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Wall Repairs

For the best results from a paint job, repair any flaws in your walls before painting. Kevin Sharkey's contractor, Bob Tobin, explains how to fix a few common problems.

See our other wall repair how-tos: 

Repair a Battered Drywall Corner 
Smooth Uneven Walls 
Repair Holes in Trim

Special thanks to Bob Tobin of BC Interiors, 718-258-8888.

Tools and Materials

  • Scraper or 5-in-1 tool
  • Primer sealer
  • Coarse sandpaper (80 to 100 grit)
  • Joint compound
  • Taping knife
  • Flexible putty knife
  • Vinyl spackling compound (or wood filler for holes in wood trim)

Wall Repairs How-To

1. Hairline cracks: these cracks are common and easy to fix yourself. Here's how:

Remove any loose material around the crack with a scraper or 5-in-1 tool. Sand any raised spots, and seal with a primer sealer.

2. Apply a rough coat of joint compound with a taping knife. (Knives range from 4 to 10 inches; use what feels comfortable.)

3. Lay a piece of joint tape over the compound. The tape should be the full length of the crack. With a taping knife, press out excess compound. Let dry.

4.Apply a second, even coat of joint compound that is 5 inches wider than the tape on each side. Let dry. Sand lightly, and apply a thin polish coat of joint compound to fill any scratches from sanding. Let dry. The wall is ready to prime and paint.

5. Small holes: you can fill small holes -- such as those left by picture hangers -- in a flash. Using a flexible putty knife, apply vinyl spackling compound (or wood filler for holes in wood trim). Let dry; then sand.

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