So first of, sorry if this is a basic newbie question. I have only owned my home for less than a year and am trying to get handier as I go. I know the basic difference between drywall and blueboard and how to handle each when it comes to big jobs from when I assisted (using the term loosely as I mostly observed and stayed out of the way for the most part) in redoing our basement.

In the upstairs of our home the walls are in good shape, just looking to paint them. In this, we would like to repair some nail and screw holes. These are all fairly small and would not require any mesh or additional drywall or sheetrock. The issue is I dont know whats under the paint, mudded drywall, or plastered blueboard. Does it matter since I am just filling small holes and not adding material? I just want to make sure I'm not making any silly mistakes. Should I be using plaster to fill the hole (this one I am the most sure is not what I should be using), or should I be using joint compound or Spackle. Does it even matter? Again, I realize this may be a silly question, but I'd rather be safe then sorry.

1 Answer 1


Asking the basic questions is what gets us started.... not silly at all.

If they are as simple as nail holes from picture hanging and the like, and there are only a few of them, use spackle. It comes in small quantities, pints for example, so much will not go to waste. It is intended for only small holes.

If there are a lot of repairs, you may want to go with joint compound, it is pretty much the same as spackle, it is easy to sand, water based for easy clean up, but you will get a bunch more for the about the same money. It is intended for larger repairs, or new drywall install, can be built up, but it does shrink a bit, not so that it will fall out. If the shrinkage is noticeable, add another coat, no biggie.

Plaster is way overkill for this type of repair, it requires a skill to use. I have tried to use it before years ago, and it set up as soon as it touched the wall, quite surprising. I now know were it is to be used nowadays, and nail repair is not one of them.

  • Thank you for taking the time to answer. Ok, so basically I can use spackle for small nail and screw holes even if the wall is plastered, without any issue? I was hoping that was the answer but wanted to make sure. Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 14:37
  • Yes indeed, no need to worry about compatibility or staying in place. Do make sure there are no loose bits of plaster on the surface, a dust brush is all it takes to clear them off if any are present. Then again if there are any, it will still stick, it just makes the surface lumpy when the bits get mixed in with the spackle. Makes more to sand, say if there were no loose plaster.
    – Jack
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 22:08

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