How To Spackle Walls: What Every DIY Enthusiast Should Know

Whether there’s a minor hole in the wall or a trail of nail marks, learning how to spackle walls is an easy DIY job that requires zero construction experience.

While hanging drywall, taping, and mudding is difficult and most often requires professional help, patching small holes with spackle is something you can do.

How To Spackle Walls

What Are Spackle Walls?

Spackling is the process of covering holes and making repairs in drywall with a material known as a spackling paste or compound. Spackling paste is made from gypsum powder, hydrated calcium sulfate, and glue.

The term “spackle “is a registered trademark of the Muralo Company from New Jersey.  Today, it’s a generic term for any type of “spackling” compound. 

When you hear the word “spackle,” assume it’s drywall putty, which is different than drywall mud. Drywall mud, also known as joint compound, has a thinner consistency and is best for large drywall jobs, like mudding over drywall tape.

What Size Holes Can You Spackle?

Spackle on its own works best for small holes less than 3/4 inch in diameter. Holes over 3/4 inches may require a patch or fiber mesh tape for reinforcement before spackling. 

Types Spackling Paste 

Spackling Paste Vs. Drywall Mud

Most spackle is premixed and comes in a tub or tube. Aside from premixed spackle is powder. You’ll need to mix powder spackle with water before use. While less convenient and less common, the benefit of powder spackle is the ability to mix small batches.

Here’s a look at other types of spackle.

  • Lightweight spackle – includes vinyl in its formula and is best for small repairs, like nail holes. 
  • All-purpose spackle – includes acrylic in its formula and is best for larger holes over 1/4 inch in diameter. 
  • Fast-drying spackle – dries in as little as 15 minutes.
  • Color-changing spackle – goes on as a pink or purple and turns white when it dries. 

How To Spackle Walls

How To Spackle Walls

Spackling walls isn’t difficult, but it may take trial and error to get the hang of it. Learn how to spackle walls with this simple step-by-step guide.

Supplies to spackle walls:

  • Spackle compound 
  • Putty knife
  • Fine grit sandpaper or sanding sponge
  • Dry cloth
  • Drywall patch for medium to larger-sized holes

Step 1: Prep The Area

Ensure your drywall is dust-free, dry, and free of gunk. Use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the area. Pay special attention to any jagged edges or raised drywall paper around the holes. After that, dust the wall with a dry cloth (don’t get the wall wet).

Step 2: Prepare The Putty

If you purchased a powder spackle, mix it according to the directions. Premixed drywall spackle is most common and comes ready to use.

If you’re using an older package of premixed spackle, stir well before applying.

Note: If you are fixing a larger hole that requires a drywall patch, apply it now. Small repairs, like nail holes, don’t need a mesh patch.

Step 3: Fill Holes

Load the end of your putty knife with spackle. Then, tilt the putty knife at an angle and glide it down and over the hole. If you didn’t get the hole completely filled, repeat the process. Pull the knife back over the hole at a 90-degree angle to remove excess.

(Don’t worry about getting it perfect – you’ll end up removing too much putty. You can fix mistakes later. It’s better to have a little too much spackle on the wall rather than not enough.)

Use a damp cloth to wipe excess putty off the edges or anywhere you accidentally got it on the wall.

Step 4: Round 2

After a few hours, check your work. If the drywall putty is dry, but it’s sunk in the wall, or part of a hole is exposed, apply more drywall spackling. Holes over 1/4 inch often require a second coat of spackle. 

Use enough spackle to fill in the problem areas, leaving a little excess in case it shrinks as it dries. Wait 2-3 hours for your second layer to dry.

Step 5: Sanding

After the spackling has dried, use fine-grit sandpaper and a feathering motion to smooth the spackle. Ensure the spackle is smooth and blended in with the wall.

After the sanding is done, you can repaint the wall – but use a primer first. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How Do I Spackle My Wall Before Painting?

Spackling before painting can help smooth out the area. It is best to use a very thin layer unless there are holes in the wall and then sand it until it is smooth after the spackling dries. Just make sure you don’t sand the spackling all away.

How Do I Spackle A Hole In My Wall?

You can spackle a hole in the wall by using a thick spackle that can fill the hole. After the first round is dry, check it for imperfections. Then go back over it, let it dry, and sand it down. Taping can be done for certain types of holes. 

How Do I Texture Walls With Spackle?

You can add texture to drywall with drywall mud but not with spackle. Drywall spackle is made for repairs not for textured walls. We have a guide on texturing drywall that you can follow and find the right pattern for you. 

Can I Make A Faux Brick Wall With Spackle?

Again, spackle is not for texturing drywall. But you can use a joint compound that is similar to create the bricks. This can look really amazing, so make sure you follow a tutorial to get the most out of it. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Spackle Walls?

Most of the time, you want to stick with either a 120-grit or a 150-grit for sandpaper. This is the best way to get your area smooth without wearing it away or without leaving room for the paint to stick to the walls. 

Should I Hire A Professional To Spackle Walls? 

That depends. If you feel comfortable spackling your own walls, then you shouldn’t let anything stop you. It isn’t a difficult job if you learn a bit before you do it. But that said, you should feel comfortable hiring a professional too.

These contractors are trained and experienced and can make the job go very smoothly. For repair jobs, you will probably only pay for about an hour of work because they can get it done in no time at all! 

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Written by Murat

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