How to Spackle a Wall in 4 Steps

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If you wish to repair minor damage issues in your wall, spackle is one of the best materials you can try. There are lots of great materials you can consider to handle dents, blemishes, or cracks in walls but spackle works more effectively for DIYers. It arrives in a convenient tub that’s ready to apply for lots of wall repair projects.

The only thing to keep in mind regarding spackle is that it’s not really a solution for more serious wall issues. You can only make use of its repair abilities for those superficial holes or surface flaws. As long as the drywall hasn’t suffered extensive damage and you only plan on covering small blemishes and holes, spackling is your best bet.

1. What is Spackle Exactly?

To fully understand the repair potential of spackle as well as its limitations, it’s worth getting a proper overview of the material’s essential characteristics. Spackling compound is based on gypsum powder and can be used for patching small issues in various types of walls such as plaster, wood, and drywall.

You can buy spackle in a dry powder form but most people prefer the paste form so there’s no need for additional water mixing. This type of compound can be sometimes confused with drywall joint compound but that’s another product that’s not really intended for proper spackling. As its name suggests, it’s applied to cover joints between wallboard panels. Joint or drywall compounds are different from spackle because they’re usually applied in projects requiring more serious reinforcement.

2. Types of Spackle

Spackle comes in different formulations but the most commonly used ones are lightweight and vinyl. You can think of lightweight spackle as the most basic type. It’s very easy to use right out of the tube but its fluffy texture makes it seem quite flimsy compared to other spackles. Here’s our favorite lightweight spackling to use that can be found on Amazon.

Vinyl spackle is another popular type of spackle that’s more versatile and sticks more efficiently. It’s safe to say that vinyl spackle performs better in all the common small repair project scenarios. Vinyl spackle compounds tend to dry slower so that can be a great advantage in some situations. Check out this high-quality vinyl spackle made by Red Devil, available on Amazon.

The best applications for lightweight spackle include covering small holes. This compound isn’t recommended for broad patches where vinyl spackle offers superior performance. Now that you have a good idea about spackle and its different formulations and applications, it’s time to guide you through the process of using it to repair small wall problems.

3. How to Apply Spackle to Walls

Step 1Prepare the Area

You can’t spackle a wall directly as the wall needs to be nicely cleaned and smooth enough to allow for optimal adhesion of the compound. Also, you need to ensure that your spackling spot is free of any fragments protruding outward. Make sure the surface around the hole or crack is as smooth as possible.

A putty knife is the recommended tool to remove any protruding edges and to maintain a smooth wall area. It’s also useful to eliminate any loose paint from the damaged spot. Try to avoid working too roughly because there’s a risk of making the crack worse. Don’t worry about stripping good paint surrounding the hole because it’s necessary to repaint the wall area later anyway.

While the putty knife is quite useful for getting rid of any protruding debris, smoothing down the surface can be done more effectively with the help of fine-grit sandpaper such as this one found on Amazon. Once the area is smooth enough to apply the spackle, clean it thoroughly by using a damp cloth.

Step 2 – Apply the Spackle

Use the putty knife to apply the spackling paste of your choice. You only need a small amount, enough to fill the hole in the wall you’re patching. With the help of smooth motions and a sharp angle, start spackling the wall to fill the damaged area properly. It’s important to spread the compound evenly so it could pay off to incorporate an additional putty knife that has a narrow blade.

Once the hole has been nicely filled with the spackle, it’s time to remove the excess compound from the wall carefully to avoid the spackled spot. Use the putty knife for scraping or take a damp cloth until the area is clean. Make sure you tackle this job before the compound gets the chance to set.

Step 3 – Let it Dry

After finishing the spackling, it’s important to leave the repaired area untouched for some time to allow the compound to dry. It can vary from one product to another but spackle will usually take a few hours to dry. Keep an eye on it for possible issues. For example, it can get a little depressed in the process so bringing some extra compound could be recommended to make sure that the crack or hole is evenly covered.

Once the waiting time for drying is over, you can run into another problem. The patched surface may appear slightly raised compared to the surrounding wall area. This usually happens in case you’ve added too much spackle. The solution is simple – just sand it down to maintain a uniform appearance. You can use sandpaper for this purpose.

Step 4 – Paint

A small spackling project won’t require complete repainting of the entire wall. If the damaged area is really small, you might be able to manage just fine by painting only the patched area. It’s recommended to use a sponge paintbrush for this task, such as this pack available on Amazon.

In case you needed to deal with multiple cracks or dents in the wall, it’s probably best to fully paint the wall. This is also the recommended course of action when it’s not possible to use the exact same paint because you need to maintain a uniform look.

If you’re not familiar with wall painting, it’s recommended to start by getting the furniture out of the way. Drop cloths are required for protecting the floor. Painter’s tape is another useful item to have for this project because it will offer better protection against splashes of paint for areas such as baseboards and door hinges.

After the wall has been spackled and properly painted, the result is a seamless look that will make it appear brand new.


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