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When To DIY And When To Call In A Professional

Tiny dents in your wall can make a big difference in the overall appearance of your home or business. Unfortunately, drywall damage happens all too easily. Kids, customers, pets, and guests all contribute to your wall’s general wear and tear. While most drywall damage seems minor at first, it can easily add up to a ‘death by a thousand dents’ situation – which might leave you feeling overwhelmed when it comes time for repairs.

Below you’ll find drywall repair basics including DIY repair tips and when to call a professional.

Understanding drywall and the need for repairs

Drywall is a panel of gypsum plaster mounted to the structure of your house. It’s the smooth surface of your walls on which you paint, wallpaper, or title. It’s where you hang pictures, mount shelves, and attach curtain rods. It’s an affordable and lightweight covering for walls and ceilings. It’s also easily damaged – unsurprising considering the activity it has to withstand. 

Damaged drywall is unsightly, but more importantly, it can compromise the strength of your wall. Cracks can spread and cause extensive damage; holes can do the same, potentially exposing the interior of your walls to pests.

Fortunately, most drywall repairs don’t require replacing the panel from top to bottom, but untreated damage may require you to replace the entire wall. If you stay on top of dings, gouges and small cracks you can avoid larger issues. 

When to DIY and when to call in a professional

Signs that your drywall needs to be repaired include the aforementioned dings, gouges, and small cracks. These can be tackled by the dedicated homeowner willing to spend a few hours on a project.

Keep in mind that good drywalling requires skill, technique, and practice. For this reason, we recommend hiring a professional for drywall damage larger than the size of a toonie. Additionally, certain types of damage can indicate the need for professional repair.

Below are signs of damage that require expertise or specific tools that the general property owner might not have. 

Pops, bubbles and larger cracks are typically signs of structural issues that cannot be fixed with a simple DIY repair.

Water damage and dimensional changes – such as warping, bowling and peeling – could indicate extensive damage to the interior of the wall and should be examined by a professional. Untreated water damage can lead to mould, rust, and rot throughout your property. 

Damage that exposes the interior of the wall may require replacing the entire drywall panel. There’s a reason your mom told you not to play ball inside – accidents happen! Severe damage that exposes large portions of insulation is a respiratory and fire hazard and should be repaired by a professional as soon as possible. 

DIY drywall repair

Before you start, really take your time to assess the damage. You don’t want to make it worse! Carefully inspect the area. Do you know the cause of the damage? Does the cause of the damage match the site requiring repairs?

Answering these questions is a good way to determine if more extensive repairs are needed. For example, if you dinged the wall while moving a bookshelf but the ding has begun to crack and expand up the wall, this is not a job you can tackle yourself.

Now that you’ve determined the source and surveyed the damage, it’s time to gather the materials required to repair the dent or gouge in your drywall.

You will need:

      • Patching compound (pre-mixed is easiest)
      • Drywall tape (for small holes)
      • Putty knife
      • Dust mask
      • Fine-grit sandpaper

 For durable, longer-lasting repairs, always use high-quality materials when possible. 

Step 1: Patching 

Patching dings and gouges

Remove any loose plaster from the area. Spread the patching compound over the gouge with your putty knife, essentially filling the gouge. Don’t worry about the compound being super smooth or flush to the wall – you’ll sand it down after it dries.

Patching Small Holes

For small holes (toonie size or smaller) use a pre-mixed patching compound. Cut off a piece of drywall tape large enough to cover the hole and use your putty knife to spread a thin layer of compound over the tape. Don’t worry about the compound being super smooth or flush to the wall – you’ll sand it down after it dries. If you need two layers, let the first layer dry completely before applying a second layer.

When To DIY And When To Call In A Professional

Step 2: Sand it down

When your patch is completely dry, don your dust mask and use fine-grit sandpaper to even out the patch. Be gentle – you don’t want to give yourself another hole to repair. If necessary, apply another coat of compound and repeat the process, always waiting for the compound to dry completely before sanding it. Repeat until you have a smooth surface. To finish, prime and paint your wall as usual. 


Repairing minor drywall damage yourself is a fairly straightforward task – but if your DIY drywall repair ever leaves you scratching your head or in doubt about the source of the damage, give us a call. 

A good drywall repair is forgotten in a moment but a bad one gets noticed daily for a lifetime. Our experts can pick up where you left off or let you know if a more extensive repair is required. When it comes to your walls, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.