How to Repair Holes in Drywall

If the drywall in your house is damaged in a few places, it's an easy DIY task to patch it yourself—provided you have the right tools and this handy guide! Depending on the size of the repair, patching drywall is a fairly simple process, and we detail the steps below depending on the size of the hole you're patching.

Fixing Small Drywall Patches or Cracking

Someone repairing a hole in drywall with joint compound and a putty knife.

Materials and Tools Needed:

  • palm sander
  • joint compound
  • trowel
  • sanding sponge
  • paint primer
  • paint roller

Small drywall patching, such as cracks, is an easy fix. First, sand the area to be repaired with a palm sander. Then, apply a layer of joint compound over the damaged area with a trowel. The application must be smooth. Read the directions on the package of the compound for more details on this process and to know how long the joint compound should dry before the next step. After the speculated time, sand the area with a damp sponge used for sanding until you get a smooth surface. Since you use a damp sponge for this step, make sure the area has dried completely before moving on. Check for any thin spots that may have popped up on the surface. In case there is any occurrence of spots, apply another thin coat of the joint compound. After the second coat dries, apply a coat of paint primer with a paint roller. Let the surface rest over night. Then, paint the wall and don't forget to feather the edge of the patched area. This will blend the once-damaged area into the existing wall and you won't be able to spot the difference!

Fixing Medium-Sized Drywall Patches with a Repair Kit

Materials and Tools Needed:

  • drywall repair kit
  • drywall tape
  • joint compound
  • trowel
  • sanding sponge
  • paint primer
  • paint roller

Drywall patches or holes larger than a small size demand a little bit more work and usually an actual drywall repair kit you can purchase at a home improvement store. The kits come with a piece of mesh to provide support while mending the hole in the drywall. (If you don't want to use a drywall repair kit with mesh, you can also use a small piece of drywall for support in case there are no pipes behind the damaged area. See details below.)

The instruction manual for the repair kit will show how to cut and attach the mesh. Remember to seal the joints with tape and then cover the repair area with a thin layer of joint compound. From here, the procedure is the same as fixing a small patch. The only difference is that you will need to apply two to three coats of the joint compound. Finish it with primer and paint.

Fixing Medium-Sized Drywall Patches with a Piece of Drywall

A medium-sized hole in a ceiling that needs to be repaired.

Materials and Tools Needed:

  • wood
  • drywall
  • drywall screws
  • drywall tape
  • joint compound
  • trowel
  • sanding sponge
  • paint primer
  • paint roller

Measure and cut the drywall that will act as the backing.

The wood should be 1/2-inch thick, 1 inch smaller than the repair patch, and 3 inches longer than the repair patch. Vertically insert the wood into the hole and fasten it with drywall screws. Measure and cut another piece of drywall and insert it into the hole with drywall screws. Seal the joints with drywall tape. Cover the taped edges with joint compound and repeat the finishing process as detailed above for smaller holes with primer and paint.

Fixing Large Drywall Holes

Fixing major damage on drywall may call for a professional if you are an inexperienced DIYer. Large holes cannot be tackled with minor fixes. Depending on the extent of the damage, you might have to replace an entire wall or piece of drywall.