dries to minimize any need to sand before applying the paint to the repair.
posted by Muirwylde at 10:49 AM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

My girlfriend had been searching around online for answers and came up with some ludicrous website that said it would cost over $400.

I dry-walled, trimmed, and painted my whole kitchen for half that. Good advice above.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:50 AM on June 25, 2009

Oh, one more thing: after you've finished fixing the wall, get a rubber doorknob doorstop. First, it will keep it from happening again, and second, because it's mounted over the repair it will make the repair itself less obvious.
posted by davejay at 3:45 PM on June 25, 2009

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