3 March, 2022

Whether you bumped the wall while moving furniture, or pulled away a bit more plaster than you meant to while removing a fixture, it’s always best to fix the mess sooner rather than later. While it might seem daunting at first, knowing how to repair small holes in plaster walls is a skill every homeowner should learn. It’s simple, inexpensive, and saves you having to hire someone else to fix it.

To help with your next DIY job, our expert handymen pulled together this step-by-step guide on how to repair small holes in plaster walls, including the equipment you’ll need.

Essential equipment

You don’t need much to fix a small hole, and you can find it all at your local hardware store. Here’s what you need:

  • Putty knife
  • Plaster compound
  • Jointing tape
  • Sanding block and fine grit sandpaper
  • Rag

As well as the tools and materials you need for the wall, you should also make sure to wear appropriate safety equipment. Safety glasses and a dust mask are a must. And while we’re on the topic of safety, note that this guide is for plaster walls only. If you aren’t sure what your walls are made from, it’s always best to consult an expert first.

Method to repair small holes in plaster walls

There are five main steps to repair small holes in plaster walls.

Step 1: assess the damage

Before diving into the repair job it’s a good idea to roughly measure the size of the hole. Generally speaking, if the hole is less than 15cm wide you can go ahead and patch it with plaster compound. Any larger and you may need to use a different method. Also make sure to check the hole for any electrical wiring, which you’ll want to keep out of the way.

Step 2: clean the edges

Use the putty knife to clean the edges of the hole. Remove any loose pieces of plaster and smooth the edges of the hole to enable a strong bond with the new plaster. Use a cloth to remove any smaller flakes of paint or plaster and any dust.

Step 3: apply jointing tape and plaster compound

Once the hole is clean, apply several strips of jointing tape to cover the hole. The strips should be large enough to extend approximately 2cms beyond the hole in each direction. Once the tape is secured use the putty knife to apply a first layer of plaster compound. Once applied, smooth the compound with the putty knife, scraping away any excess. Leave the compound to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 4: sand and re-apply plaster compound

Once the plaster compound is dry, take the fine-grit sandpaper and sand the plaster until smooth. Using a circular sanding motion will help you to blend the plaster compound in with the original wall. Don’t worry if you sand some of the non-damaged wall back because you’ll cover this up when you paint the wall.

Once you’ve sanded back the plaster compound, apply another layer of the compound with the putty knife, making sure to scrape off any excess, and leave it to dry. Repeat the sanding process for this second layer. If desired you can apply a third layer of plaster, but two layers are typically sufficient. Applying additional layers not only strengthens the wall patch but also helps to build up a smooth surface which will ensure an even blend with the original wall.

Step 5: clean and paint

Once you’ve sanded the final layer of plaster, clean the surface with a dry rag to remove any dust created during the sanding process. Once clean, the wall will be ready to paint. Note that it typically takes several layers of paint to blend the patch in with the original wall.