Drywall Repair: How to Do It Yourself

Drywall Repair Las Vegas is one of the most common and inexpensive repairs a homeowner can do. Even holes the size of a doorknob can be patched by a DIYer with spackle and a putty knife. Drywall Repair

It’s important to fix drywall cracks before they get worse. Depending on the cause, cracks can indicate structural problems or leaks.

Cracks in drywall are more than just cosmetic problems. They can be an indicator of serious structural issues that require professional intervention. If the cracks are accompanied by a noticeable shift in the foundation of the house, they may be a sign of irreparable damage. Fortunately, if the cracks are limited to a small area near doors or windows, they can usually be repaired fairly easily.

When two drywall sheets meet at an outside wall corner, they are protected by an L-shaped metal strip called a corner bead that is nailed to the top of each sheet and covered with several layers of joint compound. The bead is pretty tough, but it’s not indestructible. It can get dented from running a vacuum cleaner or by a child flinging a toy against the wall, and it’s not unusual for hairline cracks to form.

If the crack extends through the seam’s paper tape or has pulled loose from the wall surface, use a utility knife to widen it (Image 1) and scrape away any loose material. Using an electronic stud finder, locate the studs on either side of the crack and remove a section of the drywall that extends past both sides of the crack (Image 2). Cut off any loose or crumbling sections of drywall at the corners of the damaged area to expose bare wood.

Once you’ve removed the cracked drywall, cover the hole with a thin coat of joint compound and smooth it over with a putty knife, working the compound into all edges of the hole. Allow the patch to dry completely before hanging any wallpaper or painting the wall.

The direction of the crack is another important factor. Vertical cracks in drywall are often caused by normal drying and shrinkage, while horizontal or jagged-angled cracks can indicate a more serious problem.

If the cracks are centered on a single stud and run up, down, or diagonally from that point, they’re probably a result of differential settlement. This can happen if the soil underneath your home becomes very wet and soft, causing one side of the foundation to sink deeper than the other. The result is that the drywall will move in response to those stresses, creating cracks at stress points.


Small holes from nails and screws, or dings caused by doorknobs or other hardware, are easy to repair with spackle or joint compound. Larger holes require drywall patches, but even these can be made to look undetectable with the right technique.

Before you start, clean up the hole with a putty knife or rag, making sure the edges are smooth. Also, if the wall is textured, you’ll need to apply the same texture so the patch doesn’t stand out.

If the hole is bigger than a dime, you’ll need a drywall patch kit with an adhesive backing, which you can find at most home improvement stores. Remove the paper backing and stick the patch to the wall, centering it over the hole and pressing evenly around its perimeter. You’ll then need to apply a coat of joint compound, or mud, over the patch and allow it to dry as per the package instructions.

For smaller holes, you can use spackle, a type of drywall finishing product that’s available pre-mixed at many hardware stores or online. It’s best to purchase a tub of the compound rather than using spackle from your own supply, as it won’t dry as quickly and will likely need to be reapplied several times before you get a seamless finish.

If you’re handy, a drywall patch kit can be used for medium to large holes, but you may prefer to do the job yourself. If you’re going the DIY route, the main things you’ll need are a box of drywall patch, a container of pre-mixed joint compound (also known as mud), a paintbrush and a metal putty knife, a square and a pencil, and a roll of sandpaper (you can also buy this at most home improvement stores).

Before you apply the patch, locate the top and bottom edges of the damage with a square or straightedge. Mark at least 1 inch above and below the damaged area, and then carefully cut along these lines with your drywall saw. This will ensure that your patch and the surrounding drywall are securely attached and prevent any future dings or holes from occurring in the same spot.

Damaged Drywall

While drywall is an excellent material that is easy to hang, drill into, finish, and paint, it can still be damaged by normal wear and tear. Some damage can be repaired with spackle or joint compound, a putty knife, and a sanding sponge, while larger holes require a patch kit and mesh drywall tape. Drywall repair is also necessary when there is water damage, which can cause the drywall to sag or even fall apart.

Cracks in drywall are often caused by structural problems in the home, such as lumber shrinkage or settlement, and can become very serious if they continue to grow and spread. Hairline cracks may be a result of seasonal changes or settling in the house and can often be repaired by applying a thin coat of drywall compound and sanding it smooth before repainting. If the crack is large, it is best to have a professional take a look and determine how severe it is and whether it is likely to continue growing.

Many small dents or scratches in drywall are caused by furniture scraping against walls and can be repaired by using a sanding sponge to sand down the area, then applying a small amount of drywall compound and smoothing it. Some dents and scratches may need to be primed before you apply the drywall compound to make sure it blends in well.

Another common problem that requires drywall repair is termite damage. These pests typically get into a home through exposed framing but can eventually chew their way through drywall as well. If you notice signs of termite damage, it is important to call in a reputable exterminator immediately before the situation worsens.

Medium- and large-sized holes in drywall are usually a sign of significant damage that will need to be replaced. To replace the damaged section of drywall, cut a square or rectangle out of a new piece of drywall that is slightly bigger than the hole. Then install furring strips to help the new drywall stay attached and secure it to the existing wall with drywall screws. Once the new drywall is in place, use a piece of mesh drywall tape to reinforce the seams, then apply a final coat of drywall compound and sand it smooth before repainting.

Water Damage

When drywall gets water damaged, it can swell, sink in, or even collapse. If you see this problem, it’s important to get a home inspector or expert to examine the cause of the leak right away. If left unchecked, the damage can spread throughout your house or office.

Water damage to drywall can result from floods, hurricanes, a burst pipe, condensation from an air conditioner, a sink overflow, and more. It can also be caused by problems with your gutters, which may not divert rainwater away from the building. This can lead to standing puddles that can rot or mildew.

Often, the first sign of water damage in drywall is peeling or bubbling paint. This is because the moisture in the wall can stretch the paint on the surface, causing it to bubble and flake.

Other signs of water damage in drywall include discoloration and fading. When the surface layer of drywall absorbs moisture, it can change color and lose its shine. It may also develop a musty smell, which can be a clue that there’s a leak somewhere in the house.

While many porous materials, such as carpet and insulation, can be saved from a bit of water damage, it’s usually necessary to throw out drywall that’s been soaked in water. It will eventually shrink, warp, and sag and can even support mold and mildew growth.

Water-damaged drywall can be difficult to detect. The best thing to do is to use a non-penetrating moisture meter in the area. These inexpensive devices can reveal hidden dampness that might otherwise go undetected.

Once the source of the leak is found, it’s important to dry out the area as much as possible. This can be done by draining the affected area, pointing an area fan at the wall, plugging in a dehumidifier, and opening doors and windows to help with air circulation. It can take three days or more for wet drywall to thoroughly dry.