How do I Repair Drywall?

Malcolm Tatum

Drywall for walls and ceilings is a popular option among many homeowners. Relatively easy to install and maintain, drywall can last for years if properly maintained. However, there are sometimes issues with holes or mildew that may require some attention in order to restore the finished look of drywall. Here are some tips on how to repair drywall as well as examples of different drywall issues.

A drywall installer applies a finish coating to a wall after repairing it.
A drywall installer applies a finish coating to a wall after repairing it.

One of the most common maintenance problems with drywall is patching holes. When the hole is small, as in the case of a nail hole created to hang a picture, it takes very little effort to repair drywall. Tiny holes of this type can easily be patched using white toothpaste. A small amount is needed to patch the hole. As a bonus, the toothpaste will dry quickly and be painted over to match the rest of the wall. This quick wall repair can be achieved in minutes and costs very little.

Drywall is available in many sizes.
Drywall is available in many sizes.

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When repairing a hole in drywall that is somewhat larger, it is usually necessary to make use of a joint compound to create an effective patch. Sometimes referred to as mud, the compound can be used to fill the hole and blend in with the surrounding section of drywall. It is usually a good idea to spray a small amount of water on the area that needs repair. This will help the mud to adhere properly to the surrounding drywall as well as make it easier to buff the patch to blend in with the contours of the wall. Once the mud is dry, lightly sanding the area will take care of any slight imperfections and pave the way for painting over the patched area. While it may take longer to repair drywall jobs of this type than simply masking a nail hole, the job usually can still be accomplished in a short period of time.

When larger sections must be replaced, as in the case of mold or mildew, it takes a little more effort to repair drywall. Here, the section must be carefully cut out of the wall proper. A new section is cut to fill in the space and is set by applying a small amount of mud around the edges of the section.

To effectively mask the seams, it is not unusual to use a combination of drywall tape and compound. The tape is applied directly over the seam, while the compound is then used to hide the edges of the tape. After allowing the compound to dry in place, sand the area to make it uniform with the rest of the wall. Once the area is painted, it is often impossible to tell where the new section was installed.

Fixing drywall issues is not hard to do. In fact it is often possible to repair drywall in a matter of minutes. Even the more involved projects can be handled in the course of an afternoon. In most cases, drywall repair requires nothing more than some compound, a little drywall tape, a putty knife and some patience.

Spackling compound is often used to fill cracks or holes in drywall.
Spackling compound is often used to fill cracks or holes in drywall.

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