Patching holes in plaster walls is a skill that every homeowner or renter should master, because – things happen. Whether you’re dealing with a minor dent or a significant cavity, knowing how to patch holes in plaster can save you time and money.

With over two decades of experience in residential and commercial plastering, I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you restore your plaster walls to their original glory.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Preparing the Area
  3. Cleaning the Hole
  4. Applying the Filler
  5. Achieving a Smooth Finish
  6. Preparing for Paint
  7. Common Mistakes to Avoid
  8. Conclusion
  9. FAQs
Patching holes in plaster


Patching holes in plaster is a common task that can arise from everyday wear and tear, accidental impacts, or during renovation work.

As an experienced plasterer running a successful business in Canberra, I’ve seen all kinds of plaster damage.

This guide will walk you through each step of the repair process, ensuring a professional finish every time.

Preparing the Area for Patching Holes in Plaster

Before you begin patching holes in plaster, it’s essential to prepare the area properly to ensure a seamless repair.

  1. Cover and Protect: Use plastic sheeting or drop cloths to cover the floor and any furniture near the repair site. This will protect your belongings from dust and debris.
  2. Safety Gear: Always wear safety goggles and a dust mask to protect yourself from fine plaster dust.

Cleaning the Hole

A clean surface is crucial for the filler to adhere correctly.

  1. Remove Loose Material: Use a utility knife or scraper to remove any loose plaster or debris from the hole.
  2. Dust Removal: Brush out the dust with a dry paintbrush or use a vacuum cleaner with a nozzle attachment.

Applying the Filler

Selecting the right filler and applying it correctly is key to a durable repair.

  1. Choose Your Filler: For small holes, a pre-mixed plaster filler is usually sufficient. For larger holes, you might need a setting-type plaster.
  2. Application: Apply the filler with a putty knife, pressing it firmly into the hole. Overfill slightly to allow for shrinkage as it dries.
  3. Layering for Large Holes: For bigger repairs, apply the filler in layers, allowing each layer to dry completely before adding the next.

Achieving a Smooth Finish

Once the filler is applied, achieving a smooth finish is essential for a professional look.

  1. Initial Sanding: Once the filler is dry, use medium-grit sandpaper to level the surface.
  2. Final Sanding: Switch to fine-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish, blending the repair into the surrounding wall.

Preparing for Paint

Proper preparation before painting will ensure your repair is invisible.

  1. Priming: Apply a primer to the patched area to seal the filler and prevent it from absorbing paint unevenly.
  2. Painting: Once the primer is dry, paint over the patch with your wall colour, feathering the edges to blend seamlessly.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these common pitfalls to ensure a successful repair.

  1. Rushing the Drying Process: Allow adequate drying time for each layer of filler.
  2. Over-Sanding: Sand gently to avoid creating a depression in the wall.
  3. Skipping Primer: Always prime the repaired area to ensure even paint coverage.

5 Reasons to Choose Our Plastering Services

  1. Expertise: Over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial plastering.
  2. Comprehensive Services: From new builds to renovations, we cover all your plastering needs.
  3. Quality Workmanship: We take pride in delivering high-quality results.
  4. Local Knowledge: Understanding of Canberra’s specific building requirements and styles.
  5. Customer Satisfaction: Dedicated to ensuring our clients are happy with the finished product.

For more information or to request a free quote, contact us today!


Repairing holes in plaster can seem daunting, but with the right approach and tools, anyone can achieve a professional finish. Remember, preparation and patience are key. 

If you need further assistance or would like a professional touch, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Patching holes in plaster


You’ll need a utility knife, putty knife, sandpaper, primer, and plaster filler.

For large holes, it’s best to use a setting-type plaster that provides more strength and stability.

Drying time depends on the filler type, but generally, it takes about 24 hours for each layer to dry completely.

Yes, priming ensures even paint absorption and a consistent finish.

Yes, with the right tools and instructions, DIY plaster repair is achievable.

For very large holes, you might need to cut out a section of the wall and replace it with new plasterboard before patching.

Apply the filler in thin layers, allowing each to dry completely, and use a setting-type plaster for larger repairs.