As durable as it usually is, drywall of any kind can only stand up to a certain amount of abuse. However careful you are over time in the average home a hole or two is almost bound to occur. A door flung open too far can leave a distinctly door knob shaped hole while a toy car crashed into it once too often can leave an even bigger mess. The there are all of those little holes that were drilled for cable TV wires, Internet cables and the like that are no longer in use. The resulting damage from such drywall breaches is ugly to say the least, but merely painting over it is not enough, especially if you are getting ready to put your home on the market and are hoping to impress lots of eagle eyed potential home buyers.
Home improvement stores usually carry a large number of drywall repair kits but if you need to patch such damage up in a hurry (the hole is in the hallway and your Realtor is bringing in buyers at the end of the week) it is actually quite easy to do yourself if the hole is small. Here are step by step instructions for repairing a small drywall hole:
Before you begin remove all the loose plaster and paint chips that surround the hole as carefully as you can. After that is done you will need a lid from a can (like a soup can) that is approximately 1 1/4 times larger in diameter than the hole you are attempting to patch. Using a keyhole saw, cut a narrow slit at either side of the hole. The overall size of the lid should equal the measurement of the hole plus the slits, so that the lid be slid into the hole sideways.
Punch two holes in the tin can lid (an awl is best for this purpose) Thread either a piece of string or a piece of wire between the two holes.
Holding tight to the ends of the string, gently slide the lid sideways through the slots. While still keeping a firm hold on the wire pull the lid towards you until it is lying flat against the wall. Now, in order to hold it in place take a piece of scrap wood and twist or tie the string or wire to it. It is very important that the lid is flush to the wall in order for the patch to be as seamless as possible.
Apply a premixed drywall patching compound (or plaster of Paris in a pinch) over the newly created patch. Do not use spackling compound, as that has a tendency to shrink up considerably as it dries. Pack the hole and the area behind the stick with the compound, covering the slits but avoiding spreading it over the rest of the wall. Do not try to level the patch at this point, the patch needs at least 12 hours to dry. When it is dry, cut the protruding string or wire off.
Once the patch has been allowed to dry you can gently sand it to level it off , and then prime and paint over it.
These instructions are designed for repairing small holes in drywall. Larger holes can be much harder to repair successfully and may call for the expertise of a pro!