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Drywall Repair Services

Dents, Cracks and Holes can be Covered Drywall Repair Services

Avoid the need for Drywall Repairs by having the initial installation done properly.

The Most Common Mistakes are:

  1. Neglecting to make provisions for insulation, ventilation, moisture control and wiring prior to the installation of drywall.
  2. Neglecting to install nail guards where wires or pipes run within the studs nails or screws will not penetrate.
  3. Placing seams at door corners.
  4. Contaminating the compound with debris or dried chips of compound.
  5. Not getting nailing pattern inspected (check local code before covering nails with compound and tape.
  6. Not having insulation and utilities inspected (check local code) before covering with drywall.
  7. Not sanding between layers of drywall compound.
  8. Driving nails too deep so that they break the paper on the panels.
  9. Not using drywall nails.
  10. Not sanding the final coat of compound to a smooth finish.
  11. Not butting two panels of drywall at the beveled factory edge.
  12. Dinging or damaging the edges of the panels.
  13. Not completely covering the tape with compound.
  14. Not applying the ceiling drywall before applying the drywall on the walls.
  15. Not butting sheets at a stud or rafter.
  16. Applying the drywall sheets with the wrong side exposed.
  17. Creating more seams than is absolutely necessary (i.e. using small scraps).

An Ounce or Two of Cure to Repairing Problems

It is almost inevitable that you will need to patch or repair drywall somewhere in your house at some time.
Your walls are subjected to moving furniture, children rough-housing or even boisterous party guests. Additional occurrences, such as your house settling, can cause cracks, nail heads to pop up and taped joints to loosen.

The good news is drywall is easily repaired with virtually no evidence of the damage. If you have plaster walls, many of the techniques listed here can be used to repair plaster cracks and holes as well. If you have textured walls, you will first need to follow the procedures below to repair the wall. Then you can use texturing techniques to match the existing wall surface.

Drywall repair falls into 4 categories

  1. Nail Heads
  2. Cracks and loose tape joints
  3. Small Holes
  4. Large Holes

The materials and tools that are needed will vary depending upon the repair you are tackling. You will need to hire a professional for major damage.

Do It Yourself

Small nail holes or shallow dents can be repaired easily yourself with a little bit of patching compound and a putty or taping knife. Let the compound dry, sand over it, then prime and paint.

Nail head repairs are needed when nails work themselves loose or pop out of your drywall surface. One way to fix this is first re-sink the nail into the drywall. Then drive a new screw in next to the nail to hold the drywall into the framing. Apply compound over both fastener heads. When they dry, you can sand and prime over them.

Still, pounding them back into place usually does not prevent the problem from recurring. Using drywall screws and a screw gun, insert new screws into the drywall a few inches above or below the loose nail head (slightly sink the screw head below the surface). This will firmly refasten the sheet of drywall to the studs behind it. Then you can tap in the loose nail or remove it altogether. Once the drywall is secured in place beside the new screws, fill the screw head holes and nail holes with the small hole procedure described below.

Cracks and loose tape joints are repaired similarly. In both cases you should use mesh tape to cover the crack or joint. This will reinforce the drywall compound and decrease the likelihood of the problem recurring. Before applying the mesh tape to a loose tape joint, use a utility knife to carve out the loose material. Create a slight indentation in the work area to allow the new mesh tape and drywall compound to finish flush with the existing wall.
After you have applied mesh tape over the crack or joint, apply drywall compound. Use several light coats to cover the mesh tape. Build up a smooth, flush surface, allowing each coat to dry completely. Sand the final coat.

When drywall tape breaks loose with a little bubble, it is because there was not enough compound under the tape when it was first put on. If you can, lift the paper a little with a spatula and then simply slide in some fresh drywall compound to glue it back down. In some cases white glue might work, with a little masking tape to hold it in place until it dries.

Possible Do It Yourself

Small hole repairs are for holes left behind by picture frame hangers and minor gouges and scrapes in the drywall surface. Generally these repairs are accomplished with 1 or 2 coats of drywall compound applied with a putty knife. Before applying the drywall compound, use a sharp utility knife to shave away any protruding paper edges from the drywall surface. You will want to create a slight indentation so that your drywall compound will dry flush with the wall surface.

Apply the first coat of drywall compound no more than 1/8 inch thick. Allow it to dry completely. Once dried, scrape the surface smooth using a wide putty knife and apply a second coat. Repeat the process until you have built up the compound slightly higher than the wall surface. Lightly sand to smooth out the patch and blend it in with surrounding wall.

For Slightly Larger Holes

Use a keyhole saw and utility knife to cut out the damaged portion and clean out broken pieces around the edges of the hole.
Remove a strip of the paper 1/2 to 1 inch wide surrounding the perimeter of the hole. Then cut a new piece of drywall that is slightly larger than the hole. Carve away the gypsum on the back side of the patch until it fits the hole opening but leaves the paper on the outside of the patch intact. This is called a “hat patch”.
Apply compound to the inside and outside edges of the hole and fit the paper “brim” of the hat patch right over the bare gypsum. Now all you have to do is mud over the hat patch and allow it to dry. With a knife blade, scrape off any dried chips. Lightly sand the patch then apply another layer of mud. When this layer is dry, scrape it, sand it lightly then apply a final thinned down coat of the spackling.
Remember to sand once again prior to painting or wallpapering. Bare spackling on any wall repairs should always be covered with primer before paint or wallpaper.

Unless You are a Home Repair Whiz, You Will Need Some Help

Large hole repairs generally require some sort of backing or support before drywall compound is applied. A mesh repair patch adhered over the hole can repair holes up to 3 inches in diameter. Patching a large hole in drywall is part having the right products to work with, part having the right tools, and part technique.

General Rules

Rule one is that hard plasters, like Polyfiller and Durabond 90 and others, are good to use to fill large cracks, but should never be brought right up to the finished surface because they are so difficult to sand. Once the patch is in place and the worst is filled in with either setting plasters or a piece of drywall, the rest of the work is done with joint compound because it is the best for a smooth sanded finish.
Always tape joints, or they will crack later. One important detail is to trim off all edges that want to come forward into the joint compound.
Always let joint compound dry completely before continuing, or it will shrink more than you expect. It may be dry on the surface, but if it is cooler than the drywall around it, it is still evaporating off water. Wait until the temperature of the patch is the same as the wall next to it before moving on to the next coat.
The final finish on a patch may reach as much as two feet away from the original hole. The inexpensive trowel to do this is simply a straight piece of 1×3 wood with a slightly rounded and well-sanded edge. A coat of hard car wax on the 1×3 will keep compound from sticking.

There are a few ways to build a new backing. One way is to take a piece of cardboard, slightly larger than the hole, and tie a string through the middle of it.
Insert the cardboard into the hole and pull the string tight. Then while holding it tight, apply a first coat of patching compound to fill the hole.
Once it’s dry, cut the string and apply a second coat. To help strengthen the patch you can apply some fiberglass tape to the seams and then tape over that. Feather out the compound around the hole with a wide knife. Let it dry and sand it smooth.
You could also use plywood strips as the backer, cutting them longer than the hole, but narrow enough to go through the hole.
Secure by putting screws into them through the drywall and use enough to provide backing for the entire hole. Then finish the patch.
Using mesh tape, cover the seams between the new piece and the existing wall. Using several light coats of drywall compound, cover the mesh tape and fill in the screw holes. Build up a smooth, flush surface, allowing each coat to dry completely.

The traditional technique of patching a large hole is to slide wood, or even drywall strips into the wall and screw them into place, permitting you to place a piece of drywall over them and screw it down flush with the wall. Then of course you have to tape and plaster the crack all around.
However you can use window screen and spray on adhesive. Then you can simply use regular drywall compound. It flows slightly through the screen to get a really good hold. Manufacturers now make large patches like this with the adhesive already on the back. They even make perforated metal plates to give you strength on this job. With this technique the joint has tape over it as part of the patch.

Probably the best and quickest of the patches is to use drywall frogs. They are called frogs because they appear to have two little legs that stick out in the front. These sturdy pieces of metal mesh clip right onto the edge of the hole. A screw is driven through and easily penetrates and grabs the frog, making a solid support behind the drywall. Place your patch of drywall and screw it into place. Then bend off those frog legs: they break off below the surface of the drywall. Nothing is in the front but you have great strength bridging the joint between the wall and the patch. These are very useful to prevent sagging when you butt two pieces of drywall together on the ceiling.


Once all of your repairs are completed, you are ready to paint. Use a primer paint to seal the exposed drywall compound. After that, paint the repaired area with paint that matches the rest of the room.

This paper is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein constitutes legal, financial or other professional advice. Transmission of these materials is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any relationship of any kind between the provider and the recipient. Some of these points may not apply in your area. Different term and conditions may vary from state to state and province to province. All articles, text and photographic material presented here is for the use and pleasure of the recipient only. Download PDF

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