Here’s Your Ace in the Hole

By Joanne Romero Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

I have a guilty pleasure. As much as it pains me to admit it, I can’t get enough of the “Real Housewives” series on Bravo. One of the latest episodes showed housewife Kim as she attempted to move from her dream home to a smaller town-home. This brought back memories of my many moves (a whopping 14!).

Most of my moves have included taking down photos and dealing with the holes in the drywall they leave behind. The good news is, whether the holes are the size of nails or the size of grapefruits, they’re actually pretty simple to repair.

First, assess the damage. If it’s a very small hole, like the size of a nail or a screw, you can fix it with a putty knife and wall-joint compound. Just make sure to sand it lightly after it dries, and check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how long drying will take.

For holes up to 5 inches, try a wall-repair kit, which you can find at the hardware store. First, sand around the hole and wipe the dust with a damp cloth. Next, cut a piece of fiberglass mesh from your wall-repair kit. Make sure you cut it big enough to leave about 1 inch on all sides of the hole. Peel off the paper backing and stick the mesh to the wall.

After that, use a drywall knife to spread spackling compound over the patch. Allow it to dry completely (usually overnight, but check the instructions to be sure), then sand lightly. Apply a thin second layer and let it dry. Assess the hole again and apply another thin coat, if needed.

To finish it off, spread a thin layer of joint compound over the entire area, including all of the joints of the patch and extending over to the edges of the surrounding wall. Let this layer dry for at least 24 hours. Then, once it’s dry, use a sanding block with fine-grade drywall sandpaper to sand it down.

Make sure to wear a dust mask when you do this, and repeat this process as necessary until you get your desired results.

Whether the holes in your wall were put there purposely to hang up photos, or accidentally from falling furniture on moving day, repairing drywall can be relatively cheap and easy. As always, consult a professional if ever in doubt.