We just had our 1,000-square-foot house insulated with blown-in insulation. Now we have 180 patched-up holes in our interior walls that need be sanded and primed before we repaint. The holes themselves are about two inches in diameter; the plaster goes out anywhere from six inches to a foot.

How difficult and time-consuming would it be to sand and prime the holes ourselves? If I estimate five minutes per hole, I get 15 hours; is that realistic?

We have one estimate for $1200. That seems like a lot for something we could theoretically do ourselves, especially when we have other upcoming projects that will require professional work.

Should we get another estimate, pay the $1200, or do it ourselves?

  • Invest in a palm sander, and it might be even less than 5 min per hole. (assuming you already have the area cleared out, so you don't have to worry about dust containment, and just a simple drop cloth for the paint) – Joe Oct 5 '11 at 16:17

If the holes are already patched and all your are doing is sanding it down to a smooth finish before you prime, it will be way less than 5 minutes per patch.

Personally I would do it myself but how valuable your time is something only you can answer. If you get the sand paper made specifically for sanding joint compound (like this it will go really fast. Obviously doing the whole house will take a while but I think your esitmate of 5 minutes per patch it high. Though if you pay someone else, would they be doing "wet sanding" to reduce the amount of dust in the rooms (that is something I have not done and I don't know how much harder it would be)? That may be a consideration unless your rooms are already a mess from the actual insulation procedure.


You're looking at about 1 minute of sanding per small patch, not 5. However, you'll be looking at a LOT of dust.

In my experience, a $20 vacuum sander can SERIOUSLY reduce the dust.

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After you sand, take a large clean sponge and just dampen it slightly and go over each spot gently with the sponge to get a near mirror smooth finish on the drywall. Even with 180 holes you're seriously only looking at a couple of hours to finish the job.

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