• Repairing a Small Hole in Drywall


    Small holes in drywall, whether made intentionally or by accident, are a common occurrence.
    Repairing a small hole in drywall can range from easy to challenging depending on the size of the hole. Spackling and a spatula can be used to quickly fill nail and screw holes.
    If a drywall patch must be used to repair the hole, more skill and experience is required to make the patch invisible once completed.
    While you could call a drywall contractor for the job, a handyman should be able to manage it.
    You could also give it a try yourself. It’s one of those problems you probably won’t make worse if you use care, so if it doesn’t work out and you need to call a pro, there’s no harm done.
    Small drywall repairs can be made in a few minutes to a few hours.

    Drywall Repair Tips

    Our goal is to help decide to do the job yourself or hire someone to repair a small hole in drywall by telling you what needs to be done.
    In this home guide we provide steps to take and tips for making a repair that will be invisible once the area is repainted.
    You also learn what tools and material are needed, and drywall repair costs are discussed.
    Additional links are also available at the bottom offer video and step by step drywall repair instructions.

    Here’s an overview of what a drywall repair project entails that will help you decide whether to tackle it yourself or call someone with experience making this type of repair.

    • Holes less than ¼ inches across can be filled with drywall compound or spackling and a spatula
    • A utility knife should be used to removed edges around the hole that stick out (try pushing the broken surface back in first)
    • Cut the purpose jointer material so that the outside of the hole is wider than the inside, giving the patching material more surface area to stick to
    • Compound or spackling should be applied to the hole with a spatula
    • It will shrink when dry, so additional applications may be needed
    • Larger holes will require that a patch be glued  behind the hole before compound or spackling is applied. Very stiff cardboard or similar works well. Cut a piece slightly smaller than the widest part of the  damaged hole but leave enough lap on the narrow section so that it can be glued to the back of the drywall.
      Form a hole in the middle of the cardboard then thread “doubled” string through the hole.
      Tie a knot at the back. Now run a bead of PVA glue around the lap edges. Put the patch into the hole guiding it into position with the string. Gently pull the patch against the drywall and tie the string off against a stick that is longer than the hole. Be sure to wait until the glue has dried before
      applying the compound
    • Patches made of metal with an adhesive backing and mesh front are ideal for repairing holes up to six or eight inches across
    • Remove the backing and stick the patch over the hole
    • Apply drywall compound to the patch to fill in the mesh, and spread the compound a few inches beyond the patch
    • Allow the compound to dry, and sand lightly with fine-grit drywall sandpaper
    • Two to four layers of compound will be needed, each one extending an inch or two beyond the last
    • Once the last layer of spackling or compound has been applied, dried and sanded, then prime the material and paint

    If you have a large hole in your drywall, see our post entitled, “Repair a Large Hole or Sheet of Drywall” for the same type of helpful information including links.
    You may need to decide if you can repair or replace based on the size of the project.

    Drywall Repair Costs

    If you make the repair yourself, then your only costs will be for materials and any tools you don’t have. Your tools list includes:

    • Utility knife
    • spatula (the one you use on the B B Q is fine just scrape it clean afterwards)
    • Compound
    • Spackling
    • Drywall patch
    • Sandpaper
    • Primer
    • Paint

    DIY Drywall Repair Costs: If you have to buy a utility knife and spatula in addition to the materials, your cost will be $45 to $70 depending on the quality of the tools you select.

    Professional Repair Costs: A handyman will typically charge $45 to $75 per hour for drywall repair.
    He or she will likely use fast-drying compound, so that the repair may be completed, accept for priming and painting, in one day. With drying time, the total repair time might be six to eight hours.
    If the repair is on a ceiling or high on a wall and a ladder is required to reach it, then your costs will be 15 to 30 percent higher.

    Cutting Costs for Drywall Repair

    You can lower the price of DIY drywall repair by borrowing the necessary tools. However, the tools are fairly inexpensive and will likely be put to use on future repairs.

    It’s difficult to lower the cost of professional drywall repair because the work is labor-intensive. If you watch the handyman apply and sand the first layer of compound, you might be able to do the second and third layer yourself. The video in the PlanitDIY link will help.

    If the repair is in a location that isn’t highly visible, this is worth considering.
    Where the repair is in a central location, you’ll want it to be done right. Blending compound onto an existing surface so that it is invisible later is a difficult task.

    Do it Yourself Resources for Drywall Repairs

    The Art of Manliness – This site contains many pictures that depict the steps involved including the technique for using a backing board. For the size of the hole repaired, a metal patch would work just as well.

    PlanitDIY – This page from PlanitDIY contains a helpful video of repairing nail-type holes and larger damage.

    Drywall School – Here’s a different method of patching a small hole from a professional drywall finisher.


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