How To Repair and Prep Cracked and Crumbling Walls for Painting

Apartment Therapy Tutorials

Repairing small cracks and holes in your walls is an essential home improvement skill. It's quick and easy to do on your own, once you know how. We've gathered together a few good tips and photos to show you how its done; check it out, gather your supplies and give it a can do it!

What You Need


  • Light weight spackle or non-shrink joint compound


  • Putty knife
  • Fine grit sanding block


1. Sand around the crack or use a putty knife to remove any loose paint or drywall.

2. Using a clean putty knife, apply a small amount or spackle over the crack. You need just enough to cover. Adding too much spackle can create more sanding work than necessary, so be frugal.

3. At a slight angle, carefully scrape over the filled area with the putty knife to remove any access spackle.

4. Feather the edges, so you get a smooth transition.

5. Let the spackle dry for 30 - 60 minutes, then lightly sand with 200-300 grit sandpaper.

6. You are now ready to paint. Tip: If the crack or hole is large, prime the area before painting the surface. Spackle will absorb the paint differently than a painted wall and you'll be able to see the difference.

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(Image credits: June Bhongjan)