can cure a wide range of little wall problems that often add up to a big chunk of your security deposit. So before you leave your campus digs or move house, take a little time out for quick corrective action.
When faced with a wall of nail holes, cracks and random gashes, spackle
is your friend. But when you go to the big box home store and ask for it, you'll get one of two things: A tub marked "spackle" or a pail of joint compound. If you get the latter, don't panic. For us home DIYers, the stuff is generally the same thing, functioning to repair holes in the wall. Though I know the pro contractor set might disagree, the main difference I've seen is that joint compound doesn't dry out as fast as spackle.
Next you'll need a spatula for spreading the spackle across the damaged area. Though the plastic ones are cheaper, go for the metal instead. (Or at least a metal-edged plastic model.) Metal will level the spackle more precisely than plastic. If you don't have the requisite ventilating mask, primer and paint to match the wall, now's the time to get them. And for your final purchase, pick up a sanding block.
With tools in tow, you're ready to go back home for the repair job. Let's assume that you've opened the door too hard, sending the knob into the wall, leaving a gash. Pick out the crushed bits of wall from the gash, leaving a clean crevice. Now, apply a good sized blob of spackle to your spatula and spread over the crevice to fill, using a smooth stroke. Wipe away the excess from your spatula, then use the clean edge to level out the spackle filling. Don't make it too flush; remember that spackle constricts as it dries. A wet sponge can be used to even-out big blobs.
After the spackle completely dries, check to see if you need another layer (which you will need if it's a big area to repair). If so, repeat the filling process. If not, then you can sand the area smooth and apply primer/paint as needed. You're done.
Want to learn more about the riveting world of spackle (and joint compound)? Then check out...
How to Fill Gaps in Walls with Joint Compound
How to Prepare a Room for Painting
Renters: Home Improvements That Move With You