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Step 4: Apply Drywall Patching Compound to Wall Patch and Wall

Use the putty knife to remove patching compound from container and liberally apply compound around the edge of the wall patch. Start around the edges and work your way out before getting to the middle of the wall patch. Make sure that the all edges of the wall patch are covered by patching compound. Tip –  It might be a good idea to allow the compound to dry for 15-20 minutes before finishing covering the rest of the hole. This will allow the compound to partially dry so that the wall patch does not move when applying patching compound to the center of the wall patch. Cover the rest of the wall patch, liberally applying compound until the entire wall patch is covered. Smooth out as much as possible but this doesn’t need to be perfect because the imperfections will sanded out anyway. Allow the compound to dry overnight.


How to patch a hole: Insert backer boards

Cut the backer boards about 4 in. longer than the

Cut the backer boards about 4 in. longer than the height of the hole. Pine or other soft wood works well. Hold them tight to the backside of the drywall when fastening them. Hold the boards carefully so the screw points won’t prick your fingers if they pop out the backside. The drywall screws will draw the boards in tight. Sink the screwheads slightly below the drywall surface. 

How to Patch a Large Hole

Fix Holes larger than 6 in. diameter

Repairing a hole that’s larger than 6 in. diameter doesn’t require much—all you need are two short 1x3s and a scrap piece of drywall.

Patch a big hole in 9 steps:

  1. Start by cutting the ragged hole into a neat square or rectangle.
  2. Slip one of the 1x3s into the wall cavity and screw it to the edge of the cutout; be sure it overlaps into the hole by 1 1/4 in.
  3. Then attach the second 1×3 to the opposite side of the cutout.
  4. After cutting a piece of drywall to fit into the cutout, apply a bead of construction adhesive to the face of each 1×3.
  5. Secure the patch to the 1x3s with 1 1/4-in.-long drywall screws.
  6. Spread a thick coat of joint compound around the edges of the patch
  7. Use the drywall knife to firmly press paper tape into the compound; this will hide the joints.
  8. After the compound has dried completely, sand it smooth and apply at least two more thin coats of compound.
  9. Lightly sand the final coat, prime the area and brush on two coats of paint, letting the first dry thoroughly before applying the second.

Note: Cover the metal patch with a coat of joint compound. Then gradually feather the edges to blend the patch into the wall.


  • Most quick dry patching compounds are difficult to sand. You should use standard wallboard joint compound for patching wallboard (drywall) or plaster.

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  • If the area you need to patch is in an area that gets wet, then use a moisture/mold resistance green board.

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How to fix a hole in the wall: Small Holes

Small holes caused by screws or hooks, wall fasteners or drywall fasteners that pop up are simple to repair, but again time consuming because you almost always have to repaint the walls. Nail pops are common and particularly irritating, because you’re likely to have more than one. But drywall screws sometimes pop up too, as a result of damp framing that dries out and shrinks during the first year or two in new construction.

The first step of how to patch a small hole in the wall is to drive nails back down using a nail set. If you have screws, dig the drywall compound from their heads with a utility knife and turn them in tight with a screwdriver.

Then dimple the hole slightly concave with a hammer to indent any raised edges. But take care not to crush the drywall core. In addition, cut away any paper tears with a sharp utility knife. This is a good technique to use with old wall fasteners as well. It’s usually easier to tap them into the wall slightly rather than pull them out.

Two coats of drywall compound, applied with two swipes of the knife in a “+” pattern, should fill the holes. The first coat will shrink a bit, leaving a slightly smaller dent to be filled by the second coat. Scrape the excess off the surrounding wall so you don’t build up a hump. Sand lightly to blend with the surrounding wall. Be sure to prime the spot. Otherwise the topcoat will absorb into the patch and make the area look different from the surrounding paint. And use a roller when priming to help raise the surface texture to match the surrounding wall.

How to fix a hole in the wall fast: 20-Minute Setting Compound Twenty-minute setting compound is a great product for filling deep holes and gaps and for your first taping coat because, unlike regular joint compound, it hardens quickly without shrinking. That means less time spent filling. And you can apply a second coat of compound as soon as the first hardens. You don’t have to wait for it to dry completely as you complete a how to fix drywall project. For most uses, buy the lightweight type. It comes as a powder in sacks. Mix only what you can use in about 10 minutes. It hardens quickly, often in your pan if you’re too slow! Completely clean your pan and knife before mixing a new batch in your how to fix drywall task. Otherwise it’ll harden even faster! To avoid clogging the sink drain, throw leftover compound into the trash.

Safety first

After gathering all of your supplies, be sure to check the location of wiring and plumbing before you begin repairs. If you’re patching anything larger than small nail holes, use a flashlight to peek into the hole first. You should be able to see if there are any wires or pipes before you start your repairs. If you need to enlarge the hole to get a better look, cut the hole horizontally using a drywall knife—just make sure you don’t go deeper than an inch. You should also wear a dust mask, protective goggles, and gloves.

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!




How Do You Fix a Hole in the Wall?

When you’re upgrading your home, learning how to patch a hole will help your walls look smooth and flawless. The exact method for how to patch a hole in the wall will vary depending on how big the hole is.

Small Holes

When the hole is fairly small, around an inch or two in size, you can follow these steps to fix it.

Prepare the area: If the hole has rougher edges, gently sand them away and wipe off dust with a damp rag.

Cut your reinforcing patch: For a hole in drywall that is more than half an inch in size, use a small piece of reinforcing mesh. You can find these in plastic, fiberglass, and metal. Cut the patch so that it is an inch larger than your hole on all sides.

Place the patch on the hole: Most patches have an adhesive backing to stick them on over the hole. If yours does not have one, just use a small dab of spackle or drywall compound to hold it in place temporarily.

Cover: Use a putty knife to evenly smooth spackle or drywall compound over the hole and patch. Make sure the compound expands at least an inch past your patch.

Let it dry: Most compound takes eight hours to dry thoroughly. Read the manufacturer’s instructions on the label to see when yours will be dry.

Sand it: Sand down any rough spots until they look smooth. Take extra care around the edges, lightly feathering them with a very fine grit sandpaper.

Prime and paint: Apply primer, and then add a few coats of matching paint to finish the repair.

Medium Holes

To learn how to fill holes in the wall when they’re at least a few inches wide, use a method called the “California patch.”

Cut your drywall patch: Cut a piece of drywall into a square 2 inches larger than your hole on each side. Use a drywall knife to score the drywall an inch from the edges of the patch without tearing the paper. Snap off the gypsum while leaving the inch of paper backing in place.

Cut a hole in the wall: Put your drywall on the wall as a template and trace around the square. Cut the matching square in the wall.

Use joint compound to attach the drywall: Place joint compound on the paper as a glue, and then press it into the hole in the wall.

Cover the patch: Use compound to smooth over the patch. You may need two coats. Make sure you let it dry properly between coats.

Finish: Sand the drywall compound smooth, prime it, and paint it to finish off your repair.

Large Holes

Here’s how to cover a hole in the wall if it is bigger.

Cut your drywall patch and prep the area: Cut a piece of drywall that is at least 2 inches larger on every side than the edge of the hole you need to fill. Then, use that piece as a template to trace a square around the hole in the wall. Cut your drywall along this outline.

Apply bracing strips inside: Cut two one-by-two pieces of wood slightly longer than the width of the hole. Put them inside the hole and hold them in place. Screw from the outside of the hole into the end of each piece of wood with a drywall screw.

Attach your patch to the bracing strips: Put the piece of drywall into the hole and use a few more screws to attach it to the anchor board.

Apply joint tape: Put some joint tape over each border to strengthen the bond and prevent cracking.

Cover with joint compound: Use joint compound to cover the patch. Wait for the compound to dry, and then sand it completely flat.

Finish: Prime and paint the area to finish your repair.

How to Patch Textured Walls

When patching a textured wall, you can start by following the same basic process for how to repair a hole in the wall that we outlined above. However, the final finishing step is a little different because you need to match the existing texture. Depending on the type of texture you have, you have a few different options for re-creating the existing texture.

Most methods involve applying wallboard compound to add texture to the area. You can just roll it over with a long-nap roller to get the standard orange-peel look. You can also get creative with a putty knife, smoothing, slashing, and poking the wallboard compound to get a similar look. Home improvement stores also have kits to touch up common textures like splatter and knockdown. For larger areas, you may want to try using a spraying gun that can be set to apply textures like popcorn or knockdown.

More Related Articles:

How to fix small holes

Small holes can simply be sanded down and filled with drywall compound.
Serenethos/Getty Images

To fix a small hole, like a nail or screw hole under ½ inch, McGee provides the following instructions:  

  1. Clean the area. Remove loose drywall debris. Sand down rough edges with sandpaper. Wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove dust.
  2. Fill the hole. Apply joint compound with a putty knife. Steckel recommends Drydex ready-mixed drywall compound, which will go on pink but turn white when it dries. Allow it to dry. This can take 15 to 30 minutes, but the specific drying time will be listed on the product.
  3. Finish the repair. Sand the area smooth until it is flush with the rest of the wall. Apply a coat of primer and paint. 

How to repair drywall: Medium holes

For medium-size holes, like those caused by door knobs or large nails, a drywall patch kit is going to be your friend. These handy sets will have all of the materials you’d use on smaller holes—like Spackle, a putty knife, and sandpaper—but it will also include a self-adhesive mesh patch. For medium-size holes, mesh patches reinforce the wall and simplify the spackling process.

If you have these four things lying around your house, feel free to skip the official kit and get to work on the following steps.

  1. Sand the wall around the hole and wipe off any dust.
  2. Apply the self-adhesive mesh patch on the damaged area.
  3. Cover the patch with joint compound or Spackle, depending on what comes in your kit. Feather the edges of the joint compound by increasing the pressure on the putty knife as you spread it on the existing drywall.
  4. Let dry and apply a second coat of joint compound if necessary. Sand the surface until smooth, wipe away any dust, and paint.

How to Fill a Small Hole

Fix tiny nail and screw holes:

Tiny nail and screw holes are the easiest to fix. Use a putty knife to fill them with spackling or wall joint compound.

Allow the area to dry, then sand lightly. Anything larger must be covered with a bridging material for strength before patching compound can be applied.

Fix holes between 1/2 and 11/2 in. diameter:

For holes between 1/2 and 11/2 inch diameter, bridge the gap with a piece of adhesive-backed fiberglass mesh. We used a repair kit from Manco (less than $2) that includes a pair of 8×8-in. mesh squares.

Use the kit in 4 steps:

  1. First, hand-sand around the hole to smooth any rough spots. Wipe off any sanding dust with a damp cloth.
  2. Then cut a piece of fiberglass mesh to overlap the hole by at least 1 in. on all sides. Peel off the paper backing and press the mesh to the wall.
  3. Spread a layer of spackling compound over the patch with a 6-in. drywall knife.
  4. Let it dry overnight, sand lightly, then apply a second thin layer. If needed, apply a third skim coat after the second one dries.

Note: Use a 6-in. drywall knife to smear spackling compound through the mesh and over each hole. Let the compound dry, then sand lightly.

Step 7: Paint the Area

The final but potentially messiest step is painting over the texture to get the color to match the rest of the wall.

Note – You can often get paint from your property manager that will match the paint in your apartment or house. If you can’t buy the paint directly from your property manager, your property manager will give you the code for the color paint that you can purchase from your local hardware store.

Warning – It is very easy to drip paint from you brush or knock over the can of paint which is nearly impossible to get of carpet so make sure you cover the floor with plastic or newspaper.

Open the can of paint and carefully place the lid to the side. Apply paint to your paintbrush and spread the paint over the area, making sure all white areas are covered. Replace the lid on the can and clean the paintbrush. Allow the area to dry for 5-6 hours.

Congratulations! You have just restored you once incomplete wall. Your wall probably won’t look exactly like it did before but it will be very close. Most people who walk by the area will never notice the difference.


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