To fix a hole in the wall, you will need to fill it with some putty or joint compound. You may also need to cover the joint compound with joint tape. The joint tape helps hide the joint compound and makes the patch less noticeable.
While you might be able to find pre-made patching kits that contain putty and tape, it’s always less expensive to buy these items separately.
1. Patching Putty
There are lots of different types of patching putties available for purchase, all made with slightly different ingredients. The most important thing is choosing a type that dries quickly, since this will make your job easier. Here are some common types of patching compound:
Drywall (spackle) – This is the most frequently used type of putty for patching holes in walls. It’s inexpensive and comes in a variety of packages that indicate how long it takes to dry based on humidity and temperature.
Plaster – This putty is ideal for patching plaster walls and ceilings. It doesn’t dry as quickly as drywall compound, but it costs more and can be difficult to find in stores that don’t carry a large selection of specialty items such as paint or tile supplies (which you might also need).
Metal lathe – This is another good option for plaster walls and ceilings. It’s very similar to plaster compound, except that it also contains metal fibers. The metal fibers add strength and help to mold the compound into a wide variety of shapes.
There are other types of putty available, but they’re typically used in specific situations where drywall or plaster putty would not be appropriate. For example, some types of putty are designed to be used on a wet surface. Also, there is a putty that contains fiberglass mesh for patching large holes or repairing drywall with loose gauze embedded in the material.
2. Joint Tape
Joint tape looks similar to fiberglass mesh tape, but it’s designed for use with drywall compound instead of drywall joint tape. Joint tape also comes in different widths, so you should always match the width to the thickness of your wall. For example, if your wall is 3/8-inch thick then use a 3/8-inch wide roll of joint tape.
3. Joint Compound
You’ll also need a bowl, a putty knife and a four-in-one tool or another similar device capable of mixing the compound and scraping it off as you work. Some types of patching compound come premixed, but this reduces the shelf life. Therefore, always mix your own compound from powder.
When you buy patching compound, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing and applying it. There are three common methods:
Bag-and-mix – This is a convenient way to purchase pre-mixed putty in small packets that can easily be portioned into individual batches. You simply tear open a packet, add water and mix.
Ready-mixed – This is the most commonly available type of patching compound. It comes in a bucket and usually needs to be mixed with water before application. You’ll also need to purchase paint thinner or some other type of drywall compound solvent for thinning the material if necessary.
Bag-and-ditch – This method requires pre-mixing a small amount of compound in a separate container. You then transfer the compound into a larger bucket and add water before mixing it again. This is the best option for patching very large holes or repairing damaged drywall that has been heavily textured (due to prior painting projects).
4. Measuring Container
It’s important to use a container with a spout for mixing your compound, rather than simply working in the bucket. This makes it much easier to mix and apply the compound without spilling or wasting material.
5. Putty Knife
You’ll need a putty knife with a long blade (six inches is sufficient) and an angled handle. You’ll hold the blade at a 45-degree angle to the wall and scrape downward with each pass while applying light pressure. Be careful not to gouge or scratch your wall during this process.
6. Joint Compound Viscosity
You should experiment with different brands of patching compound to find one that is easy for you to use and produces the results you want. Joint compound is generally available in three viscosities:
Stiff – This type of joint compound will dry very hard and fast, but it’s difficult to work with because it doesn’t spread easily on your wall.
Medium – Medium-viscosity joint compound spreads and levels out more easily than stiff compound, but it doesn’t dry as fast or as hard.
Loose – Loose compound is the easiest to use, but it will take a long time to dry and you’ll need to do more sanding afterward. The results are also not as durable as those from medium- or stiff-viscosity compounds.
After your compound has dried, you’ll need to sand the wall smooth before applying any primer or paint.
Primer is another important step in preparing your wall for painting because it fills in the pores of the repair material, which makes them less visible when you apply your final finish coats. Be sure to clean and dry the entire wall before you apply primer so that it adheres properly.
Your new patch should be virtually invisible after the application of a fresh coat of paint, but you’ll need to allow enough time for all three compounds (joint tape, joint compound and primer) to thoroughly dry first. Generally speaking, this takes at least 24 hours, but you may need to wait even longer depending on your climate and the type of compound you used.
So this is how to fix a hole in the wall.