Since different walls are comprised of different materials, the methods you use to repair a hole are often going to be specific and tailored to the wall that needs fixing. Here’s how you might tackle your more standard wall issues, so you can patch up the tears, craters, and dents.
Drywall or plaster
“Any home built within the last 50 years will have drywall,” Timothy Dahl, the Editorial Director of the DIY and adventure website Charles and Hudson, tells Lifehacker. Drywall is a composite material that’s used in the construction of interior walls and ceilings, and chances are it’s used in your home, too.
Fixing a hole in drywall is the easiest of all the household craters that you might encounter. To fix a drywall hole, you’ll need some supplies, such as a drywall knife, plaster or spackle, a sanding block or sand paper, just to cover the basics. You can begin by cutting out any of the jagged or amorphous edges of the hole, to create a uniform shape.
Dahl recommends getting a drywall screen, which you can wedge into the crevasse and begin to coat with spackle or joint compound. You’ll need to fill up the hole with whatever binding agent you’re using, allow it to dry, then sand it down. As Real Homes notes, the sanding part is crucial for making the job neat. The website recommends sanding again, “until the repair is smooth and the edges are completely flush with the wall.”
Dahl points to another workaround, noting that “you can also buy smaller pieces of drywall and cut to size, then smooth out the edges with ‘mud’/joint compound.”
It’s worth noting that this is relatively the same for plasterboard material, as many people consider it indistinguishable from drywall. There are others, however, who advise a different approach, which you might want to familiarise yourself with if you think it’s necessary.
How to fix a hole in concrete
Now for the heavy duty stuff. A hole in concrete is more likely to appear in an exterior wall, which is fortunate, because it’s a messier job than repairing drywall. You’ll need a mask, gloves, and safety goggles, for starters. Other supplies necessary to complete the job are below, courtesy of SF Gate:
- Putty knife
- Wire brush
- Wet/dry vacuum
- Spray bottle filled with water
- Hydraulic cement
- Clean mixing container
- Trowel (optional)
What follows is a straightforward process, but still a bit more involved than the more garden variety repairs you might be accustomed to. First, you’ll need to remove any excess debris or jagged edges from the hole with your knife, clean it out with your wire brush, then vacuum up of the remnants before dampening the hole with your water.
SF Gate outlines the next steps in the process, which, believe it or not, take place over the course of at least 24 hours, owing to the necessity of drying.
Mix a small portion of hydraulic cement in a clean container according to package directions. Stir the cement with a putty knife until it has the consistency of thick peanut butter. Make only as much cement as you can use in three minutes or less.
Pack hydraulic cement firmly into the hole with a putty knife or trowel. Smooth the surface of the patch as quickly as possible before the cement sets.
Spray the patch lightly with water several times over the next 24 hours. Allow the patch to cure for 48 hours before painting, or for as long as recommended by the manufacturer.
Patching something like brick can be a lot more of a tricky and involved process, as Dahl cautions “you don’t want to damage the mortar” by doing something wrong. There are, of course, plenty of options at your disposal if this is something you’d like to take a stab at yourself.