How to Repair Drywall

How To - DIY - Drywall Repair - Apply Mesh Tape How To - DIY - Drywall Repair - Apply Joint Compound How To - DIY - Drywall Repair - Apply Joint Compound 2nd Layer


While drywall is known to be a fairly resilient surface, it is not uncommon to need to patch a hole from time to time. Perhaps you moved a wall hook from where a picture once hung or you accidently bumped the wall when moving in a new appliance. It’s a simple fix. Whether the holes are large or small, these patches are an easy, smooth repair that will have you wondering where the holes were when you're finished.


1. prepare the surface


Make sure the surface to be repaired is clean and smooth and trim away any frayed drywall edges from the hole. Start smoothing the surface by sanding with 100 grit sandpaper, 120 grit drywall sanding screen, or a medium grit sanding sponge. We recommend using an extra large sanding sponge. Oversized sponges are made for ease of sanding large drywall surfaces. Remember, any imperfection not addressed before the patching and painting process will be very visible after!


2. safety considerations


Since the process of sanding involves the removal of material, it creates airborne dust. We recommend wearing safety glasses, work gloves, and an approved dust mask.


3. apply mesh reinforcement tape


When it comes to minor drywall repairs, few products are more versatile and easier to use than adhesive-backed mesh reinforcement tape. 


To start, cut a piece of the tape and apply over the hole so the mesh extends beyond the hole by 1 inch around the entire circumference of the hole. Apply a second layer of mesh tape at a 45° angle to the first layer of tape and press firmly.


4. apply joint compound


Apply a smooth layer of joint compound using a drywall knife or compound spreader. Hold the knife/spreader at a 45° angle to the surface, pulling the compound over the reinforcement tape. Be sure to spread enough joint compound to adequately cover the mesh reinforcement tape and fill in the void of the hole behind the tape. Taper the joint compound past the edge of the mesh reinforcement by 2-3 inches. Try to leave smooth edges on the outside rim of the joint compound, as it will be easier to sand later.


Let the joint compound dry for 4-8 hours depending on temperature and humidity. To determine if the joint compound is thoroughly dry, run a piece of sandpaper over the joint compound. If the surface balls up and is soft to the touch, it is not ready to be sanded.


5. Sand joint compound


Once the surface is thoroughly dry, carefully sand the surface by hand using an 80 or 100 grit sandpaper, 120 grit sanding screen, or a medium grit sanding sponge.


When hand sanding large flat areas, you may also want to use a rubber sanding block to support the sandpaper to make sure the sanding surface is completely flat. Be careful not to press into the hole but to sand in even strokes across the area to avoid pushing into the damaged area.


6. Apply a second coat of joint compound


Apply a second coat of joint compound in the same fashion as the first coat (see step 4) over the sanded area. This coat should go on smoother than the first coat. Again, wait 4-8 hours for the joint compound to dry.


7. Sand the second coat of joint compound


Once thoroughly dry, use a 100 or 120 grit sandpaper, 150 or 220 grit sand screen, or fine sanding sponge to smooth out the joint compound. Pay special attention to properly sand and smooth the outer edge of the joint compound so that it blends with the existing wall.


8. Clean the surface


Using a clean cloth or microfiber wipe, remove any dust left from sanding. It is important to let the wall dry after cleaning if any amount of water is used; otherwise, you may find that the moisture gets trapped by the paint and causes bubbling or other problems later. Once the surface is clean and dry, you're ready to repaint or recover the original surface to match the rest of the wall.



For more advice on working with drywall and to explore the range of Norton drywall sanding products, visit the paint and drywall page