Patch and Repaint Walls

Patch and Repaint Walls

Level: Beginner

If you have a paint project in your future, remember that prep is key. Patching holes in your walls before repainting them can make all the difference. Without patching first, you're only doing a job half way. And it will show.

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Project Steps
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  • Repair Holes

    • Step 1: Cut a Square Around The Damage

      Use a keyhole saw to cut the hole into a square or rectangular shape. Measure the dimensions and cut a replacement piece of drywall 2" longer and 2" wider than the hole.

    • Step 2: Make a Patch

      Lay the replacement piece of drywall on a flat surface with the backside facing up. Measure in 1'' from all four edges and draw a line using a pencil. This should form a shape the size of the hole. Using a straight edge and utility knife, cut through the backside paper and the drywall gypsum, but not the front-facing layer of paper.

      Using a putty knife, peel away the backside paper and gypsum layer. Be careful not to tear the front-facing paper. The smaller part of the "bandage" should fit into the hole. The paper edge should extend 1" beyond the hole.

      Helpful Tip

      If the patch isn't a perfect fit, place it against the hole and trim to size with a utility knife.

      Holes bigger than 6", up to 12'', require a slightly different process because the patch needs more support. Using a drill, create two small holes through the piece of replacement board. Feed a piece of string through and tie both ends to a stick (tie in the middle). Allow for about 8" of string between the board and the stick. The "stick side" of the board will be the front. The stick will be used to hold the patch in place. Twist the stick to apply pressure to the rear of the board. This will steady it in the hole. Apply a smooth coat of cement adhesive around the edges. Insert the patch into the hole and position it so the cement adhesive firmly grips the solid area around the rear of the hole. Turn the stick clockwise, twisting the string and increasing pressure against the patch board at the rear of the hole. This will hold the board firmly in place until the cement adhesive dries.

      Helpful Tip

      To make it easier to insert the wallboard material through the hole, be sure to hold it at an angle.

    • Step 3: Apply Joint Compound
      joint compound

      If you're working with a smaller hole (up to 6"), apply a thin layer of joint compound around the hole. Place your patch into the hole. Using a putty knife, work the paper edge down into the compound. Feather the edges of the compound and allow it to dry. Sand lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper and apply a second layer of joint compound to finish the repair.

      For larger holes (between 6" and 12"), allow the cement adhesive (used in Step 2) to thoroughly dry then fill in the area with joint compound. Smooth out the area then let the patch dry thoroughly.

      Helpful Tips

      You may need to apply two or three layers of joint compound to build up the patched area. Always allow each layer to dry before applying another.

      Let the stick and string remain where they are during the patching process. You can remove both just before the material dries.

      When the area is completely dry, sand off any high spots using a fine-grit sandpaper and sanding block.


    • Step 1: Prepare the Room

      Before starting to paint, remove furniture or place it in the center of the room and cover it with drop cloths. Place drop cloths on the floor and secure them with tape so that they don't move around. Remove window coverings, switch plates and outlet covers. Use painter's tape to protect windowsills, baseboards, door hinges and the ceiling perimeter.

    • Step 2: Prime

      Apply True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer with a large paintbrush or roller applicator, using the same technique you would as painting. Make sure you cover the entire surface of the wall. 

      Safety Alert!

      Open the windows to make sure you'll be priming and painting in a well-ventilated area.

    • Step 3: Paint
      paintpaint brush

      Pour True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Paint into a paint tray and coat your roller or paintbrush. Paint widthwise in 6-ft. square sections, using a zigzag pattern of overlapping "W" strokes. Move from right to left, then left to right, spreading evenly with vertical strokes.

      To ensure even coverage, use light strokes to re-roll across the ceiling and paint from the bottom to the top of each wall. If your paint has a flat finish, you don't need to blend. Otherwise, to blend, paint over the entire surface (for very large areas, do two square sections at a time) with one-directional, overlapping, non-diagonal strokes once again.

      Using a small, angular paintbrush, do wall brushwork in areas where your roller can't reach, like the corners and next to doors, windows and molding.

      If necessary, apply a second coat of paint using the same technique as the first. You don't have to let the paint completely dry between coats, but your results will be better the longer you wait.

      Helpful Tips

      Use the paint calculator to estimate how much paint you will need before you begin the job.

    • Step 4: Clean Up
      repaired and repainted room

      Thoroughly rinse your roller covers and brushes in water until the water runs clear. Store them in plastic bags or hang them on nails or hooks to dry. Remove drop cloths and pull off painter's tape at a 45-degree angle to avoid removing any fresh paint.

      Helpful Tip

      To avoid wasting paint, combine any leftovers in a mixing bucket and store properly.

      Good work! Your walls have been repaired and repainted and are now ready for your holiday guests to arrive.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

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