How to fix a hole in the wall – a DIY for drywall, plaster, concrete and more

How to fix a hole in the wall, step-by-step. An easy task that's cost-effective if you DIY.

Flaking paint
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It happens, right. There are a number of ways that interior and exterior walls can be damaged, so a remedy is required. As ever we’re right here to help with a step-by-step guide to how to fix a hole in the wall.

Interior walls might be drywall, or made from plaster. Outside, it might be a concrete wall that you need to tackle, but we’ve got you covered whatever the type of wall you need to fix. And whatever the wall is made from, it is possible to make discreet repairs, and generally the job can be done pretty quickly.

For the steps you need to take to fix a hole in a wall? Just scroll down.

  • DIY: More home fixes and repairs you can do yourself.

How to fix a hole in the wall

You might need to fix a hole in the wall as part of a house renovation project. Equally, some sort of household mishap could have caused the problem. Outside, concrete walls can also be subject to damage.

Whatever the issue, use our instructions to solve the problem discreetly and quickly for walls that look perfect once more.

1. How to fix a hole in drywall

To fix a hole in drywall you will need:

  • Repair patches for drywall
  • Joint compound
  • Drywall knife
  • Sanding block

Start by removing any loose debris from the hole. Cut away jagged drywall around the edges of the hole. 

Apply the patch, centering it over the hole. Smooth down firmly so it’s sealed all round the edges.

Using the knife, apply a coat of joint compound over the patch, including the edges. It should just be thick enough to cover the patch completely.

Allow to dry, then sand. Apply a second coat of compound and leave to dry.

Sand again, until the repair is smooth and the edges are completely flush with the wall. 

Wipe with a damp cloth to remove dust and leave to dry. 

Prime and then touch up the wall with paint. 

2. How to fix a hole in plaster

To fix a hole in a plaster wall you will need: 

  • Hammer and chisel
  • Trowel
  • Plaster bonding agent
  • Plaster
  • Plastering trowel
  • Joint compound
  • Fine-grit sandpaper

Use the hammer and chisel to remove loose and damaged plaster. Make sure you work carefully to avoid damaging the lath – the wood structure behind the plaster.

Using a trowel, coat the lath with plaster base coat. Work the base coat into the spaces in between the wood as well. Then fill the hole with base coat until it’s flush with the old plaster and smooth with the trowel. Leave to dry.

Brush a plaster bonding agent on to the base coat and the old plaster surrounding it.  Apply nylon mesh tape at the joint between the base coat and existing plaster.

Use a plastering trowel to apply plaster over the wall and the tape.

Once the plaster is set, sand carefully to smooth the finish.

Apply a coat of joint compound, then allow to dry. Apply a second coat.

Once it’s dry, sand the surface smooth blending the edges with the original plaster of the wall first then working from the center of the patch.

Use a damp cloth to remove any dust and, when the wall is dry, prime than paint.

3. How to fix a hole in a plasterboard wall

You could fix a small hole in plasterboard with filler, but for a larger hole, you will need:

  • Cable, pipe and stud detector
  • Craft knife
  • Tape measure
  • Offcut of plasterboard
  • Drill
  • String
  • Filller
  • Filling knife
  • Medium-grade sandpaper

Check the area around the hole using a cable, pipe and stud detector. Tidy the edges of the hole using a craft knife.

Measure the dimensions of the hole then, from the plasterboard offcut, cut a piece that fits through the hole but is slightly larger than it.

Drill the plasterboard patch, making a hole just big enough for a piece of string to fit through, and thread the hole with string. Tie the string at the back.

Apply filler to the front edge of the patch. Push the patch through the hole holding the string.

Filler side towards you, use the string to hold the patch in place, then use more filler in the hole. Tie the string to a timber offcut to hold the patch in place as the filler sets. Cut the string when the filler is set.

You may need to add an additional layer of filler if it shrinks. If so, lightly sand first before applying the second coat.

4. How to fix a hole in a concrete wall

To fix a hole in a concrete wall, you will need: 

  • Dust mask
  • Safety googles
  • Putty knife
  • Wire brush
  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Bonding agent
  • Brush
  • Mortar mix
  • Trowel

Wearing a mask and googles, move loose debris from the hole using the putty knife. Then clean it out throughly with the wire brush.

Using  a brush and wearing gloves, apply bonding agent to the back and sides of the hole.

Make up the mortar mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Use a trowel to apply the mortar to the hole, working at the sides first, then into the center. Layer the mortar until the hole is filled, then smooth with the trowel to level with the surrounding concrete. 

Mortar needs to be allowed to cure and requires moisture, so allow it to set for around  2 hours, then cover the patch with a sheet of plastic. Remove the plastic in order to sprinkle with water daily over the next few days as the mortar cures. You’ll need to check the manufacturer’s instructions to find out how long this takes.

How much does it cost to fix a hole in the wall?

The cost of fixing a hole in the wall can range from around $50 to $75 for drywall, if you like the idea of getting in a professional rather than doing it yourself. Bear in mind that this doesn’t including the cost of painting the wall afterwards to complete the job although you might prefer to DIY this part of the work.

In the UK, repairs to a plasterboard wall will start from around £120.

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.

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