The garage makeover is in full swing and today I am sharing some tips for using spackle or joint compound on drywall. While it certainly isn’t the most glamorous topic, the prepwork for painting or any DIY project is often the most important step. First, spackle and joint compound are essentially the same thing and I will probably use them interchangeably. Spackle usually dries faster and comes in smaller containers. You can use either to do whole walls or patch a hole in the drywall.
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Get the Right Tools
In our home, we have literally used over 20 gallons of joint compound to patch, fill, and smooth out our walls. With all this patching, we have developed a few ideas on the best tools for the job.
A small putty or scraper knife – around 3-5 inches wide. This is the best tools for applying the spackle. Plastic or metal doesn’t really matter, but we personally like the handles and durability better of the metal putty knives.
A wide taping knife – While the putty knife if best for applying the spackle, a wide taping knife is so much better for smoothing out the spackle. No ridges and you get more uniform application or spread of the joint compound.
Pole Sander – For large walls and especially ceilings, this tool is a must.
Don’t Put the Joint Compound on Too Thick
Although your first instinct may to lay down a thick coat of joint compound for coverage, this will only cause more sanding. The trick is to get an even coat that spreads out well beyond the area that actually needs to be filled. Even though the joint tape is about 2.5 inches wide, you can see in the picture below that the joint compound is spread much wider than the tape itself. This makes the transition from joint tape (or nail hole) to drywall smooth and you won’t see lips or raised areas once the paint is applied.
Don’t try to skimp and patch as least double to triple the width of what you are covering.
Wipe It Down
Sanding and using spackle creates a lot of dust. Paint does not stick to dust. Make sure to wipe down the wall with a lightly damp rag to remove any dust. Don’t rub too hard as the joint compound will soak up some of the moisture from your cloth. Allow to completely dry.
Don’t Forget to Prime Before Painting
Joint compound is very porous. Especially with higher sheen paints like satin or gloss, a wall patch will be very noticeable unless you prime underneath the paint. Even for a small hole, use the same type of roller you used to paint the wall. This will give you a seamless look between where the patch was and the old wall.
The job is certainly tedious but I am loving the results so far! It took us 3 weeks to get the walls and ceiling painted and we are glad it’s over. Next we start on recoating the floors which is a really exciting project. Oh, I am dying over here! If it turns out like I think, we might just have the prettiest garage on the block. Stay tuned!
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