Applying Spackle to Ceilings: An Easy Guide

Spackle is a paste that is used specifically to repair holes, dents and cracks in walls and ceilings. You can use it to repair wood or wood furniture, but usually wood filler is a more useful product for that application. According to the actual product label, the name “Spackle” is actually a brand name and registered trademark of the Muralo Company, Inc. There are other brands that refer to it as “spackling” or “spackling compound.” For ease of reading, I will use the name “Spackle.” Spackle is typically available in two forms: regular and lightweight. The lightweight spreads easier and dries faster, but the dried product is not as hard as the regular. Spackle usually comes in a plastic container, the most common sizes being a Pint or Quart. The following is a guide to repair cracks on a ceiling using Spackle.

Materials required:

-Sandpaper or sanding sponge
-Putty Knife small enough to fit in the Spackle can
-Paint and paint applicators

Step 1: Prepare surface

All cracks should be wider than 1/8″. Any finer cracks should be widened out with your putty knife. Remove any loose or unsound paint or plaster, and clean the surface thoroughly.

Step 2: Apply Spackle

Using your putty knife, scoop out a small amount of Spackle and apply it evenly to the crack. Be sure to fill the crack completely, not leaving any air trapped behind the patch. Smooth the patch even with the surrounding area. The better you are able to smooth the edges out to a “feather,” the easier the next step will be.

Step 3: Sand smooth

After allowing sufficient time to dry, usually 30 minutes, sand the patch with sandpaper or a sanding sponge with a 220 grit or finer. If you have patched and sanded properly, the patch should appear to be seamless with the rest of the ceiling, and feel smooth to the touch.

Step 4: Cleanup

Clean the patched area with a damp rag; you can use a household cleanser, too. Put the lid on the Spackle nice and tight and store in at room temperature. Clean your putty knife with soap and water and dry immediately to avoid rusting.

Step 5: Paint

Hopefully you have the same paint on-hand as is currently on the ceiling. If not, painting the whole ceiling is the best way to ensure that the color is consistent.

You’re done! If you successfully applied the Spackle, the area should look just like the rest of the ceiling.

Tips & Tricks:

-When ready to paint, use a flat latex ceiling paint. The glossier the paint, the more imperfections will show on the ceiling, including an imperfect patch. Flat paint is much more forgiving and generally looks better on a ceiling.

-Use a putty knife that is the right size for the patch your making, but also make sure it fits in the can of Spackle.

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