Fixing Drywall Cracks And Nail Holes

If you take some time to examine the walls in your house, chances are that you’ll find one or two spaces where the surface isn’t completely perfect. Many walls in residential homes are made from drywall or wallboard – and as many homeowners will discover – drywall isn’t necessarily as sturdy and reliable as it should be.

The walls of your home will contract and expanding according to humidity, and the temperature of the weather. Because of this, the framing of a house can easily swell and shrink over time, leading to cracks and damage in the drywall. Fortunately, although this material is particularly easy to damage, it is also quite simple to fix, depending on the extent of the problem – and where it is located.  With that in mind, here’s a step by step guide for how to fix nail holes and cracks in drywall.

drywall cracks

Fixing Nail Holes

Whether you’re handing a painting, or simply doing some DIY around the home, it’s easy to make holes in drywall that you may want to get rid of further down the line. There are lots of reasons why a nail might be used to hold two pieces of material together. However, it’s all too easy to push the nail head too deep beneath the surface of the wall, causing it to lose its holding power and result in surface damage. After all, even small holes provide a perfect opportunity for moisture to enter into the drywall and start to cause rot. Fortunately, these problems are usually quite easy to fix.

To fix a small hole, all you’ll need is some vinyl spackling compound, a damp sponge, a hammer, a 3-inch putty knife, and some steady hands. To fill small holes:

  1. Start by denting the surface of the wall where the hole is located very slightly, so that you can produce a clean void.
  2. Clean the hole and dampen the surrounding area with a sponge
  3. Apply your compound with a 3-inch putty knife and draw it smoothly across the dent, to ensure you have a clean, level surface.
  4. Sand down the surface as evenly as possible, and repair the wall with a coat of primer and paint.

If you have a particularly large area of damage within your drywall – perhaps from a DIY-gone-wrong nail hole – then you may need a piece of new drywall to replace over the space. Importantly, the new piece of drywall should be of identical thickness to the existing surface, and it should fasten securely, and blend seamlessly with the remainder of the wall.

Fixing Cracks In Your Drywall

Hairline cracks that appear in drywall, particularly around the tops of doors and windows, can be a sign that the wall framing has moved or settled slightly – a common condition for most houses. Fortunately, cracks that appear on flat surfaces are generally quite easy to repair – but if the repair isn’t completed properly, it is far more likely to re-appear.

  1. Using a sharply-bladed utility knife, carefully widen the crack within the drywall into a V-shape that is readily available to accept compound.
  2. Using a broad putty knife, spread either spackle or joint compound over the groove that you have created so that it completely fills the void, and also covers a couple of inches on either side. Smooth the compound out, and allow it to dry.
  3. Sand the area as smooth as possible with fine sandpaper – be careful that you don’t go over-the-top here or press too hard, as you could end up ruining your repair completely.
  4. Touch up the area with paint and primer to match the wall, or repaint the entire wall if you’re looking for a completely seamless job.

Remember, if a crack appears on a flat surface, you can use spackle or joint compound to repair it. However, if cracks appear where the ceiling meets the wall, it may be better to use caulk which is more flexible – and capable of withstanding some movement.

Care For Your Home

Most of the time, drywall repairs don’t require a great deal of effort in terms of DIY, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from accessing the help of a professional. Even something as simple as filling in dents, embedding popped nails, and patching holes can lead to further problems in the future if not done properly. How frequently do you notice cracks and holes in your drywall, and have you tried to fix the problems yourself? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

Image source: Flickr