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How to repair your drywall: small holes, dents and nails


It’s easier than you might think to cover unsightly holes and stains on your wall.

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Are you renting an apartment and trying to fix those nail holes in the drywall to get your security deposit back? Did someone in your house accidentally make a hole in the wall? Whatever the case, whether you rent an apartment or own a house, drywall damage is common.

Fortunately, repairing typical damage to your drywall, such as smaller holes and nails, is easy.

What you need to get started

Before you start, you will need the following:

  • Drywall spackle (The DAB DryDex is a personal favorite)
  • Flexible putty knife to spread the spackle or scrape off loose paint edges
  • Fine or medium-sized piece of sandpaper
  • Hammer or screwdriver for fixing nails
  • Paint to cover the area after the spackle dries
  • A brush or roller brush to apply the paint

Repair small holes or dents

First, if you are dealing with small holes or dents, brush away any loose bits of drywall or paint so that you can apply the drywall spack evenly and efficiently. You can do this with the putty knife or sandpaper to scratch away any loose bits.

Don’t throw those paint pieces away just yet, though. You may need them. If you’re renting and don’t have access to the exact paint color, you can take one of the chipped bits of paint to a hardware store or paint store to match the color.

To cover the hole, apply the spackle with the putty knife and try to fill it in as evenly as possible. It’s okay if it’s not perfect. You can always add one or two more coats to get the surface even. Then you have to wait a few hours for the spackle to dry. Again, the DAB DryDex spackle is great because it dries from pink to white, so takes the guesswork out of drying time.

Now, we wait…

After a few hours, inspect the splashed area. If the surface of the drywall still seems uneven, you can add another coat in the same way – again using the putty knife, spread the spackle over the area and let it dry for a few hours. You can repeat this as many times as necessary until you get a flat coat with the rest of the wall.

Once you have finished applying the spackle and it has dried, you can use the sandpaper to smooth out any bumps in the drywall before painting over it.

Now that the area has been smoothed out, you can go over it with the paint. Coat the surface evenly with a coat of paint using a brush or paint roller. Wait a few hours for the paint to dry and then apply another coat. To ensure that the drywall is completely covered and blends in with the rest of the wall, apply at least two coats of paint.

This process also works for old nail holes or small cracks or gaps in your drywall.


Does this sound familiar? Follow these tips to make your wall look like new again.

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Let’s talk about ‘nail pops’

These are areas where a nail or screw will begin to protrude from the drywall over time, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a hole. It’s more like a paint-colored bump in your wall.

First you need to determine if it is a nail or a screw that is sticking out.

You can use the putty knife to scratch the surface to expose the nail or screw. If it is a nail, use a hammer to drive the nail back into the drywall so that it is flush with the wall. If it is a screw, use the appropriate screwdriver to push the screw back into the drywall.

Now that the nail or screw has been pushed back into the drywall, you can use the drywall over the spot to fill in the gaps.

Again, wait a few hours for the spackle to dry, then use the sandpaper to smooth out any imperfections. Go over the area with a few coats of paint – and that’s it.

Final Thoughts

Damage to your drywall can be an eyesore or a nuisance, but it doesn’t have to be. Now, the next time a hole or dent happens in your drywall, don’t break a sweat. Follow the steps above to get a clean, even surface on your wall. And if you’re interested in more simple home solutions, try our guide on how do you clean your oven? with ingredients you already have in your kitchen.

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