Patching and Repair

Make the right drywall repair for a seamless transition before applying new paint

Patching and Repair Buying Guide

Invest a little time and energy and make wall repairs the right way before investing in a new paint job. You can patch large and small holes in wood, drywall and metal as long as you have the right type of patching and repair products on hand.

This buying guide highlights the different types of compounds and plasters available, along with other accessory products to help make your patching job complete.

Types of Compounds

Compounds are workable for a select period of time and can be shaped and manipulated before hardening.

  • Joint compounds are often referred to as “mud” and can be used for taping and texture.
  • Spackling compounds are ideal for repairing hairline cracks and must be applied quickly as they are only workable for a few minutes.
  • Glazing compounds are ideal for use with wood and metal window sashes.
  • Sand and clean surfaces thoroughly prior to applying joint compound.

Material Description/Benefits Applications

Glazing Compound

  • Long-lasting
  • Resistant to moisture and extreme temperatures
  • Remains semi-elastic under a firm, wrinkle-free film
  • Glazing single-pane glass windows into wood or metal sashes

Joint Compound

  • Available in powder or ready-mixed form
  • Available in quick-set formula
  • Comes in bags, buckets, boxes or pails
  • Drywall construction or repair
  • May be used for both taping and texture

Patching Compound

  • Ready mixed for easy use
  • Expands and contracts with surface it's applied to, helping to prevent future cracks
  • May be used indoors or out
  • May not be able to be sanded
  • Repairing cracks in wood, drywall, plaster, concrete and masonry


  • Designed for fast, efficient application
  • Can be painted over within 1-5 hours
  • Generally premixed
  • Repairing hairline cracks


Plaster products come in powder form and once mixed with water, result in a paste-like substance.

  • Plaster is used for interior plaster repairs and generally dries in a short period of time.
  • To help plaster adhere, wet the surface of the plaster wall you are repairing prior to applying it.
  • Plaster of Paris is easy to mix and works well for filling holes in interior plaster walls and ceilings. It can set quickly, so avoid mixing too much.
  • Plaster dries uniformly and can be painted over and textured to match the surrounding surface.


Patching Plaster

  • Sets quickly
  • Comes as a powder that must be mixed with water
  • May be sanded
  • Repairing surface cracks and large holes in plaster walls and ceilings

Plaster Pencils

  • Adheres solidly
  • Dries quickly
  • Repairing fine cracks and small holes in plaster or wood

Plaster of Paris

  • May set in a matter of minutes
  • Can be sanded and painted
  • Comes in the form of a white powder that must be mixed with water
  • Setting bathroom wall fixtures
  • Repairing plaster and drywall
  • Casting, modeling or sculpting for hobby use

General Patching and Repair

Compound accessory products, like putty, epoxy and tape, can be used for patching projects.

  • Putty is a versatile substance that provides strong adhesion and can be used to fill holes, cracks, joints and other defects in wood.
  • Epoxy provides a strong bond and can be sanded and carved after it hardens.
  • Tape can be used in conjunction with compound and plaster to repair drywall.
  • Make sure the repair product you use is compatible with the surface in need of repair.



  • Offers strong adhesion
  • Usually white or metallic in color
  • May be liquid or putty
  • Comprised of a resin and hardener
  • Repairing auto bodies, appliances, plumbing, rain gutters and garden tools
  • Repairing and protecting wood

Fiberglass Patching

  • Provides continued flexibility after application
  • Rain gutters, roofing, interior walls and wood surfaces


  • Available in dry or pliable form
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Some types may be stained, painted or varnished
  • Difficult to sand
  • Repairing cracks, dents, breaks and holes
  • May be used on furniture, wood, concrete or metal
  • Ideal for nail holes and cracks on baseboards and window sills

Surface Prep and Application

Prior to doing any sort of patching, wash the surface to remove dust, dirt, grease, oil and stains.

  • Quick-drying substances will require you to move quickly.
  • Joint compound can be mixed with a masher or electric drill with mix paddle.
  • Some compounds can be applied and shaped with your finger.
  • Wear eye protection and gloves to protect against flying debris, dust and burns, and to prevent substances from hardening on your skin.