Repairing Minor Drywall Nicks and Dents

Nicks and dents that don't break the drywall paper

Small nicks and dents in the drywall that do not break through the paper are very easy to repair. The steps to fix these types of minor drywall damage are similar to fixing nicks and dents that break through the drywall paper. However, there is no need to use drywall paper to reinforce the repair.

Minor nick or scratch in the drywall surfaceUsing just a small amount of drywall mud or spackle, minor nicks and dents in drywall can be fixed. You can use the following steps to fix very minor drywall repairs that do not break through the drywall paper.

Step 1 - Make an indentation

Using the butt end of a six-inch drywall knife, gently press the gypsum on and around the damaged area to create a slight indentation. Make sure to indent the damaged gypsum as well as the surrounding drywall paper.

Step 2 - Check the indentation

Using the metal blade of a six-inch drywall knife as a straightedge, check that the entire damaged area is slightly recessed relative to the surrounding drywall. If any section of the damaged drywall hits the knife, you need to indent the paper or gypsum deeper.

Step 3 - Fill with spackle

Fill the dent with either quick set drywall compound or spackle and scrape it level with the surface of the drywall. Allow the patch to dry and check for shrink back. If the drywall mud has shrunk, add a second coat, again scrapping it level with the surrounding drywall. Usually, two coats are sufficient for small dents but if you notice any indentation, continue until the patch is smooth and level.

The benefit of spackle for very minor drywall repair is that it dries very quickly and does not shrink back as it sets. Spackle is good for these types of small repairs however it is not suitable for larger patches. Anytime, drywall tape is needed to add strength to the repair, drywall mud should be used.

Step 4 - Sand and finish

Once the patch is completely dry, sand the area lightly with a drywall sanding sponge or 150-grit sandpaper. You can check for any imperfections by shining a bright halogen light across the surface. It is better to check for tool marks or pockmarks before painting because once it is painted, these types of imperfections will be more difficult to remove.

Use a good quality primer to seal the new drywall mud. Finally, paint the repair using good quality paint that has been mixed to match the existing color.


Minor nick or scratch in the drywall surfaceVery minor drywall repairs are easily fixed using a six-inch knife and spackle or drywall mud. Quick set drywall mud, also known as hot mud, is best for minor repairs because it sets quickly and creates a hard durable surface. If the drywall damage breaks through the drywall paper, it is best to use a slightly different method from the one described above which involves drywall paper to reinforce the patch.