The Best Way to Repair Drywall


Drywall is very forgiving when you have to make repairs, and you can correct many defects with nothing more than joint compound (mud) and tape. You can repair larger holes with patches of new drywall, as long as you cut away to the studs so that you have a surface on which to screw it. Holes that are in between large and small can be patched with a setting-type patching plaster and covered over with tape and mud. You can even use spray foam insulation to fill some holes.

Things You'll Need

  • Drywall joint compound (mud)
  • Drywall blade
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Patching compound
  • Drywall tape
  • Canned spray foam insulation
  • Utility knife
  • Drywall saw
  • Screw gun
  • Drywall screws

Patching Holes

  • Patch small holes and chips in drywall by spreading on a coat of mud with a drywall blade and scraping it with a blade. Let the mud dry overnight, and spread a second coat, then sand it lightly with medium-grit sandpaper when it dries and touch up the repair with wall primer and then paint.

  • Patch larger holes, such as those made by a doorknob, by first filling them with patching compound. Mix the compound with water, let it stiffen a little, then spread it into the hole. Wait until it sets completely, then cover the hole with self-adhesive fiberglass drywall tape and top-coat the tape with two or three coats of mud, feathering the final coat into the wall to blend the repair.

  • Use spray foam insulation as an alternative to patching compound. Spray the foam directly into the hole and let it expand to fill it. Cut it flush to the wall with a utility knife when it sets, then patch the repair with tape and mud.

Replacing a Section of Drywall

  • Cut out the damaged section with a drywall saw, and cut back to the studs on either side. Use a utility knife to trim the edges of the hole so that one-half of the edge of the stud is exposed on either side.

  • Measure and cut a piece of drywall to fit in the hole, and screw it to the faces of all studs that are exposed. Sink the heads of the screws far enough to make a depression in the paper without ripping it.

  • Spread mud around the edges of the repair with a drywall blade, then moisten some paper tape and lay it on top. Scrape the tape flat with a blade and remove excess mud, then let the repair dry overnight.

  • Top-coat with two more layers of mud, spreading it on with a blade and scraping it flat to the wall, creating a continuous surface that hides the repair.

  • Sand the repair lightly with medium-grit sandpaper before painting on primer and touch-up paint.

Tips & Warnings

  • Repair drywall corners by re-attaching lifted corner beading to the wall with screws and then top-coating with two or three layers of mud.
  • Repair bubbles in drywall tape by cutting out the bubbles with a knife and then laying on fresh mud.

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  • Photo Credit Plasterer making good hole in studwork wall image by Bryan Clark from
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