Trust me on this—you need to know how to patch a hole in your wall. When I first started decorating I thought I could go to the store buy some stuff and I’d be set. I quickly realized there was a little more to it AND my budget wasn’t going to let me get everything ready made. It would be nice to call up professionals to do everything from paint to moving in furniture in place, but in my world, I do most of everything myself. You want to do it yourself, but you don’t want it to look like you did it yourself. And if you want to do any serious DIY, you’re going to need to know how to fix your walls.
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I took my first leap in the bathroom. It was a small forgiving space—or so I thought. My problem started with a $6 towel bar I found in Bealls Outlet. I wanted to change out the ceramic builder grade ones but was a little unsure how to dislodge them from the wall.
Once I took the first one down, there was no going back and I decided to remove all the fixtures.
Use a chisel and a mallet or hammer to gently pry between the wall and ceramic piece. Tap in a few places and it should release from the wall. One of mine was not cooperating, so I had to gently smash it with a hammer.
It was off to the hardware store I went for supplies to fix these massive holes in my drywall. I stared at the shelves debating on what products to buy for half an hour before leaving with these mix of items:
- Metal Spatula
- Wall Spackle (also called mud)
- Sanding Sponge
- Can of Spray Wall Texture
- Wall Patch (make sure you buy the right size!)
- Drywall Tape
Before you go, measure the size of the hole so you can buy the right supplies. That, my friend, will save you at least one trip to the store. They worked magic together and they started my foray into thinking I could accomplish anything.
How to Patch a Large Hole in Your Wall
(Only use this repair technique on places you won’t affix items to in the future.)
When you patch a large drywall hole (between 4-6 inch diameter), the best thing to do is cut a similar size drywall piece to fill the hole. Luckily, the towel bar I was removing had the cutout of drywall still loosely attached inside the wall. Paste mud on the edges of the cut piece and push it into the hole. The cut drywall should fit snuggly inside like a puzzle piece. Tape the seams using the drywall tape. Spread a thin layer of mud over the tape and the drywall piece using your metal spatula. (I recommend a medium-sized metal spatula. A small one will make it difficult to get even coverage. Plastic ones are ok, but don’t allow you to get the mud as thin as a metal one.) Let dry 24 hours or according to package directions.
Repair a Medium-Sized Hole in your wall
Another method you can use is to buy a metal mesh patch. Simply apply the metal mesh and seal over the hole. Apply a thin layer of drywall mud over the entire patch. Be careful to feather out the amount of mud to camouflage the level change from the mesh cover to the wall. The thinner you spread your mud, the easier this will be. You can thin out the mud by adding a little water and mixing thoroughly. Cover the entire area with mud and let dry.
Patching a Small Hole
For smaller holes like those made by large screws or nails, using a small piece of tape and mud will suffice. Fill the hole with mud. Seal with more tape and mud then allow to dry.
Sand Like Crazy
There is no worse eyesore to me than a pretty painted wall with an ugly patchwork job. After you fixed the hole you must sand properly.
To sand a wall patch, use a medium grit (220) sandpaper until you see zero creases, bubbles or texture. You want it to be SMOOTH. No lumps, bumps, indentations, scratches or seams. This will create quite a bit of dust, so wear a dust mask. I can’t stress this enough–make sure it’s smooth. Paint will not cover any imperfections. Once you’ve gotten it as smooth as possible, it’s time to prime. Drywall spackle will soak up a lot of paint and cause flashing. Flashing occurs where the sheen of your paint changes inconsistently on a surface. It’s a telltale sign of an unprofessional paint job. My favorite primer is Zinnser Bulls Eye 123. It does a great job covering and preventing flashing.
Re-texture the Wall
Chances are you don’t have 100% smooth walls; but I just told you to sand the heck out of the mud. To make sure you have a nice finish, you need to re-texture the patch. The easiest way I’ve found is to use a spray on product. I used this one because its sprays on blue and turns white when it’s ready to paint over. Turn the dial to your desired texture pattern (test on a piece of cardboard to get the hang of it.) Let it dry and follow with a coat of primer. I wouldn’t rely on a paint-and-primer-in-one here, it may cause flashing.
Once the primer is dry, you can get back to your regularly scheduled program of painting.
When I finished painting, I still had a ton of work ahead of me because I needed to lay vinyl plank flooring and add accessories on a deadline.
I was immensely happy with the results and felt rather empowered by the whole (pun intended) experience. You can do this!
Have you ever made a ginormous hole in your wall?