How to Repair Walls

Scraping, patching and sanding your walls are all important preparation steps you should complete prior to painting.

You’ll learn how to repair walls using the proper tools and basic techniques to perform these minor repairs yourself. From filling in nail holes to repairing larger damage spots in your wall, this step should not be overlooked.

Tips for Repairing Walls for Painting
Materials Checklist
Rigid putty knife
Flexible putty knife
Fine grit sanding sponge
Spackling or patching compound
Fiberglass mesh tape
Drop cloth
Cloth rags
Ensure great-looking, long-lasting results
If your walls have nail holes, cracks, nicks or flaking paint, here are a few things you need to do to properly prepare the surface so it’s smooth, dry and clean for painting!

Step 1: Scraping
For previously painted surfaces, begin by scraping off any loose, bubbling or flaking paint with a rigid putty knife and then smooth the area out with a fine-grit sanding sponge.

Be safe! Wear a dust mask whenever scraping off paint or sanding down surfaces.

Step 2: Repairing Small Holes
Fill any small holes and cracks with a spackling or patching compound. A flexible putty knife is best for working it in.

Just swipe on the compound and gently remove as much excess as possible, right away. This will make your job less messy when it comes to sanding.

Give the spackle a few hours to dry before smoothing it out with a fine-grit sanding sponge.

Step 3: Larger Repairs
For larger holes or dents, use a self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape stretched across the area you’re repairing.

Use a flexible putty knife to push spackling or patching compound into the hole, through and around the mesh.

Gently remove as much excess compound as possible while it is still wet.

Allow your compound to dry overnight and then smooth the surface with a fine-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge.

For easier cleanup or to protect your furnishings, lay down a drop cloth to catch the spackle dust.

After drying, if your patch isn’t perfectly smooth, apply a second coat of your compound, let dry and repeat the same steps for sanding.

Step 4: Sanding Trim
For glossy painted surfaces like your window and door trim, lightly sand to a dull finish and then wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth. This will help your new coat of paint to adhere better.

Click here for a printable materials checklist and step-by-step guidance.

Nail holes here, cracks and crevices there, loose paint everywhere.

Before you paint your walls, there are a few things you need to do to properly prepare the surface, so that it’s clean, smooth and dry which will help ensure great-looking long-lasting results.

So, putty knives up; let’s get to it.

For previously painted surfaces, you want to begin by scraping off any loose or flaking paint and then smooth it out with a fine grit sanding sponge.

Fill any small holes and cracks with a spackling or patching compound.

A flexible putty knife is best for working that in.

Just swipe on and gently remove as much excess as you can right away.

That will make your job a lot easier when it comes to sanding.

Give the spackle a few hours to dry and then smooth it out with a fine grit sanding sponge.

Now for those larger holes or dents that date back to that fraternity reunion party, you’re going to need some self-adhesive fiber glass mesh tape stretched across the area you’re repairing.

Using your flexible putty knife push some compound into the mesh which helps it to bond better.

Again, gently remove as much excess as possible.

Allow your compound to dry overnight, then smooth the surface with a fine grit sandpaper or sanding sponge.

It’s probably best to lay down a drop cloth to catch this waterfall of compound dust.

At this point, you may need to add a second coat of compound to create a perfectly smooth surface.

Just repeat the same steps.

For glossy surfaces like your trim, lightly sand to dull finish.

This will help your new coat of paint to adhere better.

And last thing: wipe the surface clean with an ever so slightly damp cloth.

If these walls could talk, they’d say, “We are now fully prepared for a fresh coat primer and paint.

Unlike these walls, they can talk, very clearly.

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