Fix Hole in Drywall

Dents, Gouges and Wall Anchors

I have been asked how to fix a hole in drywall such as a dents, gouges, or wall anchors. Most times they are relatively simple to fix.

Dents and gouges are usually caused by accidentally hitting or bumping an object into the wall. This may happen when moving in, while carrying a large item in tight quarters or even be something you are wearing that hits or scrapes the wall. These accidents can happen so easily.

Even though a wall dent and gouge are similar, I would make a distinction between them.

  1. A dent is a depression - where the drywall surface is not broken.

  2. A gouge is where the drywall paper is broken and you have a scooped out area.

Both a dent or a gouge make the room look shabby but you can easily fix the hole in drywall with mud or non-shrink spackling. This works as a repair patch fill to smooth gouges or dents. If the dent is solid, and not torn, just fill the depression with one or two drywall coats to get the surface even. Lightly sand out the area after each of the skim coats have dried or until you have back the smooth wall surface.

A wall anchor, on the other hand, can be a small hole, if the anchor has come out easily, or it can be a fairly large hole, if the anchor has broken the wall out around where the wall anchor was. If the wall anchor hole is small (1/8” – ½”) you can fill it with spackle or joint compound as above.

But to fix a hole in drywall that has been broken away around the anchor hole, but the hole is still the smaller diameter, you can still just brush the damaged area with a brush to clean out any loose debris or dust and then apply your joint compound and let it dry.

It may bulge out a little, so sand it down and then apply another coat of joint compound. If it sands out after the second coat fine, you're done. But if you still some indentations in the wall, skim it out again and then sand it out.

But if the interior hole is larger, you should apply some mud and tape across the hole and then skim over the tape. Sometimes it is better to fill it part way and then when it is dry, apply another coat to bring it out to wall level. You may have to apply another coat to fill out the remaining gouges before the repair patch is filled smooth. You want it filled out with the wall so you will be able to sand it out level with the wall.

I like to use hot mud because I can fill in the hole, let it dry a short time and then apply another coat (or two) in a few minutes to bring it out to just about level. Then, five to 10 minutes later I skim another coat on of joint compound (mud) over the repair for the final coat. The next day I can sand it out. But if I am in a hurry, I use my dryer to dry my final coat enough so I can sand it out and be done with it. (I also use 20 minute set hot mud for projects like this because of the quick drying time)

If the drywall paper is torn, loose, or has rough edges around the gouge, remove any loose paper or debris by cutting out the paper around the area and lightly sand the damaged area. Then fix as described above and again lightly sand out the area when dry.

Note: If the anchor hole is quite extensive, I would do the repair as I do for door knob holes.