When I speak of nicks and dings I am referring to the little boo boos that always seem to happen to walls when one really lives in a house. In most cases a small part of the white top coat is gouged or removed. Pops on the other can occur when hanging pictures or draperies on a plaster surface. Pops may be all the way to the lath but in most cases you just have a small pock or pit that exposes some of the plaster substrate. This fracturing of the surface may be accompanied by some minor peeling of the adjacent top coat.
I cringe every time I read an article or see someone grab a tub of Spackle to fill these areas. Spackle is a wonderful product for very small holes like a nail hole but it is about near worthless for anything bigger. It may be easy but it sure isn't good. It never sets or completely dries and it is just sticking there until in decides to fall out. It is worse than a cheap band-aid applied to a sweaty body on a hot day.
These small imperfections can be fixed permanently using nothing but drywall compound. The type of compound you choose to use is your choice as it really doesn't matter. You may want to review your choices in our article "The Many Types of Drywall Compound". If I have regular pre-mixed all purpose, I use that. It tends to shrink a bit more than the setting types so you may need a second coat.
The process is very similar to filling nail or screw holes in new wall board. Shallow divots can be filled in one coat as long as you use a sanding type compound so that you may remove the excess later by wet or dry sanding. Deeper divots may require 2 coats to get right.
I just introduced you to a new term; wet sanding and I should explain what it is and how to do it. When you are repairing a few little divots in a room it hardy makes sense to tarp the place down or move all the furniture. Any dry sanding even sanding a few little divots will make a real mess that must be cleaned; and the dust goes everywhere.
Wet sanding really isn't sanding at all. You are simply wiping the excess material away with a damp sponge, cloth or even a paper towel after it has completely dried. You need to rinse and repeat until you have a smooth surface. In my opinion it works best when the repaired area is no larger than a half-dollar and has not been grossly over-filled.
The darn thing is finished when it looks and feels smooth. Feel can be a very big part of small patch jobs. The surface may look smooth but if it does not feel smooth you need repeat some part of the process. If you don't, what you are feeling will be quite visible once the paint is applied. At that point it is far harder to correct.
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