Nail Hole Filling, Less Is More

As an estimatorfor ALLBRiGHT PAINTING for the last eleven years, I have had the opportunity to be in many, many homes and there is one mistake I see homeowner make time and time again when it comes to patching nail or other small wall hanger holes. They use too much patching compound to fill a tiny hole. They take the patching compound (spackle) and a putty knife and spread a large amount of spackle over the hole and create a “flat spot” on the textured wall that then stands out more than the small hole did.

Most of the homes in the Southern California / Los Angeles communities have a texture on the walls and ceilings that was applied by the original builder. It is either an orange peel texture or a heavier texture called knockdown or splatter. The texture isused by the builder is to cover up small imperfections in the drywall and is less expensive than completing a Level 5 smooth drywall finish. Having a textured wall surfaces means that the patching needs to be done differently than if you had a perfectly smooth surface.

Larger holes, let’s say more than an 1/8” to 3/16”in size, will need to be patched with the putty knife and then spot textured using an aerosol spray texture can. However, smaller holes like those made from a simple wall hanger or finish nail used to hang small wall items can be patched with much less effort. Instead ofspreading a large amount of spackle on the hole and therefore creating a larger area that will need to be spot textured, simply take a small amount on your finger and push it into the hole until it is filled. Then, lightly “tap” it with your finger tip to add a little texture to it so that it blends in better with the existing texture. This will eliminate the need to spot texture the area and can save you time (and money if you are paying someone else to do the patching & painting). It will also look much better because spot texturing almost never matches the existing texture and will slightly stand out once it is painted over. So yes, you may have thoroughly filled that hole, but in doing so, you created a texture difference that will look unsightly. So keep it simple and remember, less is more when it comes to filling smaller holes when you have textured walls.