Time: 2 Hours
Skill Level: Easy
Project Cost: $15-$25
Professional Cost: NA
Tools you Need

Swing a hammer and miss? Learn how to repair a large hole in plaster wall.

Fixing or patching a large hole in a plaster wall is actually much easier than you might think. The key to a successful patching job is to use the correct type of patching product. You might be overwhelmed by what is offered to you in the home improvement aisle, but Bauen has tested them all and highly recommends using a strong setting compound.

DIY or hire?

Repairing a large hole in a wall is definitely a project you can do yourself. By the time you find a handyman to fix it, you could have already repaired it! However, consider hiring a professional if the hole goes all the way through to the wall cavity. The project becomes a little more advanced.

Bottomlineottom Line. This is a simple project with high returns. If you plan on selling your house patching holes will greatly increase its appeal.

Assess your situation prior to starting your project. You might learn something!

1. Was your house built prior to 1970?
If yes, there is a good chance your house has lead paint in older paint layers. Also, having plaster walls is a good indication you might have lead paint. These lead-based paint layers could potentially be exposed. If you can see these additional paint layers, we recommend testing for lead paint. Want to learn more about lead paint and testing?

ALL ABOUT LEAD PAINT – Click to learn more

2. Does the hole in your wall go straight through to the wall cavity?
If you see dark space, then yes the damage extends through the wall depth. This requires a different repair method. We will are working hard on adding this to our project library.

Bottomlineottom Line. Definitely be on the look out for lead paint. We recommend testing just for the peace of mind.


Prep work is super easy and consists mostly of protecting the area

1. Protect your furniture and floors. If you are patching multiple holes in the room you might want to consider covering or removing furniture and curtains. Compound dust is very fine and can magically find its way into just about anything. Cover floors with plastic drop cloths and secure them to the baseboard using paint-specific tape. You don’t want fine joint compound dust finding its way onto your floor.

2. Protect yourself. Wear a respirator and goggles when sanding. Compound dust is fine and can find its way into ANYWHERE. Wear gloves when mixing the compound.
3. Clean the damaged area. Scrape any raised edges around the hole using your painter’s tool. Remove any loose debris such as wall pieces.

Bottomlineottom Line. Wear a respirator and protect your floors! The dust is very very fine.

Time is of the essence

1. Mix the compound. Pour 2 cups of setting compound powder into the mixing cup and add a small amount of water until you produce a consistency that is a little thicker than cake icing – yum! Mix thoroughly and quickly since the compound starts to harden once mixed with water.

2. Application time. Use your 4 inch putty knife to apply the compound over the damaged area. Apply liberally! You will sand at the end so it IS ok to put a little extra on. Clean your putty knife after application. Remove excess with a paper towel and then wash knife with water and soap. Dry thoroughly with a rag. This will prevent rusting.

3. Let the compound dry. Dry times will vary and can be affected by humidity and temperature in the room. You might need to do another pass with the compound if the applied compound sits below the wall level. The compound’s color will lighten and will become rock hard – this is how you know it is dry.

4. Sanding time. Sand the area using a fine sanding pad. Make sure you wear your goggles and respirator. Run your hands over the area as you are sanding to make sure you sand it down to the same level as the wall.

5. Congratulations! You are done. Now you have a few options.

  • Leave it. Not in the mood to paint.
  • Prime and paint to match the wall color. There is a chance you will see the patched area under your paint. This is due to the new smooth finish of the patched area.
  • Skim coat. Skim coating is a resurfacing process that will leave your walls looking like new. This process covers up the texture differences from patched areas. It is a process of applying thin layers of joint compound to the wall and then sanding it smooth. Joint compound has essentially the same consistency as setting compound.

HOW TO SKIM COAT WALLS – Click to learn more

Bottomlineottom Line. Make sure to use the proper patching compound. You might be tempted to use the 5 minute setting compound. Just remember – it will dry FAST! Clean your putty knife. 

Ready to start repairing that hole in the wall?

Time to take the guesswork out of what home improvement repair products to buy. Purchase our project kit that includes all the tools needed for a successful repair job.

large hole in plaster wall
Price from: $19.41
Price from: $20.41
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