Find the right tools for the job

The first step is to head to your local hardware store. If you need to repair small holes from picture frames, for example, there will only be two things on your shopping list.

  • A tub of spackle
  • A joint knife

If this is your first time learning how to repair a small hole in drywall, good news. This is one home improvement task you can do on the cheap. Both items can be picked up for less than 20 bucks.

And speaking of options, you’ll notice several similar looking products with different names, like spackle, wall putty and joint compound, which can add to your confusion. To fill small holes, you’ll want to use spackle or spackling paste. This is best for holes made by thumbtacks or small nails used to hang pictures. Spackle will also be your best bet if you accidentally took a small chunk out of your wall when moving furniture.


Steps to repair large holes in drywall:

1. Measure the whole

Measure the size of the drywall required to repair the hole. You will need a piece one inch larger than the hole. For example, if your hole is 3X3”, your new piece of drywall will need to be 4X4”.

2. Cut drywall

Cut out a new piece of drywall using the razor and straight edge. Repeatedly run a razor along the straightedge to create cuts in the drywall.

3. Align drywall

3. Align drywall

Hold the new piece of drywall up to the hole in the wall, trace the outside edge of the shape onto the wall using a pencil. Use the razor and straightedge to cut out along the outline drawn on the wall. Repeatedly cut along the outline until the drywall comes out with some gentle force. It is important to go slow and do as many passes with the razor that you can to make sure you get a nice straight cut. Run the razor along the inside edge of the new square hole to clean up the edges and make straight as possible Test that the hole is large enough by gently putting the new square of drywall into the hole. If not, use the razor to enlarge the hole as needed.

4. Support drywall

Take any size of wooden board, preferably a 2×1 or 2×2, or any excess drywall, and cut so that the piece is about 2-inches larger than the width of the hole. This wood will serve as a support for your new piece of drywall. This ensures that the new piece does not fall back into the wall. Place the board inside the wall, across the hole from the inside as seen below.

5. Prepare for mesh tape

5. Prepare for mesh tape

Use the drill and screws to fasten the board to the wall. One screw at each end is enough to secure the board. Ensure the screws are tight enough that the heads of the screws are flat with the wall. Place your new drywall piece into the hole. Make sure it fits nice and flat with the rest of the wall.

6. Apply mesh tape

Take the plaster mesh tape and place it along the edge of the new drywall piece to help you create a seamless edge.

7. Apply drywall plaster

7. Apply drywall plaster

Use the putty knife to apply drywall plaster over the new piece of drywall, including the mesh tape. Apply enough cover and make smooth with the surrounding wall. Wait until the plaster sets, usually half an hour. Read the instructions on your plaster container to make sure. Use the putty knife to apply a thin layer of plaster to make a smooth surface. Wait until the plaster is dry, usually within 24 hours. Read the instructions on your plaster container to know how long you must wait before you can proceed.

8. Sand excess

8. Sand excess

Sand any excess plaster off the wall until matching smoothness with the rest of the wall. Don’t worry about sanding off any paint on the surrounding wall. You can repaint it later.

9. Texture your wall (Optional)

9. Texture your wall (Optional)

If you have a textured wall, it might look out of place to have a smooth patch in the middle of your wall. To better blend in the repair, you must texture the wall. Take the spray texture and read the instructions. Typically, you hold the can a foot away from the wall and sparingly spray the wall while moving the can. Next, you must quickly, and in one or two strokes, move your putty knife over the wet texture to make it as flat as the rest of your wall. Let dry completely before moving on to the next step. 

Tools needed:

Sandpaper (100-150 grit)

The sandpaper will help you smooth everything out before you paint. You will only need one sheet of sandpaper to complete a small repair project.

Putty Knife

Putty knives are not knives, but a flat piece of metal you will use to apply and smooth out the plaster. It is helpful to get a wide one, like this, to create a seamless patch.

Premixed plaster filler or “spackle”

This premixed plaster or “spackle”  is what covers the wall, making a nice smooth surface to paint over. 


Ask your landlord what color and finish of paint is on your walls, as you will have to paint over the patched-up wall to make it look like nothing ever happened.

Roost Tip! Take a paint chip to a paint store to color match the original paint. Or ask your landlord for the color. If you paint with a different shade, it may not be good enough to get your security deposit back because your property manager will need to re-paint to remove the noticeable spot. 


Pick up a cheap paintbrush at the store. You do not need an expensive paintbrush since you are only going to use it once.

Drywall repair tape

If you need to repair large holes (up to two inches wide), you can use drywall repair tape. This tape gives the plaster structure to adhere to when covering larger than nail-sized holes.

To save time, you can simply purchase a drywall repair kit.

Let’s talk about ‘nail pops’

These are areas where, over time, either a nail or screw starts to jut out of the drywall, but isn’t necessarily a hole. It’s more like a paint-colored bump in your wall. 

First, you’ll want to determine if it’s a nail or a screw popping out.  

You can use the putty knife to scratch off the surface area to expose the nail or screw. If it’s a nail, use a hammer to push the nail back into the drywall so that it’s flush with the wall. If it’s a screw, use the appropriate screwdriver to push the screw back into the drywall. 

Now that the nail or screw is pushed back into the drywall, you can use the drywall spackle over the spot to fill in the gaps.

Again, wait a few hours for the spackle to dry, then use the sandpaper to even out any bumps. Go over the area with a couple of layers of paint — and that’s it.

Method 2: Fix a Hole in the Wall with Homemade Sealant

For an even stronger, faster way to repair a hole in the wall, add a little baking soda to a drop of super glue to form a super-strength sealant. Use a toothpick to combine the two, then follow the steps below:

Next, follow the steps below:

  1. Put on rubber gloves to be sure that this super-strength, fast-drying glue never comes in contact with your skin.
  2. Immediately apply the mixture directly to the wall.
  3. After it dries, start sanding the hard, plastic-like finish until it’s flush with the wall.

Not only is this fix effective for small holes, but it can solve cracks in corner walls too!




Related Questions

Can Landlord Charge for Nail Holes?

A landlord can charge for nail holes or they may deduct a portion of the tenant’s security deposit to repair wall damage. However, not all landlords will actually charge for nail holes, especially if the holes are very small or unnoticeable. You can check your lease for more details.

Do You Need to Fill Holes When Moving?

When you move out of an apartment, you will typically need to fill any holes that you’ve put into the walls. However, some landlords are lenient or have different policies, and may not require you to fill any small holes (such as nail-holes). Consult your lease or landlord to get clarity on the expectations.

Can I Replace the Shower Head in My Apartment?

You can generally change the shower head in an apartment, but you should be sure to keep the original shower head and reinstall it before moving out. Before changing the shower head, you should also check your lease to make sure there are not any clauses that prohibit this type of change.

Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Air Filters?

Renters are usually expected to replace air filters themselves. This includes the purchase of the filters, although many landlords will provide a couple of extra filters as a courtesy. There are some variations, however, and you should check your lease for the specific expectations.

4. Floor & Carpet Stains

Nothing says “good party” like stains on the floor and carpet. The one right there was the first spilled beer. That one was where Matt puked, barely missing the poker table. And the one in the corner you’re trying to forget, so please don’t ask. Yep, “good party.”

However, these stains also have a tendency to make your landlord say “I’m keeping your security deposit.” So let’s see what we can do about getting rid of them. As we’ve already mentioned, the best way to cure a stain is to prevent it. That is, by cleaning up a spill before it has the chance to become a stain. This is easier than you think. Here are the basic supplies you need:

A bunch of shop rags. Hardware and auto parts stores sell bags or boxes of towels & rags. These come in handy when the need arises to sop up a mess. If you don’t have — or run out of — shop rags, any of the following will do in a pinch: paper towels, napkins, bath towels, newspapers, etc.

All-purpose cleaner in a spray bottle (Simple Green is my personal fave). Great for preventing stains, especially on floors.

Baking soda is the duct tape of the cleaning world. It has so many uses you will want to keep some right next to your pillow. Well, maybe not tha close. Use baking soda to soak up colorful stains, like red wine or coffee, or in any cleaning emergency.

Carpet cleaner. This stuff is good for getting messes out of the shag (hairs) of a carpet. It works well for just about any kind of spill — even nasty stuff, like urine or poo from your pets. Or from your drunk friends.

Tip: If your friends take drunken poops on your carpet, they may not be your friends. Even if you personally invited them to the party, they may not be your friends.

Keep all this stuff in a handy spot, like under the kitchen sink. When something spills, the first thing to do is soak it up. Put some shop rags down on the spill and let it soak into the rags. This is called blotting. It’s better than wiping, because it soaks the stain up, rather than rubbing it in.

If the spill is something solid, like a turd or a gooey chocolate brownie, pick it up as best you can without wiping. Wiping only spreads the mess into the carpet. Once you’ve soaked or picked up the mess, put some cleaner down. Carpet cleaner on the carpet, all-purpose cleaner on the floor. If you want, throw a little baking soda down there too. Let the cleaner soak in for a bit, then put some more dry rags over it. In the case of carpet cleaner, you normally wait till it dries, then vacuum it up.

Tip: Red wine spill? Rubbing salt into the spill will prevent a stain. Should work the same with grape juice. If you still drink grape juice.

But who are we kidding? You didn’t clean up the st

But who are we kidding? You didn’t clean up the stain right away. You let it sit and fester, and it turned different colors. Now it looks like a clown had food poisoning.

Removing stains once they’ve set in is basically the same, just a little harder. If you spilled something on the carpet long ago, and the stain is already set, there is still hope. Go rent a carpet cleaner from your hardware store. This is basically a fancy vacuum cleaner, except that it washes your carpet. Follow the instructions that come with it (don’t worry it’s easy).

As for the floor, most stains should come right up with a mop, a bucket of strong all-purpose cleaner (diluted with water, like it says on the directions), and a bit of good old-fashioned elbow grease.

Tip: A very effective and all-natural household cleaner can be created with baking soda and household vinegar. When combined, they create a chemical reaction and fizz up, like your 3rd grade science fair volcano. All this activity is good, because it shakes things loose. Things like dirt and dookey and pizza and beer.

Give a hand by repairing holes in your drywall

Take a step back and admire your work. If you did it correctly, you shouldn’t notice any difference between where the holes were and the rest of the wall. When stored correctly, your leftover spackle or joint compound should last a couple of months in your toolbox. If you need to use it in your new place and it seems too firm when you try to apply it, toss it and pick up another tub.

Congratulations, you now know how to repair a hole in the drywall. Not so scary, was it? You’ll know your way around the hardware store in no time.


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