Patch a Drywall Hole in 4 Simple Steps

Lydia Schapiro
Written by Lydia Schapiro
Updated October 8, 2021
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For most drywall holes, you can do the repair work yourself in just a couple of hours

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Drywall is one of the most common home materials used to cover the walls and ceilings. It’s beloved by homeowners and pros alike because it’s inexpensive and easy to install. Unfortunately, you can easily damage your drywall with just a flick of the door. In fact, frequently, drywall holes develop after a doorknob hits the drywall. 

So you’ve just found your first drywall hole. Luckily, you can repair almost any small to medium-sized drywall holes or dents DIY style.

Difficulty: 4/5

Time: 1.5–2 hours

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Putty knife

  • Utility knife

  • Screwdriver

  • Hammer

  • Spackle

  • Sanding sponge

  • Drywall saw

  • Drywall screws

  • Drill

  • Joint tape 

How to Patch a Small Drywall Hole

Typically, drywall holes considered small are only a few inches in diameter. The necessary repair work is simple and can definitely be a DIY project.

1. Prep the Area

First, check the space for obstructions such as wires, pipes, or ducts—if you find any, proceed with caution, especially with wires. Be sure to work around them and call a local drywall professional if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.

Use a putty knife to clear away any debris around or on top of the hole in your drywall. Next, cut any loose or frayed bits of paper away with a utility knife. Take the rounded part of your screwdriver or use your ball peen hammer to press into the hole and make a slight indentation. This step will create a slight depression for the spackle to fill in later.

2. Cut Out a Drywall Hole

Use your utility knife to cut off the exposed plastic collar of the drywall anchor, which is between the screw and drywall. Take your screwdriver and place it on top of the anchor, and then use your hammer to tap down the rest of the anchor into the wall a bit further. 

Check for any type of obstruction such as wire, pipe, or duct, making sure you work around it. Make sure to avoid pulling out wall anchors, which will result in drywall shredding or a potentially bigger hole.

3. Fill the Drywall Hole With Spackle

Take around a tablespoon of spackle and spread it across the hole until it’s evenly spread. 

Note: Make sure not to scrape the surrounding wall clean since the spackle will shrink as it dries. Try to leave roughly an eighth of an inch of spackle on the surface of the repair area. Let the hole dry for an hour or so.

4. Sand the Area Until Smooth

Sand the dried spackle with your sanding sponge in a circular motion until it is smooth and blended into the surrounding wall. If you’re patching up multiple holes, consider wearing a dust mask to avoid incidents such as inhaling particles. Protective eyewear will also reduce the chance of any dust flying into your eyes. 

Finally, paint over the area with the paint used for the surrounding area. Try using strokes that are all in the same direction to avoid a splotchy-looking paint job.

How to Patch a Large Drywall Hole

Close-up of a man repairing a drywall
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If you’re dealing with a larger drywall hole (larger than 4 inches), you’ll likely have to patch up the area with a new piece of drywall and wood supports. Fortunately, most home improvement stores sell these scraps so that you won’t have to buy a whole sheet (which you probably won’t use). Typically, the cost of one drywall sheet is around $15.

1. Cut Your Drywall Scrap

Whether you end up buying a sheet or scrap of drywall, you’ll cut it into a square that is just slightly larger than the hole.  

Note: Make sure to buy drywall with the same thickness as the existing material.

2. Prep the Drywall Hole

Sand the edges of the hole until it’s smooth and flat, then place the drywall square over the hole. Using a pencil or pen, trace the outline of the square, which will make the next step easier.

3. Cut Around the Hole

Using a drywall saw, cut along the outline that you just drew.

Note: Check for wiring or plumbing before you start sawing and ensure that you don’t see any obstruction, such as wiring. If you do, move any hindrances to the side so you’ll be working on a flat surface.

4. Attach Furring Strips

Use your drill and drywall screws to secure two pieces of wood—called furring strips—to the hole. Attach one at the top and one at the bottom of the hole.

5. Apply Spackle Over the Drywall Hole

Apply spackle over the patch, leaving a bit on the surrounding wall, and then sand until smooth and flat. The last step is to paint the patched hole the same color as the surrounding wall, and your wall should look good as new.

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional to Repair Drywall

In most cases, if you have the proper drywall-repair tools, you can fix a small drywall hole or dent yourself. However, if the damage is substantial, then you might consider hiring a drywall contractor.

If you are an expert and have done your research, you should be able to patch up large holes, but if you lack expertise, it’s a good idea to contact your local drywall contractor. Drywall will need additional backing support for big holes, which involves a more complex process.

A DIY drywall patch project typically costs up to roughly $45, which just amounts to the necessary materials. If you decide to hire a professional, they typically charge around $60 per hour on average. Overall, the cost to hire a professional drywall contractor is roughly between $292 and $854, which varies based on the extent of the damage and any additional labor requests. 

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