Since drywall is the most popular type of wall covering, knowing a little bit about how to repair them and DIY tips can be useful. Learning to hang drywall is no easy task, but learning to repair it can be.
When it comes to the beginning of drywall mudding, you want to hire a professional unless you want to be left with a choppy job nearly beyond repair. But as far as spackling goes, you can start doing your own repairs today.
What Is Spackling?
Spackling is the process of covering holes and making repairs in drywall with a material known as spackling paste. The most spackling paste is made from gypsum plaster from hydrated calcium sulfate and glue.
The term spackle is actually a registered trademark of the Muralo Company from New Jersey. It was first marketed in 1927 then patented and trademarked in 1928. However, today, it is used as a generic term for any type of “spackling” compound.
So when you hear the word spackle, assume it is referring to a type of drywall mud instead of a brand like it originally meant. This type of drywall mud is also different than “drywall mud.” Let’s get more into that difference.
Spackling Paste Vs. Drywall Mud
A lot of people tend to confuse these two terms: spackling paste and drywall mud. But the two are not the same and can’t always be used in place of the other. There is an easy way to remember which one is which.
Spackling paste is like a thick paste you can squeeze through a tube. It is pre-mixed and used to fill holes and small cracks in drywall. It is primarily used for repairs and shouldn’t be used in large areas.
This paste dries quickly, can be painted over, and has less shrinkage than drywall mud. However, it is only for small areas on walls that have already been mudded. Spackling paste isn’t too easy to use either.
Spackling paste is finishing work. So although it isn’t beginning drywall work, which is crucial, it is visible. So mistakes you make will be noticeable unless in an area that people don’t see very often.
Drywall mud is usually used for hanging new drywall. It is used to cover joints and anything that isn’t smooth when you hang drywall the first time. It can be used over large areas and is a little thinner than spackling paste.
Drywall mud can be found in pre-mixed containers or in dry powders that you add water to and mix yourself. You can use drywall mud instead of spackling paste if you need to but you can’t use spackling paste instead of drywall mud.
It takes drywall mud a long time to dry, sometimes an entire day. But spackling paste can dry in less than an hour. However, because of the thinness, drywall paste is easier to use so it is often preferred overall.
How To Spackle Walls
Spackling walls isn’t all that difficult once you get used to it. But it does take a little time and a few mistakes to learn the ways of spackling. Learn how to spackle walls with this simple step-by-step guide.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Everyone will make mistakes, especially at first. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it until you are doing it like a professional in the business for decades.
Step 1: Prep The Area
It’s important to make sure that the area of drywall you are spackling is dust-free, dry, and free of any gunk. So first off, sand the area down to make it smooth. Then, dust it with a cloth but don’t get the wall wet.
Water can damage drywall and ensure that the spackling doesn’t stick. So keep it dry. If you need to wipe it with a barely damp cloth then you can but dry it off really well with a lint-free cloth afterward.
Step 2: Prepare The Putty
Now, this all depends on whether you chose a pre-mixed compound or not. For spackling walls, you can choose either though pre-mixed is more common. For pre-mixed, you may need to add a little water if it’s too thick.
Either way, stir it well before applying it to the walls as it can separate. If you got the powder, you will need to read the package carefully to find out how much water to add. Find that perfect texture.
Step 3: Fill Holes
Fill the holes in the drywall with the spackling compound using a putty knife. Then, tilting the knife at an angle, smooth it out. It doesn’t have to be perfect as you can sand it later, so make sure you add enough.
For cracks, you will use the same method, focusing more on smoothing with this step as this is the surface of the wall. You can also use this compound to cover nail holes that didn’t get covered well previously.
Step 4: Round 2
After a couple of hours, go back and check your work. Everything should be dry, but if there are any holes or places that didn’t get covered well, you can go ahead and add some more spackling. A round two is normal.
Sometimes, the spackling will shrink as it dries unexpectedly. So don’t be surprised if it looks different than what you applied earlier. This is normal and usually just requires a second coat to make up for the shrinkage.
Step 5: Sanding
Finally, it’s time to start sanding. After all the spackling is dry, take sandpaper and gently start sanding the area. Make sure to overlap so that you can make sure it is smooth over the entire wall, not just the area you added spackling.
After the sanding is done, you can repaint the wall. Unless of course you decide to do any stomping or add unique drywall patterns, in this case, you can move onto that step to match the rest of your wall.
Where To Buy Spackle Wall Materials
While you can buy spackling materials and gear at department stores like Walmart or home improvement stores like Lowe’s, the best place to buy it online is at Amazon. Although there are many options, it is a safe choice.
These items can take you through all of the steps of spackling drywall, while oftentimes letting you skip pesky steps in the process. Making things easier is usually a good thing. Check out this list of everything you might need.
Here is a pre-mixed compound used for spackling. It is the classic approach for people who have done spackling before. It comes in multiple sizes and you can purchase putty knives and other tools from the same page.
This is the basic compound that you can apply using the steps we discussed above. It is the most difficult type to use out of the ones we will include but it is also the safest choice because it always works.
This putty is one of the simplest solutions if you have little to no experience with drywall repair. It applies just like stick glue or even deodorant. You don’t need a putty knife. After it dries, it can be dusted and painted over.
This kit doesn’t even use a compound. It is for very small holes. You just add the sticker and paint it over it. This is very simple and is perfect for small holes but isn’t going to work for larger holes that are irregular.
This drywall fabric makes it easier to mud your walls and works like drywall tape for larger areas and cracks. You put mud under it and over it, smooth it out, and sand it out. Then you have a smooth surface to work with.
This spackling paste works the same as regular spackling paste only it comes in a tube. It also comes with putty knives so you have everything you need all in one place. This saves on money and makes things easier for small repairs.
This putty isn’t just for drywall, but it can work on almost any surface. Including drywall! Use it in hybrid areas like doorframes to repair small holes and cracks. It dries nicely and can be painted over.
Finally, we have a refillable paint pen that can make touch-ups much easier. You can use it after your drywall mud or spackling paste dries and paint the tiny area easily and mess-free. It can keep paint fresh for years!
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!