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How to fix and patch drywall

on September 26, 2021

Drywall is a building material used for interior walls and ceilings. Drywall is made of gypsum plaster, sand, water, and paper-based materials like brown kraft paper. Drywall is an excellent material to use in your house because it's inexpensive, durable, and waterproof. 

But if you have any holes or cracks in the drywall, you will need to patch them. Here is a complete guide to help you understand what drywall is and how you can successfully perform DIY drywall fixing and patching.


Types of drywall

There are three types of drywall: standard, fire-rated, and soundproofing.

  • Standard green board is economical and easy to install. However, this product only comes primed on one side and may not be as strong as other products. Therefore, standard grade can't support heavy objects like cabinets without the use of a backer board. Standard green board also needs more plaster than heavier boards because it is lighter, making the seams more noticeable. It has the best acoustic properties compared to all other types of drywall, so if sound reduction is necessary, consider using a standard green board.
  • Green board has the same physical properties as a standard green board but comes with a primer on both sides, making installation easier because you don't need to prime before applying two coats of paint. Also, one side may be left unpainted if desired.
  • Fire-rated drywall has a higher insulation value than standard drywall, which makes it more fire-resistant. It is also stronger and denser than regular wallboard but weighs about twice as much due to its increased thickness and weight. This can make installation difficult for those that do not have adequate equipment available. Fire-resistant boards are usually made from gypsum plaster rather than sheetrock.
  • Pre-finished drywall is the only sheetrock product with paint on both sides, so installation requires no priming, painting, or finishing. This saves time and money, making pre-finished products more expensive than plain boards but still less costly overall than many other wall coverings. This product is best suited for high-humidity applications like bathrooms, saunas, and spas because it has the highest water vapor transmission rate of any sheetrock product.

What causes drywall damages?

Over time, the drywall may damage due to several factors. They include the following;

  1. Faulty drywall installation during construction.
  2. Hanging pictures can also cause holes if hung without using proper tools and techniques.
  3. Wear and tear caused by furniture movement or children's toys moving around the house
  4. Walls with strong smells such as cigarette smoke will find their way into your walls because of how porous they are. This smell is tough to remove once it has set itself deep inside the drywall surface, making them look dirty even after cleaning thoroughly.
  5. A nasty pest infestation by bugs like termites destroys homes slowly over time.
  6. Mold can also cause problems on your walls and drywall. Like termites, mold is a slow-growing problem that slowly eats away at the surfaces it has set itself deep within.
  7. Inappropriate choice of fixing materials on the surface of the wall. This causes damage to paint or paper covering it. The biggest mistake is putting nails directly into bare sheetrock without a spackle in between for hiding them.

Types of damage that occur on drywall

  • Bowed walls This signifies cracking around the edges and joints that are splitting apart.
  • Peeling paint or a layer of dust on top of painted surfaces. If you notice either one, it is likely because there has been moisture intrusion in some form over time.
  • Sagging ceilings. It can be a sign that the drywall has been absorbing moisture and is likely at an increased risk of mold.
  • Damp and musty odors. If you notice this, it can be a sign that there is excess moisture in the area, which could lead to mold.
  • Staining on walls or ceilings. These are signs of water damage and may also include discoloration and peeling paint as well. These are all indications that urgent repair is necessary before they get worse!

Tools and materials necessary to fix drywall

Tools necessary include;

  • Taping knife
  • Tape measure
  • Drywall saw
  • Hammer

Materials needed include;

  • Screws of the right size to fit your patching material
  • Mud (mix of spackle) and sandpaper
  • If you’re working with sheetrock or green board material, some heavy-duty gloves are more abrasive than paper-faced drywall boards.
  • If you are cutting through existing sheetrock, make sure that you wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from any loose particles.

Ensure that all materials used in repairing the wall are new so that they do not contain any contaminants that could be harmful once mixed into fresh wet plaster mix later on during the application process.

Steps to fixing and patching drywall

There are many ways to fix and patch drywall, but we'll show you the easiest way with step-by-step instructions. Follow these steps, and your wall will be as good as new in no time!

  1. The first step is removing all contents from the room where the damage occurred.
  2. After that, cut away any loose pieces of wallboard with either a utility knife or saw. Use caution when using these tools, as they can cause further damages if done unskillfully.
  3. Give the repairs enough time to dry.
  4. Don't forget about sanding. You want an even finish without too many lumps or bumps before painting starts.
  5. Reattach any trim or decorative moldings.
  6. The last step is painting the entire thing once again with a roller to make everything blend better together and look like new.


  • If there are large holes in the walls, make sure you fill them up correctly before patching up and painting over them to ensure proper insulation and effectiveness for future use.
  • Fixing minor dents on the wall doesn't require extensive repair work; clean out debris that may be lodged inside crevices, then simply spackle over top of it.
  • If you're dealing with a large hole in the wall, you have to cut away any loose pieces of drywall or plaster around the damaged area so that you can replace them later when you finish the job.
  • For larger holes, use sheetrock patching tape and cover-up until there's no more damage on the walls. Use joint compound over the top for finishing touches.

How to fix cracks on drywall

Drywall cracks are generally only cosmetic defects. They happen when the wall is too flexible without enough support, or there is pressure on it that causes a crack to appear in one location of the drywall sheets. 

If you notice cracks on your drywall, here are a few steps to follow to effective repair;

  1. Identify the crack and if it is a large or small one.
  2. Make sure that your patch is as smooth as possible, so it looks like one continuous piece with the existing wall surface.
  3. Fill in any dents or holes on surrounding walls before applying new texture. These will need patching up since they may cause problems later on during the molding process if not addressed beforehand. Make sure you place the sheetrock carefully over them to avoid creating a mess.
  4. Apply joint tape over the crack and fill in with drywall compound until it is level with the existing wall surface.
  5.  Sand down any ridges or bumps that appear after drying to ensure a smooth finish.
  6. Retexture walls using either; texturing mud (drywall compound mixed with water) for more minor repairs applied by hand. For more extensive areas, use an electric paint roller on a tray of texture material explicitly designed for this purpose. These come premixed and ready-to-use out of the box! Remember never to apply too much pressure when rolling, as this could lead to peeling and bubbles forming.
  7. Apply paint to match the existing surface, allowing proper time for drying before using again.

Repairing the crack may involve removing some of the wall surfaces to make room for additional support. You can do this by using either; drywall joint tape (like fiberglass mesh), backing strips (thin plywood used as reinforcement), or another layer of drywall placed over existing sheetrock with screws.

A new piece added on top will need to match the texture and color of your existing walls so that it is not noticeable after the repair.

Types of Drywall Patching Compound

There are two types of drywall compound used in patching up cracks; setting-type and standard type.

Standard type is less expensive but takes longer to set than Setting-type, which dries much faster. This makes it ideal when you need the job done quickly because the room needs to be back in use as soon as possible.

The downside with these compounds is that they do not adhere well over more significant areas where there may be humidity issues like bathrooms or kitchens.

Setting-Type is more expensive but great for larger patches because it dries slowly and has a longer working time where you can press or manipulate into place before setting.

This makes the process of patching up cracks easier, as well as smoothing down after drying, which helps minimize sanding later on. This compound also adheres to walls better without humidity interference compared to the standard type.

Tips to make your drywall last long without repair needs

Drywall is easy to install, affordable, and durable but not immune to damage. If you want your drywall to last as long as possible without needing repair, here are some tips for making it happen:

  • Make sure the drywall is installed correctly! This means starting with a level surface and ensuring there isn't too much or too little depth of the drywall sheeting on either side of the studs.
  • When installing new drywall, use a premixed joint compound instead of mixing it on-site because it's less likely to shrink during installation.
  • Install metal lathing strips over the seam where two sheets of drywall meet. This will help prevent tears from forming in that area.
  • Do not use a heavy object to hold it up. When you hang something on drywall, the impact can cause damage. If possible, avoid using nails and screws. Tape over an existing hole if necessary. Use toggle bolts instead of other fasteners for big projects that need support from weighty materials like cabinets or shelving units.
  • Avoid leaning too heavily on walls or putting your arms outstretched above them as this weakens the ceiling's structure. Even worse is standing directly in one spot with all of your weight! 
  • Do not use dirty towels on drywall surfaces. The abrasiveness will scratch any applied paint or sealant, creating more significant problems further down the line.
  • Keep your pets off them. Pet nails are sharp enough to cause significant scratches easily, so keep their environment clean for everyone involved!
  • Don't let old products on the drywall. Removing all previous contents is crucial before you patch up any new holes because the drywall compound doesn't work well with other compounds like spackle. If they mix, this causes an especially hard-to-remove mixture that may need sanding and even replacing if the damage is severe.
  • Store your drywall correctly when it isn't being used for a project. Keep it far away from moisture, high temperatures, direct sunlight, or anything else that might cause warping over time!

With proper care and following the tips above, your drywall will last through many renovations before needing additional repairs.

Getting rid of drywall problems can take some time, but they are worth investing in if you want your home improvement project to be successful.

Remember that minor damage such as cracks or holes should not deter you from putting money into fixing them. This makes all the difference between having an unappealing wall and giving off a positive vibe before guests come over for dinner or friends stop by during weekends.

Fixing these things on your own might seem daunting at first, but most damages only require applying joint compound and sanding it down when dry, painting over the area and letting everything dry.