screw hole in drywall

How To Patch Screw Holes In Drywall

There are quite a few different ways to patch screw holes in drywall.  In my opinion, many products on the market you use for patching screw holes will work.  Whether you are looking to save time or save money;  this guide is made to help you determine which is the best product for you.

Make Sure It Is A Screw Hole

I know this might seem obvious to many people.  But I have been through many jobs repairing drywall. Usually, a homeowner assumes it is a screw that has popped out. And sometimes, new drywall builds that a drywaller didn’t sink the screw all the way before. 

Take a sheetrock knife or small screwdriver around the screw hole to remove the thin layer of hardened joint compound.  If the screw wasn’t drilled in far enough, you’ll want to drill it in slightly past the top surface of the drywall.  If you have learned that it is actually a nail hole, you can simply hammer it back in.  Don’t worry if you made an indent in the drywall as you will be patching this after. If you are an overachiever like myself and want to go above and beyond and have drywall screws handy, drill a drywall screw in 1″ above or below the nail.

Finding The Right Tools

Now that you have prepped the surface, you will have to find the right tool to patch the screw hole.  There are many different brands out there for drywall tools.  Since you are patching a very small hole, you will only need a small putty knife for this.  Another term some use for this is a spackle knife.  A putty knife is much different than an actual taping knife because it is basically a small version of a taping knife.  These typically come in different sizes, 1″, 1.5″, or 2″

Finding The Right Product

There are many different products to use to actually cover the surface of the screw hole.  I’m going to walk you through different products and what you can expect from each.

DAP DryDex Drywall Patch Kit

This product is great for a couple of drywall repairs around the home. It comes with everything you need for patching screw holes as well as any other nicks you see on walls around the home.  TIP: Check your walls behind door handles.  Promise you’ll find some more places to use it! 

The DryDex Drywall Patch Kit has a “built in” timer so you know when it is time to sand it down.  It also comes with a spackle knife included, and a patch if you have something bigger than a screw hole to repair.  If you’re a homeowner looking for an all in one kit to patch a few screw holes, this is it!

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USG All-Purpose Joint Compound

This product can be used for all drywall finishing steps.  It is used for taping drywall joints, covering screw heads, and finishing the drywall.  Though it is not my top preference for actually finishing drywall, it’s a great product to patch screw holes in drywall.  You can get these in as little as 3.5-quart containers from your local Home Depot or Lowe’s.  

There is really no downside to the product itself, however, they do not have an all-in-one kit for patching screw holes.  You will have to purchase a putty knife separately to get the project done.

Keep in mind, that if you do not own a taping knife – you will need to purchase a taping knife to use this product and get the best finish.

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Easy Sand 5/20/45/90

This product is my favorite out of all because it is used in the patching industry and I have used it for many years.  But just because it is my favorite, I don’t want you to feel in any way inclined to use it.  It can be the most difficult to work with, and cleaning up isn’t always fun.  I’m simply saying you can use this and I do recommend it, but if you are new to patching holes I would start with a different product to get your technique down. 

Unlike the other products, this comes in powder form.  You actually have to mix it with water to the right consistency.  Once it is mixed, a chemical compound within it starts the timer of when it will be hard.  The numbers after Easy Sand represent (relatively closely) how many minutes until the product hardens.  Keep in mind, that it is when the product hardens, not dries.  Curing time still applies differently. 

Think of this product like a fast-setting cement. Easy Sand 5 will be hard and rendered unworkable within 5 minutes.  If you do decide to use Easy Sand to patch screw holes in drywall, I would go for the 45-minute or 90-minute.  If you are only patching one screw hole, you will not need much at all.  Not even 1/8 cup of this stuff will do the trick.  Simply mix in a little bit of water to get a pancake consistency.

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Technique for Patching Screw Holes

This is the part where everyone seems to get tied up.  I’m here to tell you that it is incredibly easy to apply compound to a screw hole.  The way I see it now after all of these years, you might think I’m joking but it’s really no different than making peanut butter & jelly sandwich–load butter knife with PB, apply to bread, smooth out, feather edges.  Each of the products I recommended above will follow the same method for application.  If you chose to use Easy Sand, just be sure you mixed it to get a pancake consistency before you start.

The process is very simple from here:  Pick up a small amount of compound using the corner of your putty knife.  You do not need much to fill a screw hole: the same amount of toothpaste you use on your toothbrush is the amount you need.  Using the putty knife, apply the compound directly into the screw hole and press it into the hole to fill it.  Next, you will scrape away using any excess mud by scraping the flat edge of the putty knife over the flat surface of the wall.  Allow the surface to fully dry using the recommendations on the product you used, then give it a light sanding!

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Patching screw holes in drywall is a very easy task.  In this article, you learned to determine screw vs nail, the right tools to patch a screw hole, the different products you can use, and how to patch a screw hole in drywall.  If you followed my guide, let me know in the comments below how you did!  Still unsure about whether or not you can do it? Let me know how I can improve my article below!

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