Its always nice when you can fix something with things you have on hand. Recently I had my vents cleaned and the technician who did it left one of the vent screw holes completely stripped. Not his fault, it was nearly there already. So this weekend I did some research (I watched You Tube videos) on repairing stripped screw holes in drywall. There are several ways, depending on the intended result. Do you simply want to patch it or will you need to be able to secure a screw in again? If securing again how strong does it need to be? My best options were to use either a wood filler or wood glue with toothpicks. I didn’t have wood filler which is more pasty than wood putty. So I opted for the toothpicks and wood glue. I wasn’t sure it would work, though, since my hole was bigger than the one in the video and it was in drywall rather than wood but I decided to give it a shot. Since my hole would be hidden by the cold air return vent I wasn’t that worried if it didn’t work and I had to start over.
The first thing I noticed when I started putting in toothpicks was that unlike in the video, the drywall did not have anything behind it since it was between studs, so as I shoved in more toothpicks the they kept falling out behind the wall. My solution was to cover several toothpicks with the wood glue, place them in the hole and wait for them to set up before adding more. Eventually I was able to fill the hole.
The second thing I determined different is that I wasn’t able to break the toothpicks off with the hammer as I went since to accomplish this you have to have them wedged in there tight. And by the time mine were wedged in tight there were too many. To attempt to break them off with a hammer would have meant possibly damaging the wall even more. Instead I waited for the glue to completely dry then took some wire cutters and snipped the toothpicks off one at a time as close to the wall as I could. This actually worked pretty well for my own purposes since the vent had a small lip I didn’t need it completely flush. But had I needed it flush I could have sanded it down . It worked like a charm. The repair was, in my opinion, stronger than the drywall itself. The screw when right in, nice and snug.