Whether you are building a new wall or making a few drywall repairs, you will need to know how to spackle the drywall in order to create a smooth finish. The finish you see on a completed drywalled wall has a lot to do with your technique in spackling and smoothing the surface of the drywall. Here is a step by step list of how to spackle sheetrock and get a nice smooth finish that will be ready for any color or finish of paint.
Step 1 - Fill the Holes and Imperfections
Using your putty knife, put a little spackling paste on the edge of the knife and push the putty into the hole. Take the spackling knife and smooth the putty over the hole. Spacking paste tends to shrink as it dries so you can leave a little extra paste on top of the hole. Don't worry if the spackle is a little higher than the wall when wet.
You can apply the same procedure if you are fixing a dent or a small imperfection on your wall. Instead of pushing the putty into the hole, simply push it over the imperfection or over the little dent on the wall. Do not be afraid to add a little extra spackle.
Step 2 - Allow Spackle to Dry
You will need to give the spackle at least 3 to 4 hours to dry. A full day is even better.
Step 3 - Re-Spackle Large Holes
If you are working with larger holes, you will need to reapply the putty with your spackle knife. How do you know if it needs more? The hole will look like it is bulging at the seams. This is the tell-tale sign that you will need to add additional spackle. Large holes may take 2 to 3 times more spackle before it is ready to sand.
Step 4 - Prep your Work Area
Before you proceed, put on your face mask. Sanding spackle does create a lot of dust. Also, if you are working in a room that is filled with furniture and personal belongings, cover everything including the floors. If your room connects to another room, tape up the doorway with another drop cloth or plastic sheet. This will prevent the dust from traveling from one area to another.
Step 5 - Sand Down Spackle
Using your sanding sponge or block, sand the spackle down until the wall is a flush and even surface. You should always start with the medium grit side of your sanding block or sponge. After you have developed a uniform wall, take the other side of your sanding block and sand down the spackled location. The fine grit side of your sanding block will help to smooth out the surface.