There are a few types of holes that can get into a wall. Some are small, like nail holes, and others are larger where someone knocked something into the wall and left a bit of a gouge (like, say, a door handle or a child’s truck).
Repairing Small Holes
First let’s start with the small holes. Let’s say you want to repaint an entire room, and you’ve taken down the pictures, and aren’t sure you want to put them up in the same place. Or perhaps you were renting (take note of this, college students) and want to get your deposit back.
If the hole is smaller than 1/4 inch, the first weapon in your quick fix arsenal should be toothpaste — preferably the same shade as your wall. Simply squeeze the paste into the hole, and then use a putty knife (or playing card) to scrape off the excess. Try to get the paste as flush as possible with the wall. The toothpaste might shrink a bit when it dries, so a second application may be needed.
If the toothpaste trick doesn’t appeal to you, another quick fix is to crush up an aspirin into as fine a powder as you can manage, mix the powder with just enough water to form a paste, and then use that to fill the hole. It’ll work in a pinch, but the toothpaste method is a lot easier.
Or you could buy a small tube of spackling and use that in place of the toothpaste. Wait for the spackle to dry (this is important. Then use a putty knife to scrape away the extra. Use sandpaper to smooth everything, and use some touch up paint to make it invisible.
Repairing Large Holes
You may want to look into purchasing a drywall repair kit from your local hardware store or home improvement center. They come in a variety of sizes and types.
I hear you asking “But, I’m not repairing drywall.” Well, yes, you are. That’s the sheet underneath the paint or wallpaper in most homes. You’ll sometimes hear it called “sheetrock” and that’s the same thing. Sheetrock is just a brand name, like Kleenex is a brand of tissues.
For some references in repairing larger holes:
- How Stuff Works – uses a tin can lid for repair
- eHow – using the simple cut out method
- Instructables – has a lot of great photographs
- This Old House – how can you not trust Bob Villa
- Cockeyed – Great tip about using a crayon to help
Since we’re in Earthquake country, we get odd cracks here and there. You can repair them, but be aware that if they’re at a boundary between pieces of drywall, they will reappear as the house settles or as we get more quakes.
Their repair is very similar to small holes. You scrape or sand down the area, apply drywall compound or spackle smoothly. Lay down some special tape, and apply more compound or spackle, and then let dry. The Dummies site recommends adding an additional layer of compound.
When that’s all dry, sand down, prime and paint.
Will you be repairing any holes or cracks this weekend?