How to Fill Surface Holes

Fill the cracks and holes in your wall with these tips.

| May 2018

  • Fill the cracks and holes in the wall before they spread.
    Photo by Getty Images/Xamtiw
  • Through step-by-step instructions and helpful schematic diagrams, The Home Owner’s Manual by Dan Ramsey explores hundreds of frequently asked questions.
    Cover courtesy Quirk Books

The Home Owner’s Manual (Quirk Books, 2006) by Dan Ramsey gives advice on inspecting a new home, moving in, redecorating, emergency maintenance, and much more. With plenty of helpful illustrations to guide you along, The Home Owner’s Manual makes household maintenance a breeze. This section gives instructions on how to fill surface holes before painting.

Walls and ceilings constructed of wallboard or lath and plaster may require maintenance prior to interior painting. Fortunately, the process is relatively easy and there are numerous products available at hardware stores to make the job easier.

  1. Identify all imperfections on the surface before proceeding. Apply a small piece of masking tape on or near the imperfection for easier identification and remove when done.
  2. Use a putty knife or pointed object to remove any loose drywall.
  3. As needed, carefully hammer protruding wallboard nails to below the wall surface. If necessary, use joint compound to reattach loose wallboard tape that covers the seams between wallboard sheets.

For smaller holes and dents: Apply spackling following manufacturer’s instructions (on the container). Drying time typically is 30 minutes.

For larger damage: Apply wallboard patch following manufacturer’s instructions. Two coats may be required and the drying time may be longer.



For holes larger than a Susan B. Anthony dollar coin: Use a wallboard patch kit that includes patch and fabric. Note that patch kits for ceiling use a sturdier fabric that will not sag when the patch is applied.

More from The Home Owner’s Manual:


Excerpted from The Home Owner’s Manual by Dan Ramsey. Reprinted with permission from Quirk Books.






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