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Drywall Repair: How to Fix a Small Hole in a Wall

Even if you have very little expertise or experience with tools, repairing drywall is one of the easiest and least expensive home maintenance tasks you can complete yourself.

Drywall paneling can become easily damaged during the removal or insertion of nails and screws. Over time, moisture can also result in the appearance of cracks in your drywall particularly if you live in a cold winter climate.

Removing nails and screws from your drywall can leave behind unsightly holes that even a new paint job won’t conceal. Learn how to fix a hole in drywall and restore the evenness of your wall surface in just 4 simple steps.

Skill Level: Beginner
  1. Step 1 Fill the Hole with Spackle

    Female repairing drywall by applying spackle using a putty knife

    The simplest way to permanently fix a hole in drywall is to purchase a quality joint compound filler or putty. Spackling paste, or spackle, is a type of putty used to fill small holes, cracks and other defects in the surface of drywall, wood, and plaster. Spackle is inexpensive, dries quickly and doesn’t leave behind noxious or dangerous odours, making repairs quick and easy to do.

    Inspect the hole to determine how much spackle you’ll need to apply. Use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any uneven/rough areas around the hole in your drywall. Then, using the putty knife, apply the spackle to each hole. Scrape the spackle gently over the hole at a 90-degree angle for a more even application.

    To make your drywall repairs easier, use 2 putty knives with differing widths. The wide putty knife can be used to fill the hole, while the narrow putty knife can be used to scrape and trim away excess spackle more accurately. A damp cloth is also very useful for removing the excess without damaging your drywall.

    To repair large holes more than 2” inches in diameter, you may need to use a wall repair patch before applying spackle.

    Tip: When repairing drywall, remember to keep the lid on your spackle jar closed when not in use. The spackle dries quickly once exposed to air, making it increasingly hard and difficult to manipulate.

  2. Step 2 Allow the Spackle to Dry

    Spackle drying on a gray interior drywall surface to conceal a hole

    Once you are satisfied that the hole is sufficiently covered, allow the spackle to dry. This typically can take several hours. During the drying process, the spackle may shrink because of the loss of moisture. Inspect each hole and apply more spackle as necessary to achieve an even surface, then let it dry completely.

  3. Step 3 Sand the Area Smooth

    A woman using sandpaper to smoothen a wall with dry spackle

    After the spackle has dried completely, use sandpaper to file down and smoothen the surface. For drywall, 120 or 150-grit sandpaper is sufficient.

    Rub the spackled area gently in circles and apply light to moderate pressure to avoid damaging your drywall. You may want to consider removing any carpeting and opening a window for added ventilation.

  4. Step 4 Touch up the Paint

    A hand using a paint brush to paint over the dried spackle

    Now that the spackle is completely dry and the wall surface is even and smooth, you can successfully paint over the holes. If you’re painting over small holes and other minor defects, a small handheld paintbrush is all you’ll need. For an even coat that blends shades seamlessly, move the paint brush from right to left, then left to right over the affected area. To paint your entire wall, use a paint roller.

What You Need for This Project

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