Joint Compound Vs. Spackle: Top Difference & When To Use (explained)

Joint compound vs. Spakling

Joint Compound Vs. Spackling: Difference & When To Use

  • Joint compound. Best used for taping drywall, finishing drywall.
  • Size: 3 or 5-gallon bucket. For larger areas (whole walls).
  • Best use: New drywall taping, finishing.
  • Spackle. Ready to use for small, medium drywall holes.
  • Size: Small pints to several gallons, variety of sizes, colors.
  • Best use: Patching holes (from nails, screws, broken drywall)

If you have a building repair or a wall project in hand, then it is quite likely that you will find this article interesting and relevant.

Generally, as an unwritten rule, joint compounds are considered to be suitable for larger projects. While this could be an advantage, quite often joint compound is not kept on hand in home and therefore may not be available for ready usage.

When undertaking such projects and repair you certain have some joint compounding, sealing and other such requirements.

You also might require some spackling work.

While both joint compounding and spackling have their own features, benefits and specialties, you must be aware of the same.

Hence, we will try and understand the difference between joint compound vs. spackling and also look at other important points.

Joint Compound Vs. Spackling: Spackle

We now have a reasonably good idea about joint compound.

As mentioned above, spackling is also used for various wall and building works, repairs and renewals and other such works.

Spackling has its own features and benefits.

We will try and have a look at spackling in some detail.

What Is Spackle?

It basically is a paste-like product and it has quite a few things common with joint compounds.

We also need to understand that the base product for spackle is gypsum which also is the case for joint compounds.

The difference between the two perhaps lies in the scale in which they are used.

  • Joint compound is considered to be more versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes.
  • It could be used for sealing joints, for prepping drywall before the first coat of paint and so on.
  • On the other hand, spackle could be useful for much smaller applications and household uses.
  • It could be useful for correcting small cracks and imperfections in the wall. If you have any DIY painting work, spackling could be a good option.
  • It comes in various consistencies and each one of them cater to different situations.
  • Spackles with thinner consistency could be suitable for small repair jobs whereas thicker grains could be the choice for heavy-load patchwork.

Pros of Spackling

  • It is perfectly suited for small holes, nail holes or small wall repair.
  • It is user-friendly and comes in a ready-to-use formulation.
  • It is perhaps more cost effective when compared to joint compound.
  • It leaves behind a lasting solution for small problems and issues pertaining to walls, joints and other such places.
  • It will not shrink once it is applied.
  • For repair works, it is considered to be the best option.
  • Great for smaller applications, smaller repairs on the interior walls

Cons Of Spackling

  • Not suitable for large size projects and works.
  • It cannot be used for sealing purposes.

When Not To Use Spackling

As mentioned above, when you have heavy-duty sealing, filling and other such works, spackle will not be suitable.

If you are looking for cost-effective solutions, then plaster or joint compound could be the best option.

It is not suited for sealing works.

Types Of Spackles

The most common types of spackles are drywall mud, hot mud spackle and pre-mixed spackles.

Each one is unique and can be used keeping in mind the requirements and the surfaces on which they are being used.

Also of Interest:

Joint Compound Vs. Spackling: Joint Compound

Joint compound is a combination of gypsum dust that is mixed adequately with water.

We all know that gypsum is the most important and primary material in drywall or gypsum boards.

When this gets mixed in water, it becomes consistent and perhaps can be compared to cake frosting.

  • When it is in this condition, the users find it easier to lather on their work materials.
  • It also helps to create a smooth and nice base that is perfectly suited for an indoor wall painting project and other such requirements.
  • It also comes in very handy for smooth and professional finish work of drywall seams.
  • It also is used for doing some minor repair works.

Other types of joint compound include plaster of paris or gypsum plaster.

It can also be called drywall compound that is for large area, or even the entire surface.

Hence, it is quite obvious that it is one of the most commonly used materials for such jobs.

However, we also need to understand that it may not be the best material whenever there is a need to fill up larger holes.

This is because joint compounds have a tendency to shrink and it also retracts quite a bit.

Having said so, when you are in a pinch situation, joint compound could be one of the best options available.

Joint compounds are best suitable for larger projects. While this could be an advantage, quite often joint compound is not kept on hand in home where spackle is usually in every shed or garage.

When To Use It?

Though there are a number of uses of joint compound, they are considered the best option in hanging drywall.

It is therefore the product of choice for remodeled homes.

Joint compounds are available in ready-to-use mixes. When it is used for new walls, it could remove all blemishes from the surface of the drywall.

It also comes in handy for gypsum panel joint finishing works. trim and fastener works and corner beads.

Types Of Joint Compound

Though many might be tempted to use the same joint compound across the board, it would be better to use different types of joint compound based on the project you are working on.

We will talk about a few of the most commonly used joint compounds.

  • Pre-mixed compounds are the most popular.
  • They belong to the air-drying variety.
  • It will give you time to work on the mud and you will not be stressed with the worry that the whole thing will become dry.
  • It is suitable when working on a large space. Lightweight compounds are also used regularly. They are light in weight and density.
  • Taping is another type of joint compound that is used in the taping stage and finishing process with skim coating. For larger jobs it is a better choice, the best way.

Pros Of Joint Compound

  • New drywall installations, larger area, the whole wall
  • Smooth surface and smooth finish with thin layers of gypsum
  • It saves time and effort.
  • It saves on water and in fact water is not required.
  • The finish is of high quality
  • It makes the place less dusty and messy.
  • It is easy to apply, skim coats
  • Quickly apply a second and third layer
  • Easy to apply corner bead
  • Can be a lightweight formula and fix large cracks
  • Can also be used on small projects

Cons Of Joint Compound

  • Weight is a big disadvantage.
  • Takes a Long Time to dry on the wall surface
  • Unless they are taped properly the finish might not look good. A quality paper tape will make this projess easier but still takes time.
  • May not be suitable for small works and projects.
  • You will need to apply several coats of joint compound for a smooth finish

Joint Compound Vs Plaster

Plaster is a technology that has perhaps outlived its utility and is not used very frequently in homes.

Modern-day homes are constructed with the help of walls that are built using a wall-board.

For such types of constructions, joint compounds are considered to be a better, cost-effective and durable solution.

It also is easy to use and is highly versatile and flexible.

Top Yard Tools I Use:

Kill Lawn Grubs Now! – This is what the professionals use when you need to get your lawn back….You can apply merit yourself and save 400%. You can check it out on Amazon here. Merit works 10x better than GrubEx or cheap Big Box brands.
Kill Grubs naturally – This is a great organic grub treatment that kills grubs naturally. It is very effective and will not kill your earthworms. I have had much better results with milky spore than with chemicals. You can get it here on Amazon.

Grass seed that grows! Kentucky Bluegrass seed mix designed for full sun and light shade, with a fine-bladed texture and medium drought resistance here on Amazon.
Kill crabgrass now! Yard Mastery Granular Pre Emergent Herbicide 0-0-7 .38% Prodiamine. This is the professional-grade crabgrass control from the Lawn Care Nut (his other company is called Yard Mastery). Available here on Amazon.
Fertilizer & soil improver. This really works. Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Sun & Shade –
-3 in 1 Lawn Fertilizer, Seed, & Soil Improver
-Thicker, Greener Lawn,
-up to 4,000 Sq Ft
Available here on Amazon.
Change your own oil and save $80 – Clean – does not spill
– Easy to dispose of oil
– Well made
– Pays for itself on 1st oil change!
Check Price on Amazon here
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is qSolid steel
Quality material
Made in USA (Rockford, IL)
Check Price on Amazon here
This image has an empty alt attributeIf you are looking for the best American-built hand tools it makes sense to check out this Round Point Shovel. It is made by Bully Tools, one of the best hand & garden tool manufacturer in the Steubenville, Ohio.

This image has an empty alt attributeIllinois Glove Company 21 Buffalo Grain Gloves
Extremely durable
Soft, comfortable and flexible
Easy to hold shovels, pickaxes or rakes.
Breathable lining and leather
Made in Illinois
This image has an empty alt attributeEveryone knows Channellock Pliers are the best pliers you can get. They are rugged and durable and can be passed down to your children once they are old enough for tools. I still have a pair from my dad that is over 40 years old and still works great to this day. They have been in business for over 100 years.

Joint Compound vs. Spackling: Summary

We are sure that the above would have given our readers a reasonably clear understanding about joint compound and spackling.

Whenever there is a need for small types of work spackling could be a sensible option.

However, for large-scale work that is complex in nature, there is no substitute to joint compound.

Both have their own features, uniqueness and versatilities and users should choose the one that suits their specific needs and requirements.

D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

Recent Posts