A DIY Guide to Drywall Repair

Drywall is a popular and cost-effective option for interior wall finishes. It’s easy to install, repair, and paint, which makes it a top choice for many homeowners. However, even the best drywall installations can experience damage over time. From small dings and dents to larger holes and cracks, repairing drywall is a task that most homeowners will face at some point. In this guide, we’ll explore the steps involved in repairing drywall and discuss the best practices for achieving a smooth, flawless finish.

Step 1: Assess the Damage

Before you start any drywall repair project, you’ll need to assess the extent of the damage. This will help you determine the best approach for repairing the drywall. For small dings and dents, you may only need to fill the area with spackle or joint compound. However, larger holes and cracks will require a more extensive repair process.

Step 2: Gather Your Materials

Once you’ve assessed the damage, it’s time to gather the materials you’ll need for the repair. Here’s a list of the basic materials you’ll need:

  • Joint compound
  • Drywall tape
  • A putty knife or taping knife
  • A drywall saw or utility knife
  • A sanding blockor extra large sanding sponge
  • A primer and paint (if necessary)
  • Sandpaper (typically 120 or 150 grit for smoothing and 220 grit for finishing)

Choosing the Right Grit Sandpaper for Dry Wall

When it comes to sanding drywall, choosing the right grit sandpaper is key to achieving a smooth, seamless finish. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right grit sandpaper for your drywall repair project:

  • 80 grit: Use 80 grit sandpaperfor rough sanding or to remove heavy texture or layers of joint compound.
  • 120 grit: Use 120 grit sandpaperfor smoothing out rough areas and removing any leftover joint compound.
  • 150 grit: Use 150 grit sandpaper for smoothing out any remaining roughness and creating a smooth surface for painting.
  • 220 grit: Use 220 grit sandpaper for finishing touches, such as smoothing out imperfections or blending colors.

It’s important to note that you should never use a sandpaper grit that is too coarse, as it can damage the drywall and create additional repair work. Similarly, using a grit that is too fine may not effectively smooth out the surface, leaving you with an uneven finish.

Step 3: Prepare the Area

Before you start the repair process, it’s important to prepare the area. This will help ensure that you achieve the best possible results. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Remove any loose debris or damaged drywall around the area.
  2. Use a drywall saw or utility knife to cut out any damaged sections of drywall, making sure to create a clean, even edge.
  3. Sand the area around the damage with 120 or 150 grit sandpaperto create a smooth surface for the joint compound to adhere to.
  4. Apply drywall tape over any cracks or larger holes to provide additional support for the joint compound.

Step 4: Apply Joint Compound

Once the area is prepared, it’s time to apply the joint compound. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Use a putty knife or taping knife to apply a thin layer of joint compound over the damaged area.
  2. For larger holes or cracks, you may need to apply multiple layers of joint compound, allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next one.
  3. Feather the edges of the joint compound so that it blends seamlessly with the surrounding area.
  4. Allow the joint compound to dry completely, typically 24 hours.

Step 5: Sand the Area

Once the joint compound is dry, it’s time to sand the area. Sanding is a critical step in achieving a smooth, flawless finish. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Use 220 grit sandpaperto sand the area until it’s smooth and level with the surrounding area.
  2. Be careful not to sand too much, as this can damage the joint compound and create a depression in the wall.
  3. Use a sanding block or sanding sponge to help you achieve a consistent, even finish.
  4. Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris.

Step 6: Prime and Paint (if necessary)

If you’ve repaired a larger area or you’ve sanded down to the bare drywall, you’ll need to prime and paint the area. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Apply a coat of primer to the repaired area, using a brush or roller.
  2. Allow the primer to dry completely, typically 24 hours.
  3. Apply one or two coats of paint, using a brush or roller, until the repaired area matches the surrounding

Step 7: Finishing Touches

After the paint has dried, you can put the finishing touches on your repair. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your drywall repair looks seamless:

Match the texture: If your wall has a textured finish, you’ll want to match the texture of the repaired area to the surrounding area. You can do this by using a texture spray or a texture roller to create a similar pattern.

Blend the colors: If the repaired area is noticeable, you may want to blend the colors of the surrounding area with the repaired area. You can do this by feathering the paint out from the repair area and onto the surrounding area.

Smooth out any imperfections: If you notice any imperfections in your repair after it has dried, you can use a fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit or higher) to gently smooth them out. Be sure to wipe the area clean with a damp cloth after sanding.


Repairing drywall can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s a job that can be done by most homeowners. Remember to assess the damage, gather the necessary materials, and prepare the area before applying joint compound. Take your time sanding the area and choose the right grit sandpaper for the job. With a little patience and attention to detail, you can achieve a smooth, flawless finish that will make your drywall repair blend seamlessly with the surrounding area.