Drywall Repair Is a Common Do-It-Yourself Project


Drywall is a great material for home walls and ceilings. It is affordable and easy to hang, drill into, and finish. However, it can crack and be punctured by a variety of objects. Patching drywall is one of the easiest home improvement projects for a do-it-yourselfer. Holes caused by doorknobs, nails, and fists are easily repaired with spackle or joint compound.

Filling the Holes

Drywall Repair Las Vegas is a common do-it-yourself project that can be a challenge for the inexperienced homeowner. But what may seem like a big job to an expert painter isn’t so bad if you take it in small steps and know what to do when things go wrong.

It can be as simple as spackling compound, or more complicated with the help of wood filler. The size of the hole will determine what filler to use, but either way, the process is the same.

The first step is to clean the area of any debris and sand the edges of the hole down, even if it’s only a little bit, so that the filler has something to adhere to. This will also make it easier to smooth out the surface later, preventing the filler from leaving ridges.

For holes that are very large, the best option may be to brace them with a piece of scrap wood that is screwed to the wall across the top and bottom, says Nungesser. This will prevent the wall from collapsing into the hole and save you the expense of bringing in a professional.

On the other hand, small holes can be fixed with a patch kit and some joint compound. These kits are inexpensive, and come with everything you need to do the job, including a patch that has a pre-applied adhesive, a container of ready-mixed joint compound (also called mud), a metal putty knife, and sandpaper.

If you don’t have a drywall patch, you can cut a square of drywall that’s 2 inches larger in width and height than the hole. Lightly sand the drywall to prepare it for the patch, then apply the tape as instructed in the previous step. Then lay a thin bed of joint compound over the tape and press it with the putty knife, sanding as you go to remove ridges and ensure a smooth surface.

If you don’t have any sandpaper handy, you can use your finger to roughen up the edges of the compound and then dab on some extra, if needed. Let it dry and then sand again until it’s smooth and blends well with the surrounding wall, then prime and paint.

Taping the Holes

If the drywall is in good condition and you’re only repairing a small hole, you probably don’t need to buy any fillers or tapes. However, if the wall is more damaged or if you want to do a full drywall repair, you’ll need to use a drywall patch kit. This kit contains a type of mesh, available in various sizes, that you cover with a layer of joint compound. The kit also includes a container of pre-mixed joint compound, known as mud; 6-inch and 12-inch metal putty knives (plastic ones don’t work well); and a roll of drywall paper tape.

Before you begin, check the back of the drywall for electrical cords and plumbing lines. If any of these run through the hole, don’t cut into the drywall until you’ve verified that they aren’t in the way, and that you know how to handle the line if it turns out to be live.

Start by removing any jagged or dangling edges from the edge of the hole with a utility knife. If the area has been covered with wallpaper, remove it along with any loose pieces of drywall. Next, measure the height and width of the hole, and mark a line at least 2 inches above and below the damage. This will help you find the studs, so you can cut straight across without slicing into them.

Then use a drywall saw to cut along the lines you marked. Be sure to stop the saw when you reach the studs on both sides of the damage. If you don’t, you could cut into a water pipe, or some other vital line in your home.

When you’re done, pry the severed corner bead away from the wall with a thin pry bar or a screwdriver. You may need to use a screwdriver with a long blade to prevent tearing the paper on the back of the drywall.

Now it’s time to install the new piece of drywall. If the area is still a little uneven, smooth it with the tape you bought for the repair. After you’ve installed the drywall patch, apply a coat of joint compound over it, using your drywall tape in a crisscross pattern. Let the first coat dry before applying a second and then a third.

Patching the Holes

Drywall repair is often a task that do-it-yourselfers can take on. Most of the damage caused by nail or screw holes, dents and cracks can be fixed with lightweight spackle, wood filler or drywall compound. But it’s important to prepare the area correctly so that your patching is strong and blends seamlessly with the rest of the wall.

Lightly sand the hole and the surrounding area to give the filler or patching substance something to adhere to. Wipe away any dust with a damp cloth before proceeding. For small areas, you can skip the sanding step if you’re using a textured or drywall compound.

Larger holes need a bridging material for strength before you can use a patching material. You can build one from scratch or buy a repair kit designed for this purpose. The one we used (less than $2) from Manco comes with a pair of 8×8-in. fiberglass mesh squares that stick to the drywall. First, hand-sand the area to smooth rough spots and wipe away any sanding dust.

Then, mark a line at least 1 inch above and below the damage with a stud finder. This will let you trace a straight line when cutting to ensure that you’re not drilling into the studs on either side of the hole. Use a drywall saw to cut along your lines, then set the patch and anchor it with drywall screws. Before putting on the screws, apply mesh joint tape to the borders of the patch and seams to strengthen the repair, reduce shifting and help it hide when painted.

If you’re using a textured surface, you may need to sand the patched area lightly to smooth it and allow the top coat of paint to cover it well. For a smooth surface, however, you can apply the patch without sanding.

If you’re not working with a textured surface, you can use a patching product called Erase-A-Hole, available at most home improvement centers. It looks and acts a lot like spackle but is designed specifically for drywall. We’ve successfully used it to fill holes ranging from tiny (about the size left by a finish nail, less than 1/16 inch) all the way up to nail diameter.

Painting the Holes

Most homeowners will need to perform a little drywall repair at some point. Minor blemishes like nail holes and small holes caused by doorknobs are within the reach of many do-it-yourselfers, but anything bigger might require a patch kit and some serious drywall patching. At that point, you might be better off hiring a professional like the team at Major Painting.

Before starting any repair, make sure to thoroughly clean the area where you plan on working with a damp cloth and a mild detergent. This is important, because if the wall isn’t properly cleaned, it may not seal or accept paint.

Once the area is clean, apply the first coat of drywall compound to the patched area. It’s important to apply this first coat evenly, because any bumps or uneven areas of mud will show up when you try to paint over them. Generally, you will need to apply two or more coats of drywall compound, and each one should be allowed to dry completely before the next coat is applied.

Before you apply any further coats of drywall compound, use your putty knife to gently sand the patched area down until it is smooth and blends with the rest of the surface. Once you’re happy with the smoothness, it’s time to paint!

When painting over the patch, you will want to choose a paint color that matches the rest of your walls. You can either use an existing can of paint or take a sample piece of the damaged drywall to a paint supply store to get a color match.

You can also use a spray paint can to easily cover the patch. However, spray paint can be tricky to apply properly, so it’s best to follow the instructions that came with your particular brand.

If you are repairing larger holes, it’s important to take the time to carefully check your wall for electrical cords and plumbing lines before making any cuts into the drywall. You can never be certain that homebuilders or renovators followed all the necessary codes, and these hidden wires could cause an accident in the future.