Drywall repair requires special tools and techniques, and you may be able to tackle this task on your own, depending on the size of the hole. Bigger holes are trickier to patch, but this guide will walk you through the process.

You have to start by assessing the size of the hole, as this will determine what method of repair you’ll use. In most cases, you will need a putty knife, carpenter knife, 120-grit sandpaper, drywall saw, broad knife, dust mask, drill, drywall tape, pre-mixed joint compound, trowel and dust mask. You may also need drywall tape, drywall screws, spackle and furring strips.

How to Patch Small Holes

Anything smaller than a nickel is easy to fix, and you will need to use your spackle or joint compound to fill the hole. Start by cleaning the hole by removing any loose drywall debris, and use a carpenter’s knife to put a bevelled edge around the circumference of the hole if it is larger than a dime. Use a damp rag to wipe off any dust, and use your putty knife to fill the hole with spackle or joint compound. 

Next, smear the filler to make it flush with the wall and allow the filler to air dry. Lightly sand the area with sandpaper and apply a second coat, then sand it once dry. Lastly, prime and paint over the filled hole. 

How to Patch Medium and Large-sized Holes

This process requires finesse because you will need to feather the joint compound into the rest of the wall, and if it is not done correctly, you may see a slight bulge in your wall. Take your time and start by sanding and cleaning the area around the hole where the patch will contact the wall. Apply the adhesive side of the patch to the wall and cover it with a joint compound. When applying the compound, use a crisscross pattern with your putty knife and apply enough compound to cover the patch and have enough to feather. Lightly sand, apply another coat once dry, and sand the second coat with sandpaper. Feather the edges to blend the repair into the wall, then prime and paint. 

Drywall Repair Tips

  • Applying a third layer of joint compound will help you achieve a smoother look. 
  • Spread the joint compound over an area much wider than the patch to feather the material. 
  • Always wear a mask when sanding the joint compound and capture the dust with a vacuum.
  • Use a can of wall texture spray before you paint if you are repairing textured drywall. 
  • If you find yourself in a pinch, use a heavy-duty paint stirring stick instead of a furring strip. 
  • Do not skip the priming step because the joint compound cannot be painted on top of it. Certain spackles may already have primer, but these are best for small holes only. 


Prefer to leave this job to the professionals? APL Restoration can help with all of your drywall repair needs. Our emergency restoration company specializes in many services, including flooring installation, fire damage restoration, water damage restoration and drywall repair. We have been helping the Vancouver community for many years, and you can contact us at any time to learn more about our services.