How to patch and repair drywall

We spend a lot of time in our garage, a LOT, but I always cringe when we have to take photos while we’re working on projects/tutorials/etc. Because until recently, it looked like this:

How to patch and repair walls It may just look like clutter, but it goes deeper than that. We tackled this project in two parts, (part two covers how we tackled organizing it and turning it into a workshop), but right now we are going to focus on the biggest problem we faced: The Walls.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com

You can watch the video that covers everything below, or keep scrolling for all our choices, steps, and tips in blog-format.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a second it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. Since we’re brand new to YouTube, every view, like, and subscription makes a huge difference for us. Click here to see the whole channel. Thank youuuuu! We’re doing a big goofy happy dance right now!]

Specifically I’m going to cover how to patch holes (tiny ones, medium ones, and big ones), repair your corners (did you know drywall corner tape was a thing?) and paint (we tried oil based paint for the first time and it was not pretty).

1. How to patch holes

This was definitely the biggest part of the project because our walls were in ruh-uh-uff shape. We had hundreds of holes in our walls ranging from the size of a pin to large enough for me to crawl into. So we’ll go over how to fix tiny holes, medium holes, and big holes.

Tiny holes, aka anything smaller than a finger, are the easiest to deal with.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com For these you’ll need the following tools/materials:

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Start by lightly sanding over the hole with your 150 grit sanding block and wipe off any dust with a paper towel.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Then get a tiny dollop of spackle on your putty knife and press it into the hole. Drag your putty knife across the hole in a few different directions until the spackle is smooth and flush with the wall (this should just take a couple swipes)

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com The spackle we got goes on pink and dries white, so once it’s dry you can do one more layer (if necessary) or paint.

Medium holes that are bigger than your finger but smaller than 6 inches across can be fixed using a drywall patch.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com For these you’ll need the following tools/materials:

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com First use your poking device to scrape away any loose bits of drywall inside your hole.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Then sand with 150 grit sandpaper and wipe it clean with a paper towel.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Find a patch that goes at least an inch or two past your hole on all sides.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Peel the backing off of your patch and press it over your hole. The patches are a thin metal covered with a mess tape and the whole deal is sticky to adhere to your wall.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Now comes the fun part. Yes, this is fun for us.

Get some joint compound on your putty knife and press it over your patch, starting in the middle and feathering it away, making sure to go at least a couple inches past your patch.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Midway through this, I switched to a more bendy putty knife and it made this WAY easier. I dunno how you’re supposed to feather the edge with a stiff putty knife. Bendy knife fo’ life!

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Let this dry overnight and then come back and do a second coat. You’ll basically repeat the steps from before. First sand over any rough parts and wipe it down.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Then apply another coat of joint compound. This time you’ll want to feather the edges a little bit past your original application. So basically, the total area you cover is gonna be WAY bigger than the size of the hole you started with.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Most tutorials online will recommend doing a third coat as well. If this was inside our house or in an area that wasn’t going to be potentially covered with shelves/pegboards/various other storage type stuff, we would do three too. But for our garage, we decided two was just fine.

Big holes, aka anything larger than 6 inches across, require a slightly different technique. They’re too big for a patch like we used before, so you’ll actually need to buy a panel of drywall and patch your hole with that.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com For these you’ll need the following tools/materials:

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com First you need to cut a hole around your hole. Which I know seems counterintuitive, but it’ll make it possible for you to patch it with a piece of the drywall panel you bought.

Our hole was really big, and the panel we bought was 2 ft x 2 ft, so we held up the panel over the hole and traced it, that way we knew it would fit.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com If your hole isn’t quite that big, you would do things a little differently. You’d cut a square around your hole, then cut out a piece of your drywall panel that was the same size. You can either measure your square hole and then measure out what you need to cut from the drywall piece, or if the square you cut out is intact you can trace it onto your drywall piece.

That’s probably easier to do than it is to explain in text, so hopefully that wasn’t confusing. End goal: have a square hole in your wall and a square piece of drywall you can pop into said hole.

Once we had the outline of our square, we used a yardstick and utility knife to score along our line. It helps to have one person hold the yardstick and one person cut.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Then we cut through the drywall using our serrated knife.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com After it’s cut, you can pull out the drywall chunks so you’re left with  a clean square. Or a a square full of insulation from that one time we blew insulation in our attic.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com You’ll have a rough edge around your cut, so sand it with 150 grit sandpaper and wipe off dust with a paper towel.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Now it’s time to attach your piece of drywall as a patch. You need to attach it to something solid. If you have studs behind your hole like we did, you can screw it into those.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com If you don’t have studs, you’ll need to grab a piece of 1×4 and attach it inside the hole to the back of the drywall using 1-1/4″ drywall screws. Then, instead of screwing your drywall piece into the studs, you’ll screw it into that.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com So we popped our drywall patch into the hole we cut and screwed it into our studs on either side. We did three screws on the left, three on the right.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Then we used the mesh drywall tape to tape around the four edges around the patch. It comes in a roll and is similar to the mesh square over the metal patches we used earlier.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Next, it’s time to bust out your joint compound again. Just like we did with the medium holes, apply joint compound over your tape with a putty knife and feather out the edges with a nice wide bendy putty knife.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Again, we only did two coats of compound because we knew lots of this wall wouldn’t be visible once we got our storage systems up, and because ehhhh it’s just the garage.

Let it dry overnight, then scrape/sand away any rough parts, wipe it down, and repeat with more joint compound, feathering past the edges of your original application.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com 2. How to repair drywall corners

Drywall corner tape is used anywhere two planes of drywall meet (so two walls that meet in a corner, or where a wall meets a ceiling). The cheapo-type had been used in our garage and it was peeling in several places.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com To fix this, you’ll need the following tools/materials:

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com First use your utility knife to help peel off your old corner tape. Some areas will just peel off if you grab them, but for some it helped to have the knife to get it started.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Sand and wipe down the length of your corner, on both sides that are joining. Wipe off any dust.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Then spray the spray adhesive from about 6 inches away along the corner. This adhesive is specifically made for drywall. Don’t be alarmed, it comes out red.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com It takes a minute or so to become tacky, but you can apply your tape anywhere between 1 and 10 minutes. To apply, cut a length of tape from your roll that’s the same measurement as your corner.

Fold the tape along the crease so that it fits better into your corner.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com If one end of the tape is butting up against another corner (like a wall corner butting up against a ceiling corner) snip the ends off at 45 degrees.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Press the corner tape down your corner over your spray adhesive and smooth it as you go. It’s pretty stiff, so getting it smooth isn’t too hard.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com After about half an hour, you can apply joint compound. By now, we had gotten pretty good with this stuff. Spread it along the corner joint and feather it away from the corner.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Let it dry overnight, the sand rough spots, wipe it down, and repeat. As usual, with the second coat feather it out past the first application of joint compound.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com 3. Painting!

Holy holes batman – at this point, our walls were finally ready to paint!

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com We used the following tools/materials:

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com First, we walked around with our 150 grit sanding block and hit any last rough spots. Then we used a huge broom to wipe off the dust and cobwebs from our wall. We had a lot of both,

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Our paint does have primer in it, but we had one area in particular that we were a little concerned about that had both water damage and what looked like an explosion of black paint. So this area we primed first with Kilz spray primer just to be safe.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com While it dried we started painting other areas of the garage. We used Behr Ultra Premium plus in off the shelf white (in a satin sheen, for easier cleanability).

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com We first painted large swaths of wall with the paint rollers.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Then we went back and used a small angled brush to get around the edges and into corners that the roller couldn’t get.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Usually, people will edge first and roll second, but I can’t even describe how excited we were to cover those yellowy walls with white so we jumped the gun and rolled first (it’s way faster and more satisfying than edging!)

Side note, if you have to paint over the course of a few days like we did, you can avoid having to wash out your brushes and rollers each night by wrapping them tightly in foil and keeping them in the fridge. Definitely saved us lots of time and mess!

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com After edging around the door, there was this moment where we looked at the door, looked at each other, and simultaneously decided we gotta paint this door. It was sooooooo yellow looking next to the white walls.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com You can see it pretty well in the background of the photo below too. Ick.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Confession – we’ve never used oil based paint before. And our doors/trim had originally been painted with oil based paint, so we went back and forth between covering it with a primer and doing acrylic vs just going over it in oil again. We couldn’t decide, and neither could the internet based on our research. The folks at Home Depot said it would probably be better to use oil paint, so that’s what we did.

We started out dong the trim with our angled brush and we thought hey! This isn’t so bad! Then we tried to do the door and oh lord it was terrible.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Granted, we weren’t prepared. We started out trying to do the door with a roller, but we didn’t have a roller meant for oil based paint (we didn’t even know that was a thing). It left fuzzies everywhere, which we then tried to pick out/wipe off (only semi-successfully). Then we proceeded to paint the whole door with a brush since that’s all we had, but it had already started to dry in some areas due to our fuzzy-picking fiasco, so it was looking all sorts of messed up.

Luckily, it did smooth out a bit as it dried. Eventually we will try doing a second coat, but for now it is what it is – a learning experience haha. It’s at least better now that it’s white instead of yellow!

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com After the whole door situation, we just had to get one last hard to reach spot. Never saw myself sticking my head under a 400-something lb water heater, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com It was worth it to get that last paint stroke!

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Repairing drywall and fixing up the walls ended up being a big undertaking – I don’t think we realized quite how bad of shape they were in until we were already elbows deep in the project. But it was TOTALLY worth it. Our garage started out a yellowed, peeling, and full-of-holes hot mess. And even though at the end of it there are a still a few minor imperfections (cough looking-at-you-door cough), when we look around it is pretty sweet to look around and see smooth, white walls.

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com So glad to be done! And now onto my favorite part… how we organized the garage!

How to patch and repair drywall - evanandkatelyn.com Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!

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