DIY Drywall Repair Tips from an Expert


While you might like that lived-in look, a hole in the drywall makes your home look a little too lived in.

Maybe the kids were playing a little too rough. Or your measurements were a few inches off when you were hanging that new mirror. Knocking a hole in your wall is a common occurrence.

Calling a contractor to repair drywall damage can be costly. Learn how to fix both small and medium-sized holes so that you can keep your walls looking great for years to come.

Time is money

Patching smaller holes is a perfect DIY project to tackle yourself. Why? It all comes down to time. Because every coat of spackle and paint needs time to dry, a drywall repair project will require a contractor to come back multiple times … which can be expensive. If you are ready to tackle this project yourself, follow these simple steps for wall repair.

Patch Drywall

Patching drywall can be easy and inexpensive with a few tools and a little bit of patience. The steps in this how-to guide are quick, so soon you’ll patch like a pro.

The right stuff

Get ready to go shopping. Here are the materials you will need to repair a hole in your wall:

• spackling paste
• flexible putty knife
• hammer
• 180-grit sandpaper
• patching kit
• paint (the same paint that was previously used on the wall)
• roller pan and a 4-inch mini roller with a roller cover (half-inch nap)
• paintbrush
• dropcloth

Nail and screw holes (up to 2 inches)

Nail and screw holes are an easy fix with a little spackle and paint, but there are a few steps to follow to ensure a smooth patch.

When you remove a nail or screw from the drywall, it will create a convex surface that will show through the paint if you simply patch over it. Take a hammer and gently tap the hole to depress it back into the wall. (Be careful not to tap it too hard or you will create an even bigger hole.)

Once you have depressed the hole, apply spackling paste with a 2-inch flexible putty knife. Apply a thin layer over the depression, smooth out the edges and let it dry.

A second coat may be required — but be sure to extend it out from the original patch approximately 2-3 inches to create a smooth look. Once the patch has dried, sand it smooth with 180-grit sandpaper and wipe off any remaining dust with a rag.

Holes with a diameter of 2 to 6 inches

Medium-sized holes can be patched in much the same way as smaller holes, but will require a patching kit to ensure a smooth finish.

Home improvement stores carry self-adhesive patches with an aluminum backing that will prevent the spackle from sinking into the hole. If you try to patch a medium-sized hole without one, the spackle will not dry properly and eventually it will ripple through the paint.

Once you have applied the self-adhesive patch over the hole, use spackling paste and a 3-inch putty knife to cover it. This will require three coats. Be sure to:

1. Apply thin layers.
2. Smooth out the edges.
3. Extend out the patch by approximately 3 inches with every coat.

Once the patch has dried, sand smooth with 180-grit sandpaper and wipe off any remaining dust with a rag.


Now that you have patched your hole, it’s time to paint. You’ll need a 4-inch (mini) paint roller and a roller cover with a half-inch nap, in addition to a paint roller pan. (Some stores will sell these as a kit, with everything included.)  You also will need paint; be sure to use the same paint that was previously used on the wall.

Lay down your dropcloth to protect the floor. Then paint the first of your two coats. The key is to feather out your edges so that they blend into the previous coat. Once the first coat has dried, apply your second coat to ensure coverage over the patch and an even finish.

By following these simple steps, you will have your walls looking like new in no time.