Gilles' Outlet

April 11, 2010

Patching Holes in Drywall

Filed under: Drywall — Gilles @ 4:19 am

Holes in drywall are patched with joint compound.


Skill Level: 1~2 (Very Basic ~ Basic)

Time Taken: About 1 hour

Most people like to hang items on walls. This typically requires to drill holes in drywall. When items are removed, those holes need to be patched. This article describes how such holes can be concealed using only basic tools and inexpensive joint compound. This article also shows how a good repair looks like from the inside of the wall.

While the actual repair time did not exceed an hour, it was spread over a few days because the joint compound needs to be perfectly dry between coats.

Left: The starting point of this project: there used to be a magazine holder at this location. When the previous owner removed it, he/she could not be bothered patching the hole or removing anchors.


Right: One of the anchors seen from the back of the wall. This wall had to be opened during a remodel. We will be able to see the repair from the inside of the wall.

Left: I used a pair of pliers to remove the anchors. I pulled slowly and to tried not to make more damage than necessary. I made sure to remove the entire anchor.


Right: Anchors are gone, but they left two fairly large holes. These are the holes we will be patching.

Left: One of the holes, seen from inside of the wall. It is fairly deep.


Right: I removed all loose material and cut the drywall paper flush with a putty knife.

It is very important that all loose material be removed and that the repair is flush with the wall. Otherwise, the repair will appear obvious.

Left: Using a stiff 2’’ putty knife, I applied all purpose joint compound. I made sure to press the compound into both holes.


Right: A view of the area after joint compound was applied. I overfilled on purpose: joint compound has a tendency to shrink as it dries. The excess can be removed after it has dried.

Left: From the inside of the wall, we can see that the compound has been forced into the hole and filled it completely. This is required for a long lasting repair.


Right: I let the compound dry for about 8 hours. Using a slightly wet sponge, I sponge sanded the area in order to remove the overfill. This allowed me to remove most of the excess compound without making any dust. Also, since the wall is textured, the sponge will not damage the surrounding area.

It is also possible to use sand paper to remove the excess. In this case, be sure to use a dust mask: joint compound dust is bad for lungs.

Left: Large holes require multiple coats of joint compound. After another sponge sanding, I applied another coat, still overfilling.


Right: The compound was allowed to dry, and was sponge sanded one more time.

Left: Details of the repair after two coats: the hole is mostly filled and flush with the surrounding area but there is still a little dimple at the center of the hole.


Right: I applied one last coat of joint compound, again, overfilling the area.

Left: The compound was allowed to dry, and was sponge sanded one last time. At this point, the hole was entirely filled and the repair flush with the wall.

The wall is textured so I used texture spray can to touch up the area. See “Repairing Orange Peel Wall texture”. 

Right: The finished repair, after a coat of paint. It is almost impossible to know that repairs were made.

Tools Used:

  • 2’’ stiff putty knife.
  • Pliers.
  • Sponge
  • Water Bucket (4 qts).

Materials Used:

  • All purpose joint compound.
  • Water.


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