Repairing Drywall Repairing Drywall

If you want your drywall to look professionally finished, wall preparation is essential before priming and painting. The overall appearance of the finished job will depend greatly upon the quality of the prep work, and if you don’t take the time to properly sink popped nails and fill in holes, dents, and cracks, your finished job will look shoddy.

Take the time to examine drywall for nails that have popped through, and look for cracks and dents. It’s easy to fix and repair these common problems. Not only will your finished paint job look more professional, but it will also last longer. Wall preparation is the key to attaining beautifully painted walls.

Protruding Drywall Nails

Protruding or popped drywall nails are obvious, and primer and paint won’t hide them. The bumps suddenly appear on drywall, and they become even more visible when the paint chips away. It really isn’t difficult to remedy the problem. All it takes is a little time and effort.

Begin by measuring 1 ½ to 2 inches above or below the popped nail. Mark the location with a pencil, and drive a ringed nail or drywall screw into the joist or wall stud. This will strengthen the area where the nail popped through.

Next, carefully scrape away any loose paint or drywall from the area covering the protruding nail with a small drywall knife. Drive the popped nail into the wall, just below the surface. Remove any loose particles, and smooth the surface with fine-grit closed-coat sandpaper before filling it in and leveling it with drywall compound and a drywall knife.

Cover the newly installed drywall screw or ringed nail with drywall compound as well, and allow both repairs to dry for approximately 24 hours. Finish by sanding the repaired drywall with fine-grit closed-coat sandpaper or a fine-grit wet sanding sponge. If the compound shrinks upon drying, repeat the filling and sanding process, and allow it to dry completely before priming or painting.

Patching Dents

Dents are extremely easy to patch and repair. Repairing dents requires a 6-inch drywall knife, drywall compound, a damp sponge, and fine-grit closed-coat sandpaper.

Begin by lightly sanding the damaged area to remove any loose particles or debris. Fill the dent with drywall compound, and level it with a drywall knife. Allow the compound to dry for at least 24 hours. If the compound shrinks, apply additional compound, and level it with a damp sponge. Allow it to dry an additional 24 hours, and sand it to a smooth finish with fine-grit closed-coat sandpaper.

Patching Nail Holes


If your drywall is littered with unsightly nails and nail holes, remove the nails and fill in the holes before painting for a neat, smooth finish. This is one of the easiest ways to ensure your drywall will look great after priming and painting.

After removing the nail or screw, pare away any raised edges with a utility knife or blade. Fill in the hole with a small amount of drywall compound, and smooth it with a drywall knife. Allow the compound to dry, and sand it lightly with fine-grit sandpaper.

Patching Finger-Size Holes

If the hole is a little larger and can’t be filled in without supplementary support, you’ll need drywall tape in addition to drywall compound, a 6-inch drywall knife, and fine-grit closed-coat sandpaper. Begin patching the hole by surrounding it with a thin layer of drywall compound. Cut off sections of drywall tape of appropriate length, and crisscross the sections to completely cover the hole. The drywall compound will hold the tape in place.

Next, spread a thin layer of drywall compound over the tape, and smooth it as much as possible with the drywall knife. Allow the patch to dry for 24 hours. If the patch cracks, apply more drywall compound, and smooth it out as much as possible. Allow the compound to dry for at least 24 hours.

Finish the patch by sanding the repaired area with fine-grit closed-coat sandpaper. When properly sanded, the repair will be invisible once covered with primer and paint.

Patching Fist-Size Holes

Finding a fist-size hole in drywall is a nightmare. At first glance, damage such as this looks impossible for the average person to repair. It really isn’t difficult to repair a fist-size hole in drywall. You can do it yourself!

To complete the repair you’ll need a drywall saw, a 1-inch by 2-inch piece of wood that’s approximately 4 inches longer than the width of the hole, wallboard adhesive, and new drywall for making a patch. You’ll also need drywall tape, drywall compound, and fine-grit closed-coat sandpaper.

Begin by cutting out the damaged area in a rectangular shape. Apply a moderate amount of drywall adhesive to the front side of the piece of wood, and attach it to the center of the inside of the hole. Allow the adhesive to dry completely before continuing. The wood will provide a secure backing for the drywall patch.

Once the adhesive has dried, while holding the patch in place, secure it to the wall with drywall screws. Sink the screws just below the surface of the drywall.

Make a patch by tracing the section cut from the wall, and cut out the patch so it’s approximately one-eighth of an inch smaller than the original piece. Apply drywall adhesive to the back of the patch, and stick it to the piece of wood inside the hole.

Next, fill the seams around the edges of the patch with drywall compound, and cover them with drywall tape. Coat the tape with a thin, even layer of drywall compound, and let it dry for approximately 24 hours. If cracks appear, apply more drywall compound, and allow it to dry an additional 24 hours. Sand the finished repair with fine-grit closed-coat sandpaper for a smooth finish.

Patching a Large Gash

Repairing a large gash isn’t difficult either, but it’s a little more involved than other repairs. You’ll need to cut away the damaged section of drywall between the studs, and create a support for the patch with nailing strips.

For this you will need a drywall saw, 1-inch by 3-inch nailing strips that are approximately ½ inch longer than the height of the opening, a stud finder, an electric drill, 1 ¼-inch wood screws, drywall compound, a 10-inch drywall knife, drywall tape, and fine-grit closed-coat sandpaper.

Begin by locating the studs on both sides of the gash, and mark the location of the studs with a pencil. Cut out a rectangular section of the damaged area with a drywall saw. Cut out the drywall from one stud to another, and trace the cutout on a new piece of drywall. The patch should be about one-eighth of an inch smaller in diameter than the original piece, so keep this in mind when cutting it out.

The next step is to attach the nailing strips to the inner sides of the exposed studs. Start by drilling pilot holes, and attach the strips with at least four, 1 ¼-inch wood screws. After the nailing strips are securely attached to the studs, attach the drywall patch to the nailing strips with drywall screws. Try to recall where the screws are located in the nailing strips so they don’t get in the way of the drywall screws.

Lastly, fill in the seams with drywall compound, and smooth them with a 10-inch drywall knife. Cover the filled seams with drywall tape, and apply an even layer of compound over the taped areas. Let the compound dry for at least 24 hours. If cracks appear, reapply the compound, and allow it to dry for an additional 24 hours. Finish by sanding the repaired areas with fine-grit closed-coat sandpaper.

Repairing Cracks

A fine crack is easy to repair. Simply sand or pare away any raised areas with sandpaper or a utility knife, thoroughly dust the area, and fill in the crack with drywall compound. Level surface of the compound, and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. Finish the repair by sanding it with fine-grit closed-coat sandpaper.

Wider cracks require a little more work. Clean out a wider crack with the edge of utility knife, and brush away any dust or debris with a soft bristle brush before filling it in with drywall compound.

Before the compound dries, place a piece of drywall tape over the crack. If necessary, apply more than one piece of tape so it extends beyond the width of the crack by a few inches on both sides. Apply an even layer of drywall compound over the tape, and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. If cracks appear, cover it with more compound, and let it dry for another 24 hours. Once the compound is dry, sand it smooth before priming and repainting for a beautiful smooth finish.

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