How to Fill Screw Holes in a Wall

How to Fill Screw Holes in a Wall – Easy Drywall Repair Guide

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Fixing drywall is one of those things that is inevitable. Regardless of how careful you are, you will end up denting or even putting a hole in your drywall somewhere along the line. This is why it is very important to learn how to fill holes in drywall, particularly how to fill screw holes in wall surfaces. Nevertheless, we have you covered with everything that you will need to know when it comes to patching small holes in drywall, so take a look at what we have provided below!



Tools and Materials Required

One of the best ways to avoid those unsightly nail pops in your drywall is to secure the boards with screws instead. But this can create a whole new problem when the screw heads leave holes that need to be filled. On top of that, when trends change and the floating shelf you just had to have a few years ago is now outdated, what do you need to fill the holes left behind once you’ve removed it?

To fix screw holes in drywall, the tools and materials required can easily be found at your local hardware store.

These items include the following and you will need all of them to ensure that you do a good job.

  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • 4-inch drywall knife or a putty knife
  • Taping compound tray
  • Sanding sponge
  • Paper towels
  • Premixed all-purpose drywall joint compound
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint

Tools for Filling Screw Holes



Preparing the Surface

Preparing the surface of the drywall is arguably the most important step before getting started. Here you will need to ensure that the entire surface is free from any dust or debris while being completely dry and clean. Additionally, you will need to ensure that you have removed all fragments of loose paint that surround the hole.

Using warm water and a mild soap solution is a good way to clean the surface. Use a damp cloth as you will not be scrubbing the surface. Furthermore, since you will be learning how to patch screw holes in drywall, you will not have a large surface area to clean, so it will be done fairly quickly.


Removing Loose Paint

This process is relatively simple and you will not need to put in too much effort. However, you can use your putty knife to scrape away some of the loose pieces of paint. Once the loose paint has been removed, you will need to sand the surface to ensure that you get a smooth finish. For the best results, you will need to use sandpaper between the 120 and 180 grit range.

Preparation for Filling Screw Holes



Things That Need to Be Considered

There are multiple varieties of drywall joint screw hole fillers, but a small bottle of premixed all-purpose joint compound or spackle is the ideal choice for this type of simple repair. This product is considerably easier to use versus a powdered substance that needs to be mixed with water.

Spackle for Filling Screw Holes

Smaller holes, like those caused by finish nails, may often be plugged with just one coating of the joint compound; however, if the holes are bigger than this, the compound will shrink enough as it dries that a second coat will be required.

For tiny holes, spackle can be used. Spackle, like joint compound screw hole filler, is manufactured from a gypsum basis. Spackle tends to dry faster than joint compound since it is lighter in weight and more airy. However, it is not suggested for bigger holes.



Filling the Screw Hole

During the process of learning how to fill screw holes in walls, it is very important to ensure that you are able to follow the steps that we have provided. Depending on the size of the hole, you will need to ensure that you use the correct filler compound, but we have already mentioned that above. Nevertheless, the full process of patching small holes in drywall can be found below.

Screw Holes in Drywall Repair Guide


Step One

If part of the drywall contact paper creases outward, it must be trimmed before covering the screw holes using a joint compound. You cannot just spread the joint compound across these areas; as the hole must be concave for it to be filled neatly. This happens most often when screws are pulled from the wall, but it can also happen when the screws in the drywall are pushed too far during installation, ruining the paper and forcing it to crease outward.

Minor extrusions on the surface of the paper can be pushed inside with the grip of a drywall taping knife or screwdriver. If this does not work, cut into the paper surrounding the crease with a utility knife, then pull off the paper and sufficient gypsum to make the hole entirely concave to the drywall surface. Brushing your palm across the region will reveal any residual outward creases.


Step Two

Buttering is the process of dipping the tip of a putty or drywall knife into a joint compound. A small amount of compound should be applied to one flat end of the knife at the tip. Overfilling the knife will result in a sloppy mess.

Joint Compound for Filling Screw Holes

Wipe off extra mud with a paper or shop towel if required, particularly from the drywall knife’s side edges. It is not essential to properly clean the exterior of the knife, just remove any lingering muck that could slip off or spread.


Step Three

Press the front edge of the knife onto the wall and pull it across the hole while holding the drywall knife at an angle relative to the drywall with the coated side towards the wall. Check that the joint compound has been applied flatly to the hole. If you see any grooves, fill them right away with another run of the knife. Do not bother about having the surface absolutely level at this time.

Make an immediate second sweep over the hole using the drywall knife, this time at 90 degrees to the first. This stroke’s goal is to smooth down the joint compound so that it is exactly level with the drywall surface. Scrape off the extra muck using the point of your knife. Make many passes with the knife to avoid pulling the joint compound out of the hole.

Allow the joint compound to fully dry; this normally takes less than an hour with minor holes. In the case of very small holes, a single layer of the joint compound is sometimes sufficient to cover the hole evenly.


Step Four

Since the joint compound contracts as it cures, any hole bigger than a small nail hole will typically require a second application of mud. This is particularly true if the drywall hole is a bit bigger since fractures in the joint compound frequently emerge as it hardens.

Applying Joint Compound to Screw Holes

Once the first layer has dried completely, add more joint compound to the drywall knife as well as a thin second coat on the hole. This almost always takes care of any leftover pits and collapses. Allow a minimum of one hour for this second layer to dry completely.

We cannot stress enough how important it is to allow the compound to dry when you fix screw holes in drywall. By not allowing it to dry, you will not be able to smooth the surface, nor would you be able to paint over it.


Tips for Achieving a Smooth Finish

To get a smooth finish after you have learned how to fill holes in drywall, you will need to be certain that you have scraped away any excess compound that has been used to fill the hole. This can easily be done with a drywall or putty knife, whichever you have on hand. A crucial step is sanding the surface that you have covered before you will be able to apply a coat of paint.



Sanding and Finishing

It is not enough to learn how to fill screw holes in walls if you do not know how to properly finish the surface. Sanding the surface with 150-grit sandpaper once the compound has dried will allow you to achieve a smooth surface that will be perfect to paint. Since you are working with drywall, you will be limited to finishing options, so we strongly suggest that you stick to using paint.

Sand Filled Screw Hole



After you have finished sanding and filling the hole, it is time to begin touching up the spot to match the current surface of the paint. Apply the same paint to the repaired area in gentle strokes with a small paintbrush. Painting over the filled hole on the spot should suffice. Nevertheless, if the drywall has a large number of nail holes, it would be better off painting the whole wall.

Keep in mind that the purpose of finishing the wall is to ensure that you end up with a surface that leaves no prior evidence of holes in the drywall. Once you have completed the job and it is smooth to the touch while having an even and consistent finish, then you have done a perfect job.

It is also a good idea to ensure that you use the same painting method on the repaired section as the rest of the wall. So, if you initially sprayed the wall, then you will need to spray the repaired surface and the same rule applies to using a paintbrush.

Paint Filled Screw Hole



Quick Fixes for Filling Drywall Holes

If you are looking for a quick way to hide a hole in your drywall without going through the effort of buying materials and tools, then you will be pleased to know that there are a few quick fixes available. Keep in mind that these are temporary solutions to what could be a bigger problem and it is always best to use the method described above.


Use Ivory Soap

A small piece of ivory soap or any other type of white soap will easily fill the hole in your drywall. However, you will need to ensure that the soap is dry and that you use as little force as possible to fill the hole as this could cause the soap to break.

Fill Screw Holes in Wall with Soap


White Toothpaste

Using white toothpaste has proven to be an effective method to temporarily fill holes in your drywall. However, the key is to allow it to dry before trying to shave it to be flush with the rest of the wall.


Wax Is a Great Temporary Solution

Due to the pliable nature of wax, it is a great way to fill the holes in your drywall. All you need to do is roll it into a ball and plug the hole. However, the reason for this being a temporary solution is that wax can easily melt.

Fill Screw Holes in Wall with Wax


Learning how to fill screw holes in a wall is a valuable skill to have, as it is something that you will likely need to do at some point. The great news is that it is very easy to complete and the steps that we have provided above will make it much easier too. Naturally, as is the case with any DIY project, you will need to be mindful of the steps that are taken and even if it seems that a step can be skipped, it is never a good idea to do so. We hope that your repair job is an enjoyable experience! Good luck!




Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Best Way to Learn How to Patch Screw Holes in Drywall?

If you are uncertain of your ability to patch a screw hole in drywall, then you can test different methods on a scrap piece of drywall, which is very easy to come by. Ultimately, the process is incredibly easy and is a perfect project for new DIY enthusiasts.


Can the Same Method Be Used on Large Holes?

Unfortunately, you cannot use the same method on larger holes, as you will need to cut the hole into a square and then fill it with scrap pieces of drywall measuring around one by three  inches. You will also need to buy more materials that are suited for the job. If you are still learning how to fill screw holes in a wall, fixing larger holes might prove to be challenging.


Are Temporary Fixes a Good Idea?

It ultimately depends on the situation. If you want a quick fix because the hole is an eyesore, but you are planning major renovations in the near future, then it is a great idea. However, if you are planning to use a temporary fix as a long-term solution, it is not advisable at all.

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