Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.
Fixing Holes in Drywall
Repairing holes in drywall is easy when the right patching materials are used. Larger holes take more time to fix when drywall needs to be cut out and replaced, but even small holes can be frustrating to patch nicely and sand when you use the wrong product for the job.
I know from experience that, like paint, not all patching materials perform the same. Some products, typically spackle, shrink too much, sand terribly, or take too long to fully dry.
In this article, I go over some patching products I've used for many years to patch walls and trim for painting.
Crawford's Vinyl Spackle
Most spackle I've tested in the past either shrinks too much, the dry time is too long, or both. I use drywall joint compound for patching larger holes in drywall, but for smaller holes, Crawford's is one of the only spackling products I've used that doesn't suck. This spackle is my go-to for patching small holes in drywall and trim.
Low Shrinkage and Dries Fast
The spackle is thin and easy to apply with a putty knife. Patches dry in under one hour when used for small holes and minor wall damage. Using this product to fill large holes prolongs the dry time. I use it a lot to patch holes in trim I'm painting. Two coats over nail holes, using a putty knife, is enough to level the holes with the surface with very little shrinkage.
Nothing is more annoying and tiring than endless sanding. Crawford's sands like a dream with a sanding sponge. When sanded smooth and painted, the white color of the patches blend in nicely without flash marks or texture, which is why I really like using this product on trim underneath glossy enamel.
For patching nail holes in trim and walls, Crawford's spackling paste is my personal favorite and a convenient alternative to mixing up joint compound. Simply open the can and start patching without having to clean a mud pan at the end of the job. You can paint over the patches in less than one hour.
Easy Sand Drywall Joint Compound
The best material to use for drywall hole repair is joint compound in a bag. Bagged joint compound, also referred to as hot mud, is mixed with water and dries faster than premixed drywall mud you can buy in a bucket. The joint compound I've always used for taping and repairing drywall is Easy Sand. The faster dry time allows me to prime and paint repair patches the same day, even large patches.
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Low Cost and Fast Dry Times
You can buy Easy Sand for less than $15 at any home improvement store selling drywall supplies. This product is sometimes confused with Durabond joint compound, also from the Sheet Rock brand, but the two are not the same. Durabond, sold in a brown bag, is difficult to sand.
You can buy Easy Sand with dry times ranging from five to ninety minutes, depending on the amount of drywall repair work you need to do. I use the 20-minute version a lot, but if you can work fast enough, the five-minute version is great for one single repair patch. The 90-minute version is best for taping drywall.
Patches Sand Easily
This product sands easily as long as you layer on thin patches without heavy edges. The easy sanding makes it a good option too for basic wall patching, but it's easier and less messy to use the product I recommended at the beginning of this article. The compound dries chalky with a grayish color that can show through lighter paint colors without priming first. Prime the patches with a good latex primer.
Easy Sand also works well for skim coating walls, or even as a grain filler for grainy wood. I've used this product to fill the grain in oak cabinets with good results. The biggest downside is the horrible dust. Contain dust by sealing off the work area with plastic. Make sure the floors are covered.
Choosing the Best Drywall Tape
Installing a new piece of drywall for a repair, or replacing a peeling corner, both require the use of drywall tape, but what kind of tape is best? The two types of drywall tape you can buy are paper or mesh tape made of fiber glass.
Fiber Glass vs Paper Drywall Tape
Mesh tape sticks to the wall, making installation very easy. With paper tape, you must layer on drywall mud under the tape first and lay the tape on top of the mud, forcing out the excess mud from underneath with your taping knife.
Paper tape tears easily if you stretch it too much while mudding, or apply the mud too aggressively. Mesh tape is resistant to moisture, so using this tape for drywall repairs in a bathroom is better than using paper. Mesh tape does damage and deform easily too, mostly along the edges, which can make it harder to perfect a patch.
I prefer paper over mesh tape. Paper tape is already creased to fit into corners perfectly when folded. Corners look rounded and sloppy when taped with mesh. I've also found that cracks reappear more often when repaired with mesh. Since paper tape doesn't have holes like mesh tape does, cracks are less likely to form again in the repair patch. I also find it easier to perfect my patches using paper tape.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Matt G.
Danny from India on July 26, 2020:
Matt, thanks for the product information. It's an amazing wall fix product.