Do It Yourself Plaster Repair? (Easy Tips)

If you’ve got a hole in your plaster, you might think it’s easier to just replace the entire section of wallboard. But that’s a big job! Plaster repairs are actually pretty easy if you have some basic tools and know-how. 

In this article we’ll go over everything from drilling out screws and nails to removing old drywall fasteners with a hammer and chisel.

How to Repair Plaster Walls | This Old House

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Plaster Repair

Plaster is a type of wall finish that can be used to cover the interior walls of your home. It’s most commonly found in older houses and buildings because it’s an inexpensive material.

There are different types of plaster, each with their own unique characteristics. Plaster walls are typically made from gypsum and water, but there are also decorative plasters available that contain things like marble dust or sand as an ingredient.

While it isn’t uncommon for these materials to crack over time due to normal wear-and-tear, they’re not impossible to repair yourself (even on your own). Here is how you can fix cracks in plaster:

Mix one part plaster powder with three parts water; let it dry until it hardens completely before applying another coat (this should help fill in any gaps). If there isn’t enough material left behind after removing some parts back down again – try using glue instead!

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Install Anchors

An anchor is a metal or plastic device with a screw that is used to attach drywall panels to studs. They’re available in several sizes, but you’ll want to find one that fits snugly into the corner of your wall. 

You can do this by first inserting the anchor into your wall, then measuring it from its top edge to the bottom corner of your wall (this measurement will be about 1/4″ for each side). 

Alternatively, you can use a stud finder and mark where your studs are before drilling out holes for anchors using a drill bit made specifically for drywall installation. 

If possible, place anchors in corners where two walls meet because these areas tend to take more stress than others during earthquakes or other structural damage-inducing events; however placement isn’t always possible as some walls may have been damaged beyond repair

Types of Anchors for Drywall Installation

Anchor TypeDescription
Expandable Toggle Bolt AnchorThis anchor is ideal for heavier objects and comes with two toggle wings that expand to grab the back of the drywall once pushed through a hole.
Self-Drilling Drywall AnchorThis type of anchor is easy to install and requires only a screwdriver or drill to insert. It has a sharp tip that drills a hole in the drywall before being driven into the wall and is great for lightweight items.
Plastic Expansion AnchorA plastic expansion anchor is an inexpensive option for light to medium duty jobs. When screwed in, the sides expand to grip the drywall and the screw adds tension to hold the object.
Threaded Drywall AnchorA threaded drywall anchor has a screw top that locks into place and is easy to remove or reuse when needed. They come in small sizes and are perfect for hanging pictures or lightweight objects.
Winged Plastic AnchorThis anchor works well for medium-duty jobs and has wings that expand behind the wall once the screw is driven into the anchor. They come in various sizes and are ideal for a variety of applications.

Drywall Screw Removal

If you’ve decided that you need to remove some drywall screws, there are several ways of doing so.

Use a screw extractor. The first method is to use a screw extractor, which is designed specifically for removing screws from wood and metal. 

They come in different sizes, but the most common ones are 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch; get the right size based on your existing hole size and then place it over one of your holes, turn it clockwise until it bites into the head of your screw (this may take some time) and then use pliers to pull out the screw!

Use a drill bit sized for #6 screws if possible or larger. You can also cut up some cardboard boxes into strips about an inch long each and slide them under each individual screw head before drilling through them with an electric drill fitted with a Phillips-head bit this will help prevent breakage when using regular bits because they’re made to be used on softer materials such as wood rather than harder surfaces like drywall board). 

This method works well if there aren’t many screws left behind after removal because it doesn’t require any drilling whatsoever; however, if there were many left behind (such as when fixing holes caused by water damage or mold growth), this could produce dangerous shards flying everywhere when done improperly!

Are you struggling to match the texture of your walls after a repair? Don’t stress, find out how to match texture on wall repair with our step-by-step guide that explains different techniques to create a seamless finish.

Perforate the Surface with Nails

If you’re going to do this yourself, here are some tips. First, use a nail set to drive the nails in at an angle. 

This will help them stay in place as they dry and it also prevents any cracking that might occur from driving them straight into the plaster.

Next, use a hammer or a nail punch to drive each of your nails in place. Make sure not to overdo it—if you start breaking through the surface of your wall or ceiling, stop immediately!

Try a Push-Pin Hammer

Before you start, make sure that you have a push-pin hammer and not a regular claw hammer. Push pin hammers are designed for removing drywall screws (as opposed to just nails), so they’re the best tool for the job.

With your push pin hammer in hand, locate the drywall screw head at an angle, and gently tap it until it comes loose from the wall.

Remove the drywall screw with your fingers by pulling upwards on it; if there’s still some resistance left in the hole and you want to be able to put something back into this space later on, consider using some fishing line or dental floss to remove any remaining pieces of wood or plaster that could impede later work there—you can pull out these items with needle nose pliers once they’re loose enough!

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Driver Bit & Small Hole Saw

Using the drill bit, you can easily remove the screws from the wall. To do this, insert a small hole in the wall and then use a hammer to tap out any remaining plaster around it. It may be necessary to use a chisel to remove any remaining pieces of damaged plaster. 

Once all surface damage has been removed, drill another hole for your bit and make sure that it goes all the way through until only wood or drywall is visible on both sides of your hole saw blade.

Once you’ve got both holes drilled into place and are ready to start cutting out damaged areas of your ceiling or wall, place one hand firmly against each side of where you want cutout circle made by attaching piece of wood onto one side (above). Insert blade into top hole (below) and then tighten screw until snugger

Common Driver Bits and Small Hole Saws

Phillips Head BitThis is a commonly used driver bit with a cross-shaped tip that fits into a Phillips head screw. It comes in a variety of sizes and is great for most household applications.
Flathead BitA flathead bit has a flat, single-tipped head and is often used with wood screws. It’s available in various sizes and is a good all-purpose driver bit.
Torx BitA Torx bit has a six-pointed star-shaped head and is great for use with tough and durable screws. It’s commonly used in automotive and appliance repair.
Hole SawA small hole saw is the perfect tool for creating holes in drywall to install anchors or run wiring. They come in a variety of sizes and can be used with a power drill.
Adjustable Hole SawAn adjustable hole saw is great for creating larger holes in drywall or wood. It has blades that can be adjusted to fit different sizes and can be used with a power drill as well.

Try a Heat Gun

A heat gun is a tool that emits hot air. It’s primarily used for stripping paint and softening sealants, but it can also be helpful for warming up the joint compound in your plaster repair job.

If you’re using the heat gun to soften drywall, be careful not to melt or burn it; this will make your repair job more difficult down the line. 

If you have an old heat gun that doesn’t work well or has sustained damage from use, consider buying a new one so you don’t risk ruining your project before it even gets started!

When melting screws into place with a heat gun, avoid touching them with bare skin—they’ll get very hot very quickly once they’re in contact with oxygen in the air around them!

Are you looking to install new flooring but don’t want to hire professionals? Check out our guide on how to put down laminate flooring where we explain how to properly prepare for installation and provide helpful tips to make the process easier.

Use a Hammer and Chisel to Remove Drywall Screws

If you have a hammer and chisel, use them to remove the drywall screws. You can also use an electric drill with a screw-drill bit, but it’s safer to do this manually if you’re not familiar with using power tools (or if you don’t have one).

Using your hammer, drive the chisel into the head of each drywall screw head until they break off flush with the surface and are no longer visible. This is necessary because we don’t want these sharp pieces sticking out once we’re done repairing our plaster wall.

Once all of your screws are broken off flush with the surface of your plaster wall, give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve successfully removed all of those nasty old drywall screws from your wall!

Try a Screw & Bolt Extractor Combo

If you’re looking for a DIY solution to your plastering problems, look no further than your toolbox. A screw extractor is just the thing you need. 

The way it works is simple: drill in and twist! However, there are a few steps you’ll want to follow so that this process goes smoothly and doesn’t cause any damage.

First things first: You’ll have to find out what size extractor is best for your situation—you can do this by measuring the diameter of the hole in question with calipers or another set of measuring tools before heading over to your local hardware store (or online if you’re feeling cheap!). 

If possible, get an extra-thick wall anchor as well; some types of wall anchors may not be strong enough for certain situations so having an extra thick one on hand will help avoid frustration down the line when trying different approaches doesn’t work out quite as planned!

Once home again with all necessary materials selected from those options available at our favorite hardware store nearby, let’s take a closer look at how each piece should be used during this project…

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Use a Cat Claw Tool to Remove Drywall Screws.

If you have to remove drywall screws from wood, use a cat claw tool. The cat claw tool is designed to grab and remove drywall screws with ease.

To use the cat claw tool:

  • Insert the cat’s claw at an angle below the head of each screw so that it grabs onto both sides of the screw’s head
  • Twist gently while pulling up on the handle until all of your fasteners are removed 

Buy or Rent Drill Powered Sockets & Bits

If you are looking for a way to help you with your plaster repair job, there is a tool that can make life easier. The drill powered sockets and bits will give you more speed, efficiency and safety. If this sounds interesting to you then read on!

Drill powered sockets are more expensive than manual sockets but they are much easier to use because they don’t need any manual effort at all. 

All that is required is pressing the trigger button which makes it very easy for anyone who has never used one before as well as those who have had experience with other types of tools such as drills before but did not own one themselves until now so there isn’t anything new about using them which means less time spent learning how everything operates before actually using it in real world applications like fixing up some walls around your house or office building etcetera.


We hope these DIY plaster repair tips have helped you get an idea of how to handle plaster issues in your own home. 

Plaster is a beautiful material that adds character and charm to any space, but it does come with its share of problems. 

The best thing you can do is be prepared for those situations by knowing how to handle those common issues that arise from using it.

Further Reading

For additional resources on repairing plaster walls, check out these helpful articles:

Repair Plaster Walls: Learn step-by-step ways to repair plaster walls with this detailed guide from True Value.

Plaster 101: DIY Repairs, Tools & Techniques: This Old House provides an overview of everything you need to know about repairing plaster walls, from tools and materials to techniques and tips.

How to Fix Damaged Plaster: This Old House offers easy-to-follow instructions on how to identify and repair common plaster wall problems.


What is plaster?

Plaster is a material used for covering and protecting interior walls and ceilings. It is made from a mixture of materials that typically include gypsum, sand, or cement.

What are common plaster wall problems?

Common plaster wall problems include cracks, holes, and water damage.

How can I repair a plaster wall?

The method for repairing a plaster wall will depend on the specific problem you are facing. Small cracks and holes can often be filled with spackling paste, while larger repairs may require the use of drywall tape and joint compound. In more severe cases, sections of damaged plaster may need to be removed and replaced entirely.

What tools do I need for plaster wall repair?

The tools needed for plaster wall repair can include a utility knife, putty knife, sandpaper, joint compound, and a trowel.

Can I repair plaster walls myself?

While some plaster wall repairs can be done by homeowners with basic DIY skills and knowledge, others may require professional help. It’s important to evaluate the level of damage and your own capabilities before attempting any repairs.