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How to Patch a Nail or Screw Hole in Drywall

How to Patch a Nail or Screw Hole in Drywall

One of the most common repairs tenants are responsible for when moving out of a rental property is patching nail holes or wall damage created during their time in the property. Luckily these small screw or nail holes are pretty simple to repair. Follow our quick process below to return these walls to their original nail free condition.


  • Spackling paste for drywall
  • 220 grit sanding block
  • Putty knife
  • Paint to match the current wall color

1. Sand the Surface

You want to make sure the surface is sanded down before you begin. This is key to having a flat area as a lot of the chalky drywall will push itself outward when hammering a nail into the wall.

Lightly sand the area in a circular motion with 220 grit sandpaper to sand away the ridges created from the nail.

2. Spread the Spackling Compound

Make sure you are using the correct spackling compound for the job, there are many options to choose from. Read the label and make sure it is good for use on drywall.

Use a flexible metal putty knife and scoop up a small pea to dime sized amount of spackle and smooth it across the hole. The best method is to do 2 swipes with the putty knife, the first swipe either downward or sideways to fill in the hole and the second in the opposite direction to remove any excess. If your second swipe leave streaks of spackle, you’ve probably used too much. Wipe away the excess with the putty knife and use a little less next time.

Once the spackle has dried completely, (check the label for drying times) lightly sand the area in a circular motion with a 220 grit sanding block.

3. Apply a Second Layer of Spackle

Spackle will shrink some after it has dried, this is sometimes hard to see until the wall has been painted. For this reason it’s always a good idea to apply a second layer of spackle using the same 2 swipe process used in step 2. Let the spackle dry and then lightly sand the area one last time in a circular motion.

4. Prep for Painting

Inspect the hole and make sure it is completely filled in and no spackle has extended beyond the edges. If you do see excess spackle on the wall, sand it down again with your 220 grit sanding block.

Dust off any excess spackling dust from sanding and your walls are ready to paint!