Drywall Repair: How to Repair Drywall

No matter how big or small it is, a hole in the wall is an unsightly blemish that won’t go away by itself. Watch this video to learn how to fix everything from small nail pops, to large gaping holes in drywall.



  1. How to Repair Drywall - Step 1

    Clean hole with blade knife. Cut at an angle so the exterior of the hole is bigger than the interior.

  2. How to Repair Drywall - Step 2

    Fill the hole with painter’s putty. Make it level with the wall surface.

  3. How to Repair Drywall - Step 3

    Let it dry. Once dry, lightly sand the area until smooth.

  4. How to Repair Drywall - Step 4

    Spackle over the putty. You may need to repeat this step.

  5. How to Repair Drywall - Step 5

    For medium holes, use a drywall metal patch.

  6. How to Repair Drywall - Step 6

    Sand the surface smooth around the hole.

  7. How to Repair Drywall - Step 7

    Wipe off dust.

  8. How to Repair Drywall - Step 8

    Peel paper backing off the patch. Firmly press patch in place with mesh facing outward.

  9. How to Repair Drywall - Step 9

    Spread drywall compound over the patch, feathering out the edges. Smooth out and let dry.

  10. How to Repair Drywall - Step 10

    Gently sand surface until smooth with the wall. Repeat step 9 and 10 until the patch can no longer be detected.

  11. How to Repair Drywall - Step 11

    Larger holes need patches made of drywall. Make sure it is the same thickness as the drywall already present.

  12. How to Repair Drywall - Step 12

    Cut a square of drywall slightly larger than the hole. Score one side with a blade knife and snap it apart. Cut the back of the break line.

  13. How to Repair Drywall - Step 13

    Draw an outline of the patch around the hole using a pencil.

  14. How to Repair Drywall - Step 14

    Check for electrical cords and plumbing lines where you plan the cut.

  15. How to Repair Drywall - Step 15

    Use a drywall saw to cut out the drawn area.

  16. How to Repair Drywall - Step 16

    Screw in two wooden boards behind the drywall, one at the top and one at the bottom of the hole. This will keep the patch from falling through.

  17. How to Repair Drywall - Step 17

    Screw the drywall patch to the wooden boards.

  18. How to Repair Drywall - Step 18

    Spread drywall compound and add mesh.

  19. How to Repair Drywall - Step 19

    Sand area and repeat steps 18 and 19 until the patch is undetectable.

  20. How to Repair Drywall - Step 20

    Paint over once it’s dry.

Read Video Transcript

Repairing a hole in your drywall may seem like a challenge if you’ve never done it before. But it’s not that difficult if you have the right tools and materials, as well as knowledge of the proper techniques. And the best place to find everything you need for your project, as well as the necessary know-how, is at your local independent home improvement retailer.

Today, I’m going to show you how to fix holes in your wall, whether they are small, medium or large in size. First, we’ll show you how to assess the situation and determine what type of patch you’ll need. Then we’ll teach you the proper techniques to make it look like nothing ever happened in the first place. So let’s get started.

To fix a hole in your wall generally requires some type of patch to cover the hole, whether it is a metal patch like the one I’m holding here, or another piece of drywall like this. In addition to the patch, you need drywall patching compound to smooth out the patch and a putty knife to spread the drywall compound over the patch. Be sure to check out the Tools and Materials Checklist for everything you’ll need. You may also want to pull up our list of Frequently Asked Questions for this project before you get started.

The most common type of drywall repair actually doesn’t require a patch. It involves fixing a small hole. For this type of repair, you first need to clean out the hole with a blade knife, angling your cut to make the front of the hole larger than the back. This will give the compound more surface to adhere to.

Next, fill the hole with drywall compound or painter’s putty using a putty knife to smooth it out, and make it level with the wall surface. Let it dry and sand it smooth. In this step we’re using a lightweight spackling that goes on pink and turns white when it’s dry, which lets you know it’s ready for sanding. Whether you’re using drywall compound, spackling or painters’ putty, they all have a tendency to shrink as they dry, so you will need to repeat the process several times before the hole is properly filled.

The easiest way to repair a medium-size hole in drywall is to use an adhesive-backed metal patch. These come in various sizes depending on the size of the hole you’re trying to fix. To start this repair, first sand the surface smooth around the hole so the adhesive mesh will easily stick to the surface of the wall. After you’re finished sanding, wipe off any dust.

Next, peel the paper backing off the back of the patch and place it over the hole so that the mesh surface faces outward. Firmly press the patch in place around the edges of the hole.

Using a putty knife, spread drywall compound over the entire patch, feathering out the edges beyond the patch onto the wall. Allow the compound to dry and sand it smooth. Then repeat the process, each time spreading it a little further out from the edges of the patch.

Smoothing out the edges of the drywall compound flush with the surface of the wall is called feathering. The wider you feather out the edges from the edge of the patch, the smoother the end result will be.

Keep in mind that to get a smooth finish, it takes repeating the process two or maybe even three times, letting it dry and sanding it smooth between each step. The key is to be patient. You don’t want to apply too much compound, or sand too much away, in any one step. The patching process is complete when you have a smooth finish, and when the patch can’t be detected.

Larger holes in a wall require a patch made of drywall, which is also commonly referred to as wall board or gypsum board. The key to this type of repair is to make sure your drywall patch is the same thickness as the drywall used in your wall. The drywall in most homes is ½-inch thick. But double check the thickness of your existing drywall before heading to your local independent home improvement retailer. This is one time when it’s handy to have a hole in the wall.

Now it’s time to cut a patch. First, cut a piece of drywall that is slightly larger than the hole you are trying to repair. Even a piece of scrap drywall will work, as long as it has straight edges. To cut the drywall, you can either cut it with the drywall saw or use a blade knife to score and snap it, scoring the front using the blade knife and a straight edge, then snapping it in two pieces. You’ll also need to score the back along the snap line.

Next, place the drywall patch over the hole in the wall and trace the shape on the wall with a pencil. Be sure to check for any electrical wires or plumbing lines that might be located behind the wall where you will be cutting. If there are no electrical or plumbing lines present, use a drywall saw to punch a hole through the drywall along your line. Then cut out the shape you traced. If electrical wires or plumbing lines are present, you may want to call an electrician or a plumber as a precautionary measure.

The trick to this repair is screwing wooden cleats, like these, inside the hole along the edges. They need to be longer than the width of the hole. Place some construction adhesive on the ends of the cleats before screwing them to the hole using drywall screws. Be careful that the screws don’t break the paper surface of the drywall. You only want the screw to dimple the drywall like you see here.

Now, screw your drywall patch to the wooden cleats, again being careful not to break the drywall’s paper coating.

Apply a thin layer of drywall compound to the seams and cover with mesh tape, bedding the tape in the drywall compound. Then apply some more drywall compound to completely cover the tape. Let it dry, then apply more drywall compound, feathering the edges as you go. Like we did for the patches we discussed earlier, it will take several coats, as well as a light sanding, between each coat. This is how to achieve a smooth finish that is virtually undetectable.

All you have to do now is prime the patch using a drywall primer then paint the patch to match the existing wall color. If you don’t have paint to match, be sure to watch our video on selecting the right type of paint. There you have it. That’s how to make an unsightly hole in your wall disappear before your very eyes.

If you have questions about this or any other home improvement project, be sure to read our list of Frequently Asked Questions for this video. And be sure to print out our Project Instructions, which includes a Tools and Materials checklist, before visiting your local independent home improvement retailer. That’s where you’ll find all the products and helpful advice to complete your project. If you’re not sure where to find your local store, check out our Store Locator.

Good luck with your project and thanks for watching.

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93 responses to “Drywall Repair: How to Repair Drywall”

  1. jane says:

    I am a parent of 4 teens. I see no problem in the kid patching it up without telling the parents. I mean, the kid is trying to make his wrong right. Totally give props to the kid. I know this is late but if another kid comes along; do the temporary hide with paper, do some chores for money either with a neighbor, family member etc.. and then repair it properly. This is a good learning experience.

  2. Nice article, I like the clear step-by-step instructions with pictures.

  3. Andrew Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing your article.. If you need help with drywall repair in your home visit http://www.roswelltruehandyman.com/

  4. Joshua dimter says:

    Need exact supplies I need please if you can email so I can pick them up for next weekend so I can get the job done thank you

  5. Tracy Graham says:

    can I use paper tape or doesn’t work as well

  6. Great article. We recently started a drywall repair business and came across this article. Really appreciate you taking the time to educate us on this. I would have never thought to draw an outline of the patch but it makes perfect sense. For it will fit much tighter and therefore look better. Drywall repair by no means is an exciting topic to write about but you did an excellent job by incorporating a video and keeping it entertaining and not boring.Thanks a ton.

  7. Beth says:

    This might have already been answered, but I don’t have time to read through all the comments. What is considered small, medium, and large holes? Could you give an approximate measurement for both?

  8. This will definitely ease the fear of making mistakes on drywall for homeowners 😉

  9. luna stargazer says:


  10. Elijah says:

    This article really helped me understand the process of patching holes in drywall. It was extremely informative. After trying my hand a mudding and finishing the patch I became a little overwhelmed. I must say that mudding is something I plan to leave to the professionals. These are the best local contractors I found that are skilled and knowledgeable. https://www.drywallrepaircoloradosprings.com/

  11. Ryan Hill says:

    The pictures on here are awesome! That’s a clever little trick for the medium hole to attach extra wood pieces inside the hole to keep the patch in place. I’ve never seen that method. Do you have any rough guidelines that you use for knowing the difference between a “medium hole” and a “large hole”? Or is it just a gut feeling? Thanks!

  12. Larry Powell says:

    This is a great run down on how to correctly do a drywall repair, I especially liked how you recommend checking for electrical and plumbing prior to cutting, I made that mistake before and it turned a simple repair into a much bigger job.

  13. We recently just incorporated drywall repair into our business. Really appreciate you taking the time to write this article. It was very helpful! Thanks a ton.

  14. DDD says:

    Anything smaller than 1″ just fiberglass tape the hole and mud it…1″-6″ i would use a piece of drywall for the patch and anything 6″ or bigger use the drywall metal backing patches. I’m not sure if it’s what the pros do but that what I was taught and has worked great everytime I need to patch a hole.

  15. George says:

    This is a GREAT site. We have just begun our Drywall Repair Company here in the DC area: https://www.fairfaxvadrywallrepair.com/ Thank you for the quick repair tips.

  16. Tom says:

    Your article with photos were very helpful for me to repair holes in our old home.
    Thank you

  17. Dusting says:

    Very thorough walkthrough! Thanks for sharing!
    -Dustin at San Jose Drywall Repair

  18. Tim says:

    Great article, liked the step by step process you guys laid out. May even use these tips to give homeowners something to read to understand the process. Thanks!

    Drywall Pros Lexington

  19. Jay Key says:

    This tutorial is so easy to follow and thank goodness for that because I just knocked a chair into our wall and it made a bit of a sore. Oops. Thank you for taking the time to share this DIY with us!
    Jay | Springs Bonita Outdoor Indoor Pool Service

  20. window washing in overland park says:

    Have a nice day!

    Overland Park Window Washing

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