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How to Patch Screw Holes in Drywall [5 Easy Steps]

To patch a screw hole in drywall, first, lightly sand the hole and surrounding area so it is smooth. Then, use a putty knife to apply joint compound to fill the hole. Wait 24 hours for the joint compound to dry fully. Next, sand the joint compound so that it is smooth and matches the surrounding wall. To complete the repair, repaint the wall. Your former screw holes will be invisible.

How to patch screw holes in drywall

Can You Fill Screw Holes with Paint?

You cannot use paint to fill or cover screw holes in drywall. Even several coats of paint will not adequately fill a screw hole. You will be left with visible screw and nail holes after painting. Instead, it’s essential to use joint compound to fill holes in drywall, then paint over the patch. This will result in the most ideal repair.

5 Steps to Patch Screw Holes in Drywall

Drywall screws can leave nasty holes in drywall. However, as long as the hole is smaller than ½-inch (1 cm) in diameter, it can be patched with these easy steps:

Sand the Area

Begin by sanding the hole and surrounding area with this 150-grit sandpaper. Sand just enough to remove any messy bits of drywall from around the edges of the hole. Pieces of drywall paper that are sticking out from the wall at the edges of the hole lead to a messy patch. Once these rough bits are sanded off, you’re ready to move to the next step.

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Fill the Hole with Joint Compound

Use this putty knife and a small tub of pre-mixed joint compound to fill the screw holes in your drywall. Scoop some of the joint compound onto the edge of your putty knife, then spread it over the hole. Make sure the hole is filled. Then, spread the joint compound so it is thickest at the center (over the screw hole). Feather the edges of the joint compound patch so it blends seamlessly with the surrounding wall.

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Allow the Compound to Dry

Wait 24 hours for your joint compound to fully dry. Sanding joint compound that has not fully hardened will destroy your patch. To avoid this, wait a full day before continuing. Joint compound that looks dry at first glance can actually be much softer once you start sanding. So, waiting a full day is crucial.

Sand the Joint Compound

To sand your joint compound so it is smooth and blends in with your walls, begin sanding the rough ridges with 120-grit sandpaper. Then, use 150-grit to achieve a finer texture. Finally, use 220-grit to smooth the drywall patch so it seamlessly matches the rest of the wall surface. Make sure to sand the edges of the drywall patch so that there is no hard line where the patch meets the wall surface.

Paint the Wall

Although you can simply paint over drywall patches, this usually leads to patched and painted areas that look different than the rest of the wall. Instead, follow our tips for hiding drywall patches with paint. Priming and painting the entire wall leads to a uniform appearance. After following this process, you won’t be able to tell where the screw holes used to be.

How Do You Repair Screw Holes in Textured Drywall?

If you are patching screw holes in a textured drywall surface, you will need to add the texture before painting. To do this, patch and sand the screw hole according to the steps above. Then, press a texturing sponge in joint compound until one corner of the sponge is lightly covered. Gently dab this corner of the sponge on the wall to create standing peaks of joint compound. This will become your texture.

  • You can reapply texture to drywall walls and ceilings after sanding and patching drywall.
  • Press this texture sponge into the joint compound until one portion has a light coating of joint compound.
  • Dab the wall with the sponge to make small textured peaks of joint compound.
  • Allow the joint compound 24 hours to dry.
  • Sand the joint compound until it matches the surrounding texture.
  • Paint your wall to hide the patch.

After adding texture to your walls with a sponge, allow the joint compound to dry. Then, sand the newly textured area with 120 to 150-grit sandpaper until the texture matches the rest of the wall. Once you’re done sanding the texture to match, you’re ready to paint.

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How Do You Fill Large Screw Holes in Drywall?

Screw holes larger than ½-inch in diameter (1 cm) must be patched by using mesh or paper tape as a backing. It is best to use drywall repair clips to repair significant damage in drywall. Attempting to fill large screw holes with joint compound will not result in a permanent fix. Instead, the joint compound will dry, shrink, crack, and fall out of the hole.

  • Use paper tape or drywall repair mesh to help repair drywall holes larger than ½-inch (1 cm).
  • To repair damaged sections of drywall, it is best to cut out the damaged area and install new drywall using repair clips.
  • You may be able to reuse a damaged screw hole by inserting an anchor or toggle bolt.

If you want to reuse the screw hole, you don’t have to go through the patching process. Instead, follow our tips for repairing stripped screw holes in drywall. This way, you can transform a damaged screw hole into a usable screw hole for hanging decor or fixtures.

What’s the Best Way to Fill Screw Holes in Drywall?

The quickest and best-looking way to fill a screw hole in a piece of drywall is by following these steps:

  • Sand the hole and surrounding area to remove rough bits of drywall.
  • Use a putty knife to spread joint compound over the screw hole.
  • Allow the joint compound to dry for 24 hours.
  • Sand the joint compound patch until it is smooth and blends in with the surrounding wall.
  • Prime and paint the wall to permanently hide the patched area.

If your drywall is textured, you can use a sponge and joint compound to apply texture before painting. With the right tricks and tips, patching drywall can be simple and seamless.

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