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Repairing minor cracks, screw holes and other drywall imperfections before painting is vital to the process. Here’s what you need to know to patch drywall and create smooth wall and ceiling surfaces that are ready for a fresh coat of paint.

Man drilling screw into wall

Painting over small holes and cracks can often make them more noticeable. Take the time to repair them properly to set yourself up for success when it comes to the actual paint job. We even show you how to fix nail pops—slightly raised small circles that can be found on your wall.

Remember to take your time, read all labels and follow all instructions carefully.

3. Remove the Old Finish

If you plan on moving or removing most types of wall hangings, small holes are inevitable. And cracks in drywall can appear anywhere.

The good news is, fixing small holes or cracks in your wall is easy to do. Follow the simple tips in this step-by-step guide and you'll be on your way to a smooth drywall surface that's ready for a fresh coat of paint.

Supplies Checklist: Fixing Cracks and Small Holes


Putty knife

Sanding block

Sandpaper (220-grit)



person painting wall with brush

Step #1: Clean the area

Skip this step if your furniture is bare wood. Otherwise, use coarse sandpaper (approximately 120 grit) to remove the existing finish and/or paint from the piece. If you like the stain beneath the existing finish and want to keep it, continue to step 5.

Helpful Tip

Textured walls? Talk to your local Benjamin Moore retailer about a texture kit to help fix cracks and holes on your home’s specific wall texture

Person filling hole or crack with spackling

Step #2: Fill the Crack or Small Hole

Load your putty knife with spackling or joint compound as your filler. With even pressure, slide the putty knife over the area to distribute the material.

Depending on the depth of the crack or small hole, you may need to repeat this step a few times. Deep cracks should be filled in gradually, building up the thickness of the filler material one layer at a time.

Helpful Tip

Ceilings are notorious for cracks. To patch them, widen the crack to remove any loose material, creating a groove that is a little deeper and slightly wider than the original crack. Then fill the crack with spackling compound.

Person sanding wall

Step #3: Dry & Sand Lightly

After the filler has fully dried, lightly sand the surface and wipe it clean with a damp cloth or sponge. Allow the wall to fully dry.

Step #4: Prime

Priming seals the filler and helps prevent it from absorbing the new paint. Use a quality primer like Benjamin Moore Fresh Start on all repaired areas.

Helpful Tip

Make sure that each layer you are repairing is completely dry and sanded before adding another one.





A nail that pops up and shows through drywall is known as a ‘nail pop.’ Start by counter-sinking a nail pop with a hammer.

To prevent nail pops from happening again, put sheetrock screws into the stud, on each side of the nail pop.

Fill nail pop holes as you would a screw hole or any other minor imperfection.

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