To repair your drywall you’ll need some basic tools, plus a couple of items the average DIYer might not have in their toolbox. The key tool is a wide, flexible, flat trowel for laying on and smoothing out the drywall compound. You’ll also need—obviously enough—some drywall compound, which you can buy ready-made or as a dry powder you mix yourself. Finally, you’ll need a roll of drywall tape, some drywall screws, and various grits of fine sandpaper to smooth out the finish.
You can fill minor dents with a layer or two of drywall compound or “spackling.” Simply trowel on to fill the hole, then use a cleaned edge of the trowel to remove any excess. Once the compound has dried—check the packaging for set times—sand to a smooth finish and paint over your patch. (See also “Finishing touches,” the slide at the end of this gallery.)
Settling or poor installation can sometimes cause drywall screwheads to “pop” through your finished surface. If this happens, use a utility knife to clear out the screwhead. They’re almost always a Philips, a.k.a. star, screw head. Use a screwdriver to twist the screw a half-turn into place, trying not to tear through the drywall paper. Patch and paint the over the recessed head.
For larger holes, you’ll want to remove a square section around the hole and replace that with a piece of drywall. When opening the hole, make sure there are no wires or plumbing lines behind where you’re cutting. If so, use only shallow cuts into the drywall with your utility knife.
Once you have your opening cut, measure the thickness of the drywall so you use the same size material for your patch. Most of the time it will be ½”-thick, but there is also ¼” and 5/8” drywall.
If you get lucky, your hole will be close enough to an existing stud that you can anchor your patch to that. More likely, you’ll need to install a strip of backer board to screw the patch into. Fit a thin strip of wood that’s a couple of inches wider than the hole behind the opening. Secure that in place with a couple of drywall screws. Sink the screwheads slightly below the surface, trying not to tear through the paper.
Measure the size of your opening and cut a square to fit in place as close in dimensions as possible. Fit your patch in place and screw it to the backer board.
Lay down a layer of drywall compound around your opening and then use the trowel to set some drywall tape into the compound. Apply a second layer for compound over the tape and allow to dry completely before applying subsequent layers.
Once the drywall compound has dried, use successively finer grits of sandpaper—the higher the number on the back of the paper, the finer the grain—to smooth out the finish. Wipe away any dust and cover up the patch with colour-matched paint.