How to fix holes, chips and damage in your walls

How to fix holes, chips and damage in your walls

We’ve all been there.

Clumsily knocking into the wall with a suitcase, or carrying your bike through a narrow hallway.

A moment of carelessness can damage the paint, or worse, the plaster.

Little nicks and knocks in walls are normal. They always happen over time and can add character to a home. But if you’re redecorating or giving your space a spruce for spring, you’ll probably want your walls to be looking neat, smooth and blemish-free.

The good news is that repairing small spots of damage on your walls isn’t as complicated as you might fear.

We asked Tobie Lewis, senior brand manager at Valspar Paint, to share his top tips for repairing wall damage and fixing holes and scratches:

How to fix damage to your paint

‘Cracked and chipped paint needs to be cleared,’ says Tobie.

He suggests using a flat-edged scraper to get rid of any loose paint – keep going until you’ve worked away all the paint.

‘If a crack needs repairing, use a hairline crack filler to fix the problem,’ he adds.

‘Let that dry and with sandpaper, smooth down the repair. Sand the rest of the area and smooth down any harsh paint edges. The aim of this is to have a flat surface to work with.

Next, you should give it a quick clean with sugar soap and wipe it down with water.

‘This gets rid of visible and invisible dirt build-up, leaving you with a surface that paint can easily stick to,’ says Tobie.

Shop your kit

What you’ll need for fixing holes, chips, and damage in walls:

  • A scraper to remove paint, £4.90
  • Filler, £6.20
  • Sandpaper, £3
  • Sugar soap, £5.25
  • Paint

‘Once the wall is dry, you’re ready to paint. If it’s a very, very small area you’re painting, a fine brush will work well.

‘Apply the paint in small amounts, lightly feathering along the crack.

‘If you’ve ended up removing more than a crack’s worth of flaking paint (don’t worry, it happens), then use a normal-sized brush or roller to feather and blend the paint.’

Then, all you need to do it let the first coat dry and check to see if it needs another.

Tobie has another top tip that’s worth keeping in mind: ‘If you’ve bought a new build property, you should ideally wait a full year before changing the colour of the walls.

‘This gives the property the chance to expand, flex and retract throughout all the seasons and so get all the cracks out the way.’

How to fix chipped walls and holes

Chipped paint is an easy fix, but Tobie says you first need to check if the damage only affects the paint – or the plaster too.

‘For damaged plaster, use an appropriate filler to repair the chip,’ says Tobie. You can always ask for advice on this in your local hardware store if you have no idea which product to use.

‘If you don’t do this and just paint over the damage, it won’t be a strong repair and is more likely to chip again in the future,’ he adds. ‘Once the filler has dried, sand it so it’s flush with the wall.

‘If you’re not filling in the plaster, you still need to sand the chipped paint. Smooth down any rough or peeling edges of paint so you’ve got a clean and clear patch ready for painting.’

How about if you have a bigger hole to deal with? Maybe you need to fill in a hole from an old nail, or there’s a bigger patch of damage caused by renovation or building work.

For tiny nail and screw holes – there’s a really easy fix. Use a putty knife to fill them with spackling or wall joint compound – both of these products can be found in your local hardware store, or ordered online.

Allow the area to dry, then sand it gently.

Fixing bigger holes is a bit more complicated, because the wall will need to be strengthened as well as filled. You can’t just whack some filler into a big hole and hope for the best.

For holes that are a few inches wide, you will need to use a bridging material for strength first. You can bridge the gap with a piece of adhesive-backed fiberglass mesh.

You can usually find this in a wall repair kit that should include everything you need.

According to home improvement blog This Old House, there are four steps to using bridging material to fix a bigger hole in your wall:

How to fix uneven paint patches

For whatever reason, your paint might have uneven patches where it’s scuffed, faded, or not been properly applied, but there are easy fixes to combat this:

‘For slightly raised edges after using a roller, use a 120-150 grit sandpaper to sand down the raised edges and smooth out the bumpy bits,’ Tobie tells

‘You just need to do this very lightly until the raised edges are smoothed down. If you sand too hard, you might end up taking off the flat paint underneath. If done correctly, you shouldn’t need to touch up the paint.’

If you have some areas of paint that are lighter than others, Tobie says that’s just to do with the distribution.

‘All you need to do is wait for it to dry and add another coat.

‘Visible brush marks can be infuriating for perfectionists and annoying for the rest of us. If the brush marks are raised, use the same technique as roller marks to sand away the bumps.

‘If the brush marks aren’t raised, paint another coat until you can’t see them anymore.’

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