How to Repair Drywall?

“Renters (and homeowners, for that matter) need to know how to repair drywall. No matter how hard you try to keep the walls clean, furniture will ding and dent them, and holes will remain when you rearrange your salon-style art display. Fixing drywall damage independently is usually possible without calling a contractor or handyman.”


How to Repair Drywall?


How to repair drywall? All you need are the right tools and a proper approach to the damage you’re dealing with. Your walls may have small nail holes or significant damage. These tips will make your walls look like they did when you first moved in, and you’ll get a refund on your security deposit.


Getting Started

It is common for interior walls to consist of drywall, also known as gypsum board. While drywall is a strong material, it is not indestructible, so holes and cracks are inevitable. Patching drywall is an easy DIY home improvement project.

If you are dealing with a small hole, the repair should take a few hours. However, it depends on the size and extent of the damage. If it is your first time doing the repairs alone, set aside an hour or two for the job. Once you get the hang of it, you can fix damaged drywall quickly.


The Tools

How do you repair drywall? It’s essential to assess your damage before you begin. If nails cause a hole or dent, you usually only need to use joint compound or spackle, sandpaper, and a putty knife.

When there are large holes around the house, it is usually necessary to purchase more supplies. If your project is over four or five inches wide, you will need at least one new piece of drywall, drywall saw, a utility knife, furring strips, an electric drill, drywall screws, and joint compound.

To learn how to patch a hole in drywall, follow the steps below. There are a few things you are going to need:


Holes of Small Size

  1. Joint compound or spackling compound
  2. The putty knife
  3. Use sandpaper or a sponge for sanding.


Holes of Medium Size

  1. Spackle
  2. Putty Knife
  3. Fine-grit sandpaper or sanding sponge
  4. Mesh patch with self-adhesion

You can usually find all these supplies in drywall patch kits to save time.


Holes of Large Sizes

  1. Tape measure
  2. The stud finder
  3. The pencil
  4. Saw for drywall
  5. The utility knife
  6. Scrap drywall
  7. Screws for drywall
  8. The drill
  9. Strips of furring (0.75″ x 2″ to 1″ x 4″)
  10. Tape for Joints
  11. Compounds for Joints
  12. Sponge for sanding


Always Put Safety First.

Before beginning repairs, find out where the wiring and plumbing lie. You should use a flashlight to peek into any larger holes than small nail holes if you are patching anything larger than a small nail hole.

If you need to enlarge the hole, use a drywall knife horizontally – keep it no more than an inch if you need to see wires or pipes before you begin. Additionally, wear goggles, gloves, and a dust mask to protect yourself.


Repairing Minor Dents and Holes in Drywall

Follow these steps to fix any small holes or dents in your wall quickly. Minor dents and holes require the least time, effort, and materials.

  1. Remove any loose residue, such as chipped paint, by scraping it off.
  2. Ensure the spackling is level with the wall before smoothing it with a putty knife.
  3. The spackle usually takes 1-2 hours to completely dry, then sand and paint.

While spackle usually works to repair small holes, you may use joint compound instead. Despite this, getting a smooth finish with this option is usually more challenging because it takes longer to dry.


Medium Hole Repair: How to Do It

How to repair drywall? In case your hole is medium in size, such as that caused by a door knob or large nail, a drywall patch kit may be your best friend. Spackle, a putty knife, and sandpaper are all included in these handy sets, along with a self-adhesive mesh patch that sticks to smaller holes.


Medium Hole Repair: How to Do It


Using mesh patches reinforces the wall and simplifies the spackling process for medium-size holes.

If you already have them around the house, skip the official kit and start with these four things.

  1. Remove any dust from the wall around the hole by sanding it.
  2. Put the self-adhesive mesh patch on the damaged area.
  3. Use the putty knife to spread the joint compound on the existing drywall, feathering its edges as you spread it.
  4. You may need to apply a second coat of joint compound, sand until smooth, and paint the surface.


Repairing Large Holes in Drywall

Whenever there are large holes, patch them with fresh drywall backed by wood. Replace the existing drywall with drywall of the same thickness.


How to repair drywall?

You’ll need a drywall saw to cut the damaged wall for this repair.

  1. Use a stud finder to find the studs near the hole on both sides and mark them. Then, mark another 3/4 inch farther into the stud. This will mark the halfway point.
  2. If the coast is clear of electrical wires or plumbing, use a drywall saw to cut along your lines up the studs.
  3. The result should be a square or rectangle with half the stud visible on either side. Cut away the drywall from the stud up to three-quarters of an inch.
  4. The furring strip is a small piece of wood that you attach vertically with a drill and drywall screws inside the cutout hole. To prevent cracking, you need to screw the furring strips into the existing drywall.
  5. The new scrap should fit evenly in the wall cutout, so cut it into squares or rectangles.
  6. Install the new drywall on the studs and furring strips with drywall screws and a drill.
  7. Use joint compound. If the patch is not self-adhesive, apply joint tape around the edges (e.g., drywall joints).
  8. Remove any dust, sand until smooth, and paint.


Drywall Repair Dos and Don’ts

Even though drywall is rigid, it’s not indestructible. Gypsum-board walls can develop ugly cracks or holes over time. Thankfully, drywall is easy to repair, but there’s an art to doing it. The best way to patch a hole in drywall is to make it invisible to visitors, landlords, or potential buyers.


Make sure you use the correct joint compound.

A joint compound (drywall mud) can repair minor scratches or dents smaller than 12 inches across. Instead of using a narrow utility knife for wood putty, you should use a 3—to 4-inch putty knife when repairing drywall, smoothing the filler until it is flush with the wall with a 3—to 4-inch putty knife.

Before spackling, reinforcing mesh must be applied to cracks or holes larger than 11.2 inches. Upon settlement and crumbling of the joint compound, the damage will recur.


Make sure you save time patching drywall.

Utilizing pre-made products can simplify drywall repair tasks. Patch larger holes with kits with reinforced center panels and small holes with self-adhesive tape. A drywall compound and primer, like 3M Patch Plus Primer, leaves a surface you can paint immediately.


Keep neatness in mind.

Use a box cutter or a sharp blade to avoid bumps when using joint compounds. You can also use it to remove random strands of drywall tape or frayed edges of wallboardpaper from around holes or cracks.


It is not a good idea to cut hidden electrical cords.

You should always verify that electrical cords and plumbing lines aren’t running through space behind a hole before cutting into it to repair it. Use a flashlight to see what’s inside the small hole. If it has to grow, carefully use a drywall saw to cut horizontally—but don’t go deeper than an inch.

There’s always a chance hot wires will surround an electrical outlet, but don’t bet the farm on the electrical and plumbing codes followed by homebuilders or renovators.


Make sure you keep it light.

In general, less is more when it comes to joint compounds. If the joint compound looks flush with the wall at the damaged site, “feather” the mud as you apply it. A thin coat is more straightforward to sand, and you won’t have to remove too much while sanding.

When using a joint compound, hold the knife at a 70-degree angle and press more forcefully on the outer edges of the compound.


Pay attention to sanding drywall after patching holes.

If you rush sanding drywall, the repair site will be noticeable. Once the area is dry, apply fine-grit sandpaper to it. Once your repair is dry, add a second layer of mud, spreading it about two inches beyond the boundaries of the first layer. Once your repair is dry, re-sand.


Be sure to use protection.

Wear a dust mask while sanding drywall compounds to protect your lungs from fine particulates that can injure them. Use disposable gloves to prevent gypsum dust from dehydrating your hands.


Use drywall patches for larger holes.

A mesh drywall patch will be necessary to repair damage more significantly than a small nail hole. Do not fill a hole with spackle; it will crumble when it dries.

A drywall repair kit usually includes mesh, spackle, putty knife, and sandpaper for wall repair.

Spread joint compound over the patch, smooth the edges, and sand until smooth. Place the patch over the hole and spread the joint compound on top. After the patch is dry, sand it until soft.


Do not ignore nail heads that have popped.

The framing of a home can twist as it settles. This twist can push the nails securing the drywall to the wall studs outward, causing a visible bulge. You can tap the nail back in with a hammer, but it will eventually work its way out again.

If you want a more permanent fix, drive two drywall screws about an inch above the nail head and an inch below it. Use drywall spackle to cover the holes left by the screws. Once the screws are in place, the drywall will not shift or push the nail back out.


It’s necessary to replace the damaged drywall corner bead.

When a house settles, the corner drywall bead can buckle, crack, and crumble in addition to nail pops. If the wall corner had a paper-faced corner bead, cut the damaged area out with a utility knife.

If the damaged corner was covered with a paper-faced bead, cut out the damaged section with a utility knife. You can replace the damaged corner with a new piece of paper-faced bead by applying mud to the injured area with a trowel and pressing the latest piece of corner bead. Mud the sides; allow them to dry, then sand smooth and paint.


Make sure you pay attention to professional drywall repair costs.

Hiring a drywall repair professional is okay, but you need to know how much more it will cost than doing it yourself. A professional will charge $75 for small holes up to 4 inches in diameter.

Repairing multiple holes and cracks in one room can range from $200 to $550. Repairing drywall can be done on your own and save you considerable money. It costs only about $10 to buy a drywall patch kit that includes everything you need to repair a small hole, like this one from 3M.


Apply large drywall patches using furring strips.

It is necessary to use furring strips when repairing a drywall hole over 6 inches wide to ensure the repair is durable. Cut a furring strip four inches longer than the hole. Drive a drywall screw halfway into the strip and place it inside the hole, holding the strip by its head.

Make sure that the drywall overlaps on both sides of the furring strip. Using drywall screws, drive several screws through the drywall to secure the furring strip. It is now possible to attach the new piece of drywall to the furring strips once the screws are in place.


Bottom Line

Assess the damage and clean the area first to ensure a smooth application of drywall repair. Patch small holes with spackle, let it dry, and sand it down until it achieves an even surface. Patch more considerable damages with drywall tape and joint compound.

Sand and paint the area after patching to achieve a seamless finish. With the right tools and techniques, drywall repair can be straightforward and restore the pristine state of your wall.