Patching drywall can be one of your greatest challenges when it comes to home repairs. Drywall is vulnerable to dents, cracks, and holes; however, with the right tools, you can quickly repair it yourself. This post will go over how to patch drywall, whether filling in a small dent or a hole in the wall.  

Note: Before working with drywall, always wear protective eyewear and a dust mask.

Tools

Materials

How to Repair Drywall Damage

How to Repair Drywall Damage

Most damage you’ll see on drywall consists of screw holes, dents, cracks, and popped nail heads. Fortunately, these minor types of damages can be fixed quickly and easily. 

Repairing drywall dents and tiny holes:

  • Fill dents and holes with lightweight spackle using a putty knife (or your finger).  
  • Ensure the spackle fully fills the hole and blends in well with the rest of the entire wall. 
  • Let it dry for 20 to 30 minutes or the time recommended by the product packaging. 
  • Once dry, use your sandpaper to sand the area smoothly.  
  • Touch up the paint if necessary. 

Repairing drywall cracks:

  • Using your utility knife, widen the crack and brush away dust.  
  • Fill the crack with a lightweight spackle utilizing a putty knife. 
  • Apply a thin coat of spackle over the area and smooth it out with the putty knife. 
  • Let it dry for 20 to 30 minutes or the time recommended by the product packaging. 
  • Once dry, use your sandpaper to sand the area smoothly.
  • Touch up the paint if necessary.  

Repairing popped nailheads:

  • If a nail has loosened up from the wall stud. Affix the drywall to the wall stud using your drywall screw.  
  • Press the drywall screw into the wall (about 1 to 2 inches over the popped nail head). Drop the screw head below the drywall’s surface. 
  • Hammer the nail head back into the wall (be careful not to further damage more drywall). 
  • Cover the hollow screw and the nail head with your lightweight spackle.  
  • Let the spackle dry, then sand it smooth. 
  • Touch up the wall paint if necessary. 

Repairing a hole in the wall that is larger than 4 inches across: 

If you’re dealing with a hole larger than 4 inches across, you may need to patch it with a new piece of drywall. Doing that may require you to cut into the wall, so make sure to locate all your electrical wires and utilities beforehand. To do this, use a stud finder to spot the wall studs.

Define the Damaged Section

  • Using your carpenter’s square and a marker, draw the line at least an inch or more over and under the damaged section. 
  • Use the stud finder to locate the nearest stud and mark them. 
  • Using a drywall saw, cut along the lines you just outlined until you reach the wall studs. 
  • Once a stud is reached, measure and mark 3/4 of an inch farther in, which will be the stud’s center. Mark these lines with a utility knife. 
  • The patch’s edge should be directly over the stud, so both the existing drywall and patch are supported.  
  • Proceed to cut along the drawn lines cautiously with the utility knife, each cut slightly deeper than the previous cut (several passes may be needed).
  • Carefully remove the damaged drywall. 

Install the Support

  • Cut a 3/4-inch piece of plywood about 2 to 4 inches larger than the size of the patch.  
  • Screw the supporting plywood vertically behind the opening with screws. This will keep the patch from splitting.  

 Cut the Drywall Patch

  • Create a patch (2 x 2-inch) piece of drywall. Make sure the patch is the same size as the piece of drywall you removed.
  • Cut the patch with your utility knife and carpenter’s square. 
  • Place the patch in the wall opening to make sure it’s a good fit. It should fit naturally. You don’t want to feel like you have to force it in the space. 

 Place the Drywall Patch

  • To fix the drywall patch, place your screws at least an inch from the sides to avoid breaking the drywall.  
  • Using a drill, tighten the patch to the supporting plywood and wall studs, sinking the screws slightly below the drywall’s surface. 

 Tape and Seal the Patch

  • Tape the patch with strips of self-adhesive fiberglass around the patch’s edges.  
  • Using a 6-inch drywall knife, spread joint drywall compound across the patch and tape to form a level, smooth surface.  
  • Let the mixture dry overnight, then sand until even. 
  • Apply a second coat.  
  • Clean the repaired area with a tack cloth.
  • Paint the wall. 

Takeaway

Patching drywall is a fundamental skill to have, especially if you’re a homeowner. Knowing how to patch drywall, whether significant or minor, means you can save plenty on repairs—no need to hire professionals and wait a few days for them to complete the work.