How to Repair Drywall

Drywall is a commonly used material in residential construction. And while it’s generally quite durable, it can be damaged, leaving you with unsightly holes or cracks in your wall.

Fortunately, drywall is relatively easy to fix, and in many cases, you may even be able to repair it yourself.

Do you have a hole in your drywall? Here’s how to fix it.

Drywall Repair Supply List

Before you can repair your drywall, you’ll need a number of supplies from your local hardware store.

To determine what you’ll need, first assess the damage. If the hole or crack is very small (under half an inch in diameter), all you need is spackle/drywall compound, sandpaper, paint and primer. If you have a slightly larger hole (think 4 inches across or smaller), you’ll need:

— Face mask.

— Eye protection.

— Utility knife.

— Putty knife.

— Joint tape, mesh tape or a mesh patch.

— Joint compound.

— Sandpaper.

— Primer.

— Paint.

— Drop cloth.

And for a larger-sized hole, you’ll need the following:

— Drywall backing/support.

— Drywall.

— Drywall screws.

— Handsaw.

— Drill.

— Joint tape or mesh tape.

— Joint compound.

— Sandpaper.

— Stud finder.

— Primer.

— Paint.

— Drop cloth.

— Ruler.

— Pencil.

[Read: 9 Basement Renovations on a Budget]

Drywall Repair Cost

The cost of your drywall repair will depend on its size and whether you need to call in a professional.

“For small to medium repairs, you can expect to pay between $10 and $45 on materials and can skip the labor costs altogether by doing the project yourself,” says Mallory Micetich, home care expert at Angi, a home services platform. “If you choose to bring in a pro for your repairs — or if the damage is too extensive to repair on your own — you’ll need to pay between $50 and $75 per square foot in labor costs.”

Repairing a Very Small Drywall Hole

Very small drywall holes require the least work and are easiest to repair on your own.

“If the hole is less than half an inch in diameter, you can patch it using spackle,” Micetich says.

To start, sand the wall until smooth and fill the hole with spackling paste or joint compound. Then, let it dry per the manufacturer’s instructions.

“You may need to wait for it to dry and apply another layer of spackle if you’re working with a deep hole,” Micetich says. “Once the spackle dries, sand it clockwise and then counterclockwise to ensure a smooth, even finish.”

From there, you can prime and paint the spot if necessary, and your repair is done.

[Read: How to Measure the Square Footage of a House]

Repairing a Small- to Medium-Sized Drywall Hole

To start, put on your face mask and eye protection and prepare the work area. This might mean moving furniture or laying down a drop cloth to prevent damage to your flooring.

Next, you’ll need to:

1. Use your utility knife to remove the damaged drywall.

2. Sand the area to smooth any rough edges.

3. Use mesh tape, joint tape or a mesh patch to cover the hole.

4. Cover the mesh or tape with joint compound using your putty knife.

5. Let the compound dry completely, per the manufacturer’s instructions.

6. Repeat the compound application and drying process two more times.

7. Once dry, sand the repaired spot. Prime the area, and paint it in a color that matches your existing wall.

Generally, you can repair small- to medium-sized holes yourself, but if your wall has a unique texture or look, it may require a professional’s help. A pro can “achieve a drywall repair that blends seamlessly into the existing wall or ceiling, making the damage look like it never happened,” says Paul Ferrara, CEO of drywall repair company PatchMaster. They can also “recreate textures, such as popcorn, sand swirl, comb and spray sand.”

Repairing a Larger Drywall Hole

Holes on the larger side require a bit more work. You’ll need extra drywall, some sort of drywall support (a piece of plywood can work), drywall screws and a stud finder.

Once you have your supplies, prep the area and put on your face and eye protection. Then, you will:

1. Use your stud finder to locate the studs around your hole. Mark them with a pencil, and then make a mark about 3/4 inches inward, too.

2. Using your utility knife, cut out the area surrounding the hole from stud to stud, creating a clean square or rectangle. The hole should extend to those 3/4-inch lines you just created.

3. Cut your drywall backing or plywood. It should be at least 2 inches longer than the height of your hole. Once in place, use drywall screws to secure the backing in the center of the repair area.

4. Cut a patch from your new drywall. It should be the same size as the stud-to-stud hole you cut, so use a ruler and pencil to guide you. Make sure the patch fits into the hole squarely before proceeding to the next step.

5. Use drywall screws to attach the patch to your backing and the studs. You should also place joint tape around the edges of the repair.

6. Spread joint compound over the entire repaired area, including the tape. Let the compound dry fully per the manufacturer’s instructions.

7. Sand the repaired area, and repeat step 6, this time extending your joint compound out a few inches further to ensure coverage.

8. Let the area dry. Sand it one last time, then wipe the area with a clean cloth to remove any excess dust.

9. Finally, prime and paint the area.

[Read: How to Find a Reliable Home Contractor]

Large holes can often be challenging, so if you’re not comfortable with a more extensive repair, you may want to call in a professional. You should also consider a pro if there is water damage or some other underlying issue.

“It gets trickier with more significant damage — especially caused by water, fire, settling or mysterious causes,” says Malcolm Conner, vice president and general manager of home services at The Porch Group. “In these cases, it’s almost always advisable to hire a professional, as there may be more than meets the eye.”

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