How To: Wall Repairs for Holes Smaller Than A Fist
Drywall is not the strongest substrate in the planet. In fact, without much effort or completely by accident, it’s easy to put an unsightly hole in a wall. Drywall damage often happens during picture-hanging, due to an accidental drop of a heavy object, or the occasional hole-punching teen tantrum. Believe me; I’ve seen it all…
The good news is, small drywall holes are quite easy to repair! Just follow these simple instructions:
Repairing nail or screw holes – flush fill the hole:
Simply dab a little lightweight spackle on your index fingers to fill the hole, wiping any excess away with your finger or a light cloth. No need for putty knives and sanding. Keep it simple and it’ll blend quite well with your orange peel texture. If the edges of the holes have flared out from the fastener that you removed, you may want to knock down these edges with your putty knife before you fill. Smooth walls can be a little more finicky, so you may need to sand it smooth after proper drying time. With small holes like this, less is better. We see a lot mistakes when homeowners overdo the putty, which usually creates more work later.
For larger holes that require patching – gather these commonly available items:
- Putty knife – size depends on the size of the hole you are repairing
- Yellow fiberglass drywall mesh tape – self adhesive
- Drywall mud – 20 minute mud will work just fine
- Utility blade (snap knife works great)
- Rattle can texture for textured walls – I recommend Homax Oil Based Wall Texture for Orange Peel; they also have one for knock down, but most walls have an orange peel texture.
- Primer – water based wall primer will be sufficient
- Touch up paint
- Paint brush/roller and frame
Here are the steps for repairing the hole:
- Trim back the drywall paper about a quarter to half inch around the perimeter of the hole. The drywall paper will peel off the drywall after you score it, exposing the bare drywall.
- Apply strips of dry wall mesh over the hole to cover the hole; overlapping the strips of mesh and attaching it to the exposed drywall, then trim the excess off with your blade so that the edges of the yellow tape do not overlap onto the textured parts of the wall. This gives you a base to apply the drywall mud so you don’t need to patch in with a piece of drywall
- Apply the drywall mud over the top of the yellow tape with your putty knife, gradually building it up to create a smooth surface; “feather it out” over the edges onto the textured wall to create uniform converage
- Allow the drywall mud to firm up, but not completely set (about 10-15 minutes)
- Take a wet sponge and start working the drywall mud in a circular motion, keeping the sponge wet at all times to smooth out the drywall patch. Be patient and work slowly. It will create lather as you gradually smooth out the patch
- Once the patch is smooth and flush, clean out your sponge and wipe the patch clean
- Allow the patch to finish drying
- Apply a coat of primer with a brush or roller and allow to dry
- Warm your rattle can texture under water to build pressure and shake the can for a full two minutes – DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS STEP
- Practice spraying on a piece of cardboard or paper. When you are spraying, spray in a continuous, circular motion
- Adjust the nozzle till the spray pattern matches the wall
- Spray the texture as you practiced. Do not over apply the texture. This only takes a few seconds. It’s better to spray too little than too much, because you can always add more13.Allow to dry 5 or so minutes, then apply the final coat of primer
- After the primer is dry, apply the touch up paint
If you follow these steps, you can repair a hole in the wall in just a couple of hours. If you have trouble with the wet sanding step, you can allow the patch to completely dry and use drywall screens to sand it down. This creates dust, so we prefer to wet sand.
I hope these directions will help you achieve great results! Let us know how your project turns out.