How to Spackle: Tips From the Experts 

Posted on: July 21st, 2021

At one point or another, there will be dents, dings, or holes in the walls of your home that will need to be repaired. So, knowing how to spackle and fill in these holes yourself can be a very useful skill. It’s actually a very simple process to learn if you know the steps and have the right set of tools to work with. Whether your toddler threw his toy at the wall leaving a dent or you lost your footing while awkwardly carrying your new couch up the stairs, life just happens, and knowing how to spackle and patch minor damages lightens the blow. 

How Long Does Spackle Take To Dry? 

There are a few different factors to consider when determining the drying time of spackle. It’s important to note that there are a variety of different spackles on the market with varying dry times. Some are fast-dry and others may take significantly longer to process. Also, temperature and humidity play into things. Extreme hot or cold conditions slows down the drying time. And finally, if you’re filling a rather large area, plan on a much longer dry time. 

Fast-drying spackle may take only a few minutes to dry but it isn’t wise to start sanding or painting for at least another 1-2 hours. Normal spackles will take 1-2 hours to fully dry but we don’t recommend sanding or painting until a full 24 hours has passed and the drying is complete. 

How Long Should you Wait Between Coats of Paint

Joint Compound vs. Spackle 

People often assume that joint compound and spackle are the same product. While applied similarly, they are different products, each with its own pros and cons. Personal preference aside, these products will both patch holes but the size of the hole may determine which one to use.

What is Joint Compound? 

Joint compound has the consistency of plaster and is typically used for larger jobs. You may have heard it called drywall compound. Joint compound is made by mixing gypsum dust and water into a thick paste. For your convenience, it often comes in pre-mixed containers so it’s ready to use. Here are a few of the benefits of choosing joining compound:

  • More dense, and all-around more durable 
  • Much easier to sand down than spackle 
  • Can use multiple layers to fill a hole or thicken a wall
  • Overall, less expensive than spackle 
  • A better choice for finishing drywall seams 

What is Spackle? 

Spackle has a consistency of paste but tends to be a bit drier than joint compound. It comes in lightweight and heavy options. Lightweight works great for smaller holes and dents and is made from vinyl. The heavy option is used to thicken walls or fill larger holes and is made from acrylic. Most people prefer to buy premixed spackle but you can certainly purchase the powder and mix it yourself when needed if you prefer. 

Here is a list of advantages of spackle: 

  • The best choice for filling small to large holes in your wall
  • Dries quicker than joint compound which means it can be sanded and painted over very quickly 
  • Doesn’t shrink as much as joint compound once it’s fully dry
  • Spackle is much easier to apply and spread due to the thinner texture

Do I Have To Prime Before Painting?

How to Spackle a Hole 

Before you get started on any DIY project it’s always important to have the proper tools and materials set aside. This will make any project run smoother and get finished faster than having to stop and search for a tool you may not even have in your possession. Here is a list of tools and material to have on hand. 

  1. Putty knife 
  2. Sandpaper 
  3. Spackle or compound of your choice 
  4. Rags for cleaning 

Step 1 

The first thing you’ll want to do is pick your compound. As we mentioned earlier, the size of the hole being repaired will be the biggest determining factor. A lightweight spackle includes a binding agent and works great for smaller holes. If your hole is as wide as ¾ inch, an all-purpose or heavy compound may be the better choice. 

Step 2 

Your next step is to prep the hole so the spackle will adhere well. Sand down any rough edges or debri from the perimeter of the hole until the edges are smooth.

Step 3 

Now you’ll want to mix or prepare the compound of your choice and apply it to the spot needing repair. If you purchased a powdered compound that needs to be premixed, be sure to only mix the amount you will need for the current repair you’re working on. You don’t want to throw money away by mixing more than necessary. 

Load your putty knife with a healthy amount of the spackling compound and apply in a downward motion starting at the top. 

Step 4 

Once you’ve completely filled the hole, you’ll want to level it off with your putty knife. Take care not to push too hard and pull putty from the hole. It doesn’t need to look perfect since you will be sanding over it once it’s completely dry. 

Step 5 

Use a damp cloth or rag to gently wipe any residual compound from the area you’ve been repairing. 

Step 6 

Most spackle compounds will shrink when drying. Go back and check to see if the patch has recessed. If so, simply apply another layer of spackle. Most holes deeper than ¼ inch need to be filled more than once. Don’t be concerned if an excess amount of spackle remains. The sanding step will smooth it out. 

Step 7 

Allow the spackling compound several hours to dry. Lightly sand the repaired area until it is smooth and flush with the wall. Wipe away any dust that is left behind. 

Step 8 

Now you are free to repaint the repaired area to match the rest of the wall.

Where to Buy Spackle in the Sacramento Area? 

Spackle and drywall mud are very easy to come by and can be purchased at almost any home improvement store in the Sacramento area. Capital Ace Hardware store along with Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Walmart are all convenient locations to purchase spackles. Whether you’re looking for premixed or powder form, you shouldn’t have any problem finding numerous options at these nearby locations.

How to Spackle Conclusion

If you live in the Sacramento area and have questions about how to spackle or any other questions regarding painting projects around your home, contact PaintRite Pros today. We offer a variety of high-quality painting services to people throughout the Sacramento County area. Our services include exterior house painting, kitchen cabinet painting, interior painting, garage floor epoxy, fence painting, commercial painting, ceiling painting, and much, much more. If you need a Sacramento handyman, we recommend hiring LnL Construction. 

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