Sheetrock advice

I have a hole in a wall due to a plumber having to break it down to find the source of a leak. It is 9 1/2 ft wide and about 2 to 2 1/2 ft high. I will buy a 10x4 piece of sheetrock to repair it. My question is, which is better -

  1. expand the hole to 10x4, install the sheetrock, and tape, paint, etc. This is easily done by placing the whole piece of fresh sheetrock in front of the hole (in any case, I will expand the hole to the floor), mark the line above, and cut to fit.
  2. Straighten the top of the hole at 2 1/2 ft or so, cut the large piece of new sheetrock to size, and install.

In either case, I will probably cut some sheetrock on the sides to expose half a stud so I securely attach the new sheetrock on that side.

Here’s a photo of the hole.

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When I hear about a hole in the sheetrock I imagine something less… extensive. :sunglasses:

Can you tell if the original sheets were mounted horizontal or vertical? If horizontal, my concern would be that expanding the hole to 4 feet might bring you close to but not exactly on the existing seam. So I guess I’d be in favor of making a clean horizontal cut of what is still there are at the 2 1/2 ft or so you mentioned. And of course pull the baseboard first.

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Once he (the plumber) started ripping up the wall, I told him “it’s just sheetrock” so he could go wherever he needed to go to determine where the leak came from.

You can see an older repair that I made a while back when one of the kids smashed something through the wall by accident. I can reach up and feel the two furring strips I used to mount the new [small] piece of sheetrock to cover that [small] hole.

Good point! I don’t know how they were originally mounted. I tried feeling behind the sheets for gaps, but couldn’t find any. Maybe they are all mid-stud? Isn’t that usually expected? Don’t they usually (in 1979-80) mount sheetrock vertically for walls? I have no idea. I can’t quite reach my arm high enough to 4 ft from floor to feel for a gap in the beck of the sheetrock! And who knows, maybe they started from ceiling down with sheets of drywall because the baseboard hides cutting imperfections at the bottom, while only tape and md hides them up on top.

Yeah, the baseboard is coming out first. I have to replace all the flooring as well since the leak damaged it. So all baseboard is coming out anyway.

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I think you need to do some more demo before you worry about sheet rock. It appears to me there is a piece of baseboard trim at the bottom of the hole. You need to remove that trim and the sheet rock behind it. Then you can set the edge of the sheet rock on the concrete if it is a concrete floor. I would not want the sheet rock to be resting on the diagonal flooring. If flooring goes under the current sheet rock behind the baseboard one way to end up with space between the flooring the bottom of the sheet rock is put so cardboard or thin wood on top of the flooring and set the sheet rock on the cardboard. (If there is not concrete, they there will be some subflooring where I said concrete above.)

To address your specific question – it is always easier to match a hole to the patch. So you get a patch with straight edges and lean it up against the wall. Mark/trace the side of the patch against the remaining wallboard. Cut the hole so it matches the patch. Then you can attach the wallboard with screws. It will be a lot more solid if you have the joints between patch and existing wallboard on a 2 by within the wall.


Your really do not want sheet rock sitting on cement. It will suck any moisture out and also if any water gets spilled it will suck it up. Best to have it at least a 1/2 inch of the concrete. I would get a studfinder and find the closest studs from the end of the hole, vertically and horizontally. Cut to that and make your new piece the same size. Really doesn’t matter now the size of the whole but you want a solid foundation for the drywall. Screw it in, tape and mud.



Definitely not!!! I remember a few years ago (2002) suggesting to a contractor doing renovations here to replace the lower foot of sheetrock everywhere with durock instead … he said they never do that, instead they just leave a gap between the floor and the sheetrock that is hidden by the molding anyway. In bathrooms, we of course do the whole wall in durock.

I can feel/see the studs on the left and the right. There are no horizontal studs here. I may add some furring strips between the studs for extra stability, but it’s not really necessary and it’s a lot of extra work.

I just remeasured and the width is a little less than 10 ft, I measure about 9 ft 5 in from center left stud to center right stud. So either way I have to cut the sheetrock on at least one side. I really wish I could have gotten away with 8 ft sheetrock … fits better in my minivan!


I would: buy a 4x8 Sheetrock and a repair piece of 4x4 (HD has them).

I’d snap a line at the highest point of the repair, then trim it straight. I’d probably use a mini-circular saw to score the line almost down to the studs, and break off the unwanted stuff. That way I’d get a nice straight line to meet with the patch piece.

Remove the floor molding, get rid of any sheet rock & nails behind that. Set a couple scrap pieces of wood on the floor about 1/4” to 1/2” in height. Measure to the cut, take the measurement to the repair pieces, then cut & snap the replacement sheet rock to size. Place on the scrap wood and put in place.

If you want to “close the gap” use a pry bar or similar at the bottom to lift the repair piece. Screw in place. Repeat with the smaller piece, now tape & mud as usual.

I can’t haul anything longer than 8’ in my van, so I’d just use two pieces. If they don’t end “over a stud”, then take a piece of scrap 2x4 and “sister” it to the existing stud to give yourself a bigger target to hit. You can even do it more than once if you have to. You don’t need structure here, you’re not trying to do anything but give the wallboard, which already has lateral strength, something to glom on to.

A “trim puller” is a great tool, costs less than $20, and will pull your trim off in one piece.

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I really may use 8 ft sheetrock, but I was considering 10 ft because there’s a Home Depot and a Lowes within 5 miles, so I could drive home with the back of the minivan open if necessary.

I don’t have a mini circular saw! Maybe this is an excuse to buy one? :grin: Considering that I’ll have to tape and mud anyway, I’m not sure how straight the cut needs to be. Any gaps will be filled with mud anyway.

I’ve had this in my Amazon cart (“saved for later”) for years, maybe time to pull the trigger?

Though since I have to replace the floor, all ~1500 sq ft of it, I may replace all the baseboard at the same time anyway. And all the walls need smoothing and repainting. All the projects have been delayed because:

  1. We have a set of renovations/repairs that need to be done, and as usual, project A depends on project B which depends on project C, etc, so may as well wait until we can decide on all of them at once. Or maybe not.
  2. Hard to find decent contractors now. I can’t do all the work myself.
  3. Bids are ridiculously expensive. Really ridiculous! Waiting for a slowdown so prices come down a bit.

Your right Mark, looking at your picture you have enough studs to give great support to the drywall. I don’t think you would need to add support 2x4’s as long as you have the ends of the drywall ,running vertically up the wall, hit on a stud.


I’ve done this type of repair in Houston after a flooding event helping people who got two or three feet of water in their homes. Also, I hung sheetrock in college. The easiest thing to do is to do a little more demo and get the opening as you suggested to be the same as the size of the sheetrock. That’s because there are boards (should be 4 feet from the floor running horizontally between those 2x4 studs vertical) just above that opening that you can’t see where you will have something to nail along for the edge of the new sheetrock. Be sure to mark on the new piece of sheetrock where the studs are so you can hit those with nails too. It is easy to do your self especially if you can float and tape once you get the sheetrock up. Because it’s the bottom row, you could do it yourself if you are strong enough to handle the weight of the sheetrock and let it rest on the floor. You are going to have to pull that trim off at the bottom carefully and then tack it back on over the sheetrock and caulk it. It’s not a hard project and there should be some youtube videos on doing a repair with sheetrock…doc


There are indeed boards! I couldn’t reach them with my hands, but I just put my tape measure up there and sure enough they are about 4ft from the floor!!!


Maybe, maybe not. It would be unusual to be putting support beams between the studs to hold Sheetrock. It has enough lateral strength to fly across a stud cavity without support. I suspect you might be finding a fire-stop, which could be at the same level but which is not necessarily at 4’, and between studs not even necessarily at the same height.

They’re required by code in some walls (but not others) to stop a fire from going “up the chimney” between studs to a higher floor. But as you can see from the picture, they’re not even, so check.

I’ve done a lot of Sheetrock, I rarely have to put bracing behind unless it’s a small hole or a piece is “flying” off the end of a stud.


Thats a great picture of the boards that you would nail along the top of the sheetrock. Thats not any kind of fire stop. Thats conventional residential framing…doc

Is that true?

This page shows a very similar picture and calls them firestops.


I’m thinking that maybe they served a dual purpose because I see those boards being called a fire stop in your post, but we ran horizontal 2x4’s between the studs at 4 ft to have something for the sheetrock to hang onto besides the vertical studs…doc

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Fireblocking isn’t meant as nailing blocks for drywall, many times they are offset to allow nailing through the studs, although today, air nailers are pretty common, they also serve to lock the studs from twisting as they dry as many times the studs are still wet, haven’t completely dried, stabilized yet…

Largely a waste of wood, you wouldn’t spend the money to put more wood than you need to behind wallboard unless code dictated it. Sometimes they put the fire block at the top of the stud cavity, but every one I’ve seen *(including the renovation we put on this house a few years ago) puts an uneven line of blocks about midway up the studs, staggered for no particular reason except nailing them in is easier because you can face nail them instead of toenail them.

Here we excavated out a crawl space to be a garage and workshop; the garage is under a bedroom and required fire blocks (and extra fireproofing in the manner of fire caulk around hvac ductwork) and they were about 4 ft off the floor, staggered as in the picture(s) already in this thread. The whole thing had to be inspected by the local inspector before any Sheetrock went up.

I’ve hung dozens and dozens of pieces of sheet rock over the years; I’ve never had the need to have anything but the stud wall to screw into, whether hanging horizontally or vertically unless a fire block was required.

[Side note: Remember the Issac Hayes song from the movie of the same name. Yeah, that **** is a bad mother…. Seems as though the nanny filter doesn’t allow that word. The title of the song/movie. Weird.]

I drywalled our entire second home (3 floors) and I’ve done here-n-there work on drywall most of my adult life (my dad was a home builder).

As mentioned previously, I’d pull off the baseboard and the drywall behind it.
Pull a tape on the stud spacing, as they don’t look like they’re on 16" centers. Write down the distance to stud centers from one wall.
Use a hand mirror and flash light to see up behind the existing drywall. If there is fire blocking, measure up behind the drywall and then mark the height on the front, in each stud bay. If they line up (and they’re not required to) and they are 4’ up, then measure up 3/4" above your marks and snap a horizontal chalk line, Cut across at the line with a drywall knife or drywall cutout tool if you have one. Put up your 10’ drywall sheet into the opening, using cardboard to space up the bottom from the floor. At the but (they won’t let me spell it with two T’s) joint, the new edge will be tapered while the existing edge will not. I like to bevel the squared end with my drywall knife rather than taping over it. Yes, it takes longer, but the but joint is strong and so will avoid cracks if the wall is bumped in the future.

If the fire-blocking is random, I’d measure up over on the right where the cut out is the highest and see if its under 2’8". If so, snap a straight horizontal line just above the highest cutout point and cut out the drywall, Then with one 4X8 sheet, cut to fit the opening X3 pieces. I’d then use screw blocking under the but joints, using a soft wood. This provides rigid joints that you don’t have to worry will crack if the wall is bumped, and do the but joint bevel before mudding the joints.

There are many ways to approach this patch…this is how I’ve done it, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t other good methods.