How to Repair Drywall

Lead Image
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 80-120
What You'll Need
Joint tape
Joint compound
Drywall paper
Joint knife paint primer
Utility knife
Sanding block

Drywall is a soft surface that easily incurs damage from bumps or scrapes. Nails loosen and pop out. Holes appear from hardware used to mount decor or dings from moving furniture. Drywall repair is a common one in the list of reoccuring home improvement chores. If you choose to repair these damaged places, you might need a few tips. Here are four steps that will be of help to you in repairing damaged drywall.

Step 1 - Fill Dents or Holes

applying patching compound to a hole in the wall

If your dent is shallow—that is, if it is ½" or less in depth—you will be able to patch it using only joint compound. If it is deeper, or if you have a hole through the drywall, you will need to apply a patch over the damaged area. For a shallow dent, spread a layer of mud (joint compound) over the dent. Then, cut a small piece of drywall paper or fiberglass screen and press it onto the drywall surface. The patch should cover the hole but should also leave a flat, even surface. Using your joint knife or putty knife, spread another layer of joint compound over the screen and allow the compound to dry.

Step 2 - Apply Compound a Second Time

When the compound covering the patch is dry and you begin sanding, you may discover that the patch surface is slightly indented. If it is, apply another coat of compound and level its surface by drawing the flat edge of your joint knife across it. Be sure the surface is level. When it has dried and after you have sanded you find that the surface is still indented, apply another layer of compound.

Step 3 - Repair Protruding Nail Heads or Screw Heads

driving a screw into drywall

When finding a protruding nail or screw head, test it to determine if it is loose or whether it has simply not been driven deeply enough into the drywall and joint. Occasionally, a nail or screw will be driven into the drywall but will miss the stud into which it should have been driven. Pull these nails out of the drywall and fill the hole as described in step one. If the nail (or screw) is driven into the wall stud, but is not driven below the drywall surface, use a hammer or screwdriver to hammer it in or drive it further into the wall stud. The head will need to be sunk below the surface of the drywall. Then fill the depression with compound as described in step one.

Step 4 - Sand, Texture, and Paint

When the compound is dry the color in the center will be the same light shade as the color of the compound at the outer edge and you need to use your sand block and sandpaper to sand the surface. Using the sand block will be necessary to insure that the entire surface of the damaged area is flat and is the same level as the surrounding surface. If you’ve patched a large area, apply texture to match the rest of the wall. Finally, wipe the dust left from sanding and apply a coat of primer. When the primer is dry, apply a coat of paint that matches the rest of the wall.