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Joint Compound vs Spackle

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One of the most important aspects of home repair and maintenance is making sure that your home is protected and withstands any potential damage. With many different materials on the market, it may be hard to know which product best suits your needs.

For this article, we will compare the difference between spackle and joint compound as both products are used extensively in the construction industry for repairs such as filling cracks or holes in walls or ceilings.

What is Joint Compound?

Joint compound is a popular material for finishing drywall. It’s a two-part mixture that comes as a powder and a water slurry. When combined, the ingredients create a thick paste that can be smoothed onto the surface of the drywall.

The texture of joint compound resembles plaster or stucco and often comes in a variety of colors. When the joints are smoothed out with a trowel, it can provide a beautiful finish to any project.

Joint compound can be purchased at any hardware store and comes in various colors to match any type of home interior.


Image: Amazon


Types of Joint Compound

There are many types of joint compound available on the market, but it’s always important to know what type is best for your project. Two different types of joint compound are water-based and oil-based. Water-based compounds have a texture like wallpaper paste and can be painted in its dry state, whereas oil-based compounds often require the use of an applicator and need to be applied when wet or in a thickened state.

Pros of Joint Compound

The pros of joint compound are numerous. Joint compound is a type of plaster used to fill holes, cracks, and imperfections in the wall. It also provides a protective coating that prevents water from getting behind the walls or damaging the surface.

Joint compound can be purchased in buckets for about five dollars or in tubes that are easier to apply but are more expensive. The high-quality joint compound can last anywhere from three months to two years if it is properly stored.

Cons of Joint Compound

As a drawback of joint compound, it takes a long time to dry on the wall surface. This means that one has to remain on site for an extended period of time, which can be cumbersome or inconvenient.

Furthermore, joint compound is prone to absorbing moisture, which can make the drying process take even longer.

Another drawback of is it’s only available in a consistency that is watery and thin, so it can’t be used on small projects where precision is important.

Safety Notes on Joint Compound

Many of the common issues that arise when working with joint compound can be avoided if one follows these simple safety tips. Use a respirator when applying the compound to ceilings and other vertical surfaces when using solvent-based sealant, and always wear gloves when spreading or sanding. Avoid contact with the sealant fumes by wearing an appropriate mask. Dilute sealants in a well-ventilated area, especially during hot weather.

What is Spackle?

Spackle is a paste-like product that’s used to fill and cover small holes and cracks in drywall and concrete. It can be bought in powder or liquid form and is applied with a trowel to smooth out the surface.

For walls, it’s best to use a mix of drywall spackle and joint compound before painting over the surface. For large holes, you can apply buckets of wet spackle before leveling it out with a trowel.


Image: Amazon


Types of Spackle

Every home needs spackle, but not all are created equal. The most common 3 types of spackles are hot mud spackle, pre-mixed spackles and drywall mud.

Drywall mud is the cheapest type of spackle that you can buy. Hot mud spackle dries quickly to create a hard surface for painting. These two types of prepacked spackles are mixed with water for application.

Pre-mixed spackles can be used on projects that require only small repairs, such as fixing imperfections, or where time is not a factor, such as painting a ceiling.

Pros of Spackle

Spackling is a low-cost and environmentally friendly alternative to other costly fixes such as drywall or caulking. Spackle is perfect for small holes in the ceiling, wall or floor due to it’s ability to be shaped using fingers or a spatula, filling any imperfections in a seamless way.

For the average homeowner, Spackle is a staple in their garage. Homeowners often turn to this simple do-it-yourself fix for when they need it the most. It’s user-friendly because you can apply it without any expertise and in just a few minutes and with just one coat.

Many people are surprised when they find out that spackle will not shrink once it is applied. This means that there is no need to worry about the surface becoming uneven or the position of the spackle having to be fixed.

Difference Between Spackling and Joint Compound

Cons of Spackle

Though Spackle is easy to use, it’s not suitable for projects that are too large or for covering larger, more solid areas. For smaller projects, this product has proven to be very effective.

It is not made for sealing purposes because it becomes brittle after exposure to water or moisture.

Spackle can peel off or crack if it is not applied correctly, and it will also not provide the best paint adhesion.

Safety Notes on Spackles

Mischievous children playing in the kitchen can be a risk to themselves and their family. Spackle is a construction adhesive designed for use on drywall, plaster, and masonry that’s not safe when ingested. A suggestion to parents is to keep spackle out of reach when there are kids around.

Difference Between Spackling and Joint Compound


A quick review of the two compounds reveals that Joint compound is a heavier compound that is best used for filling large holes and gaps. Spackle on the other hand is a lighter compound that is best used on smaller, less severe areas. Joint Compound can withstand rougher surfaces while Spackle has a shorter drying time. As you can see there are some differences between these two compounds but they have many similarities as well.