8 Tips for Applying Spackling Compound

A man uses spackling compound on a wall

Spackling compound is a sealing material that is available in powdered and paste forms. It basically consists of gypsum, polymers, dolomite, and mica, among other materials. When purchased in the paste form, all you have to do is open the container and apply the spackling compound with a putty knife. The powdered form requires the addition of water to make a paste that is then applied to the surface. Spackling compound is ideal for covering holes and cracks on a variety of surfaces such as drywall, plaster, wood, and even metal. Below are some useful tips for applying spackling compound.

1. Follow Required Safety Procedures

When you apply spackling compound, you must protect yourself from contact with the material through the skin or by breathing. Wear gloves when mixing and applying the spackling compound. Also wear safety goggles and a respiratory mask to protect your eyes and to prevent breathing in fumes.

2. Mix Small Amounts at a Time

If you use the powdered version of spackling compound, mix only the amounts you require. It is best to mix as much as you can use up under half an hour. This will prevent drying of the material. When mixing, add small amounts of water at a time until you achieve a smooth peanut butter-like consistency. Excessive water will cause the spackle to run.

3. Cover Large Amounts of Spackle Paste with a Film of Water

If you are handling a large surface area and have a sizeable amount of spackling paste ready, there is a chance that it will dry up. To prevent this, pour a thin film of water on top of the spackling compound. This will prevent drying. Keep in mind that you must not mix the water with the spackle, because it may become runny.

4. Keep Applications Tools Neat and Handy

When you apply spackling compound, you will need several tools such as a putty knife, corner tools, and trays. Keep this equipment neat and ready for use at all times.

5. Clean Surface Thoroughly before Application

Before you apply spackling compound, you must thoroughly clean the surface area. It must be free of grime, dirt, dust, and paint particles. If the surface is glossy, rub it with sandpaper.

6. Allow Sufficient Drying Time before Painting or Priming

After you apply spackling compound, it will take a few hours to dry. Depending on the depth and size of the applied area, the drying time may vary. Ensure that the spackle is totally dry before you apply primer or paint.

7. Sand Surface before Painting or Priming

Once the spackling compound is dry, sand it till you achieve a smooth surface. If any dents remain, reapply the spackling compound as necessary. After you finish using the spackling compound, wash off the tools and trays with warm, soapy water.

8. Do Not Use in Wet or Cold Conditions

Never apply spackling compound outdoors when there is a chance of rainy weather. Avoid cold temperatures as well, because there is a chance the compound may freeze.