Can You Sand Spackle? Pro-Guide on How to Sand Spackle?

There’s a lot of debate over what the best way to spackle is – whether you should use a putty knife or sandpaper. In the end, it really comes down to personal preference. Some people find that using sandpaper makes the spackle go on smoother, while others find that it’s harder to get an even coat. Ultimately, it’s up to you which method you prefer. Just make sure to use whatever works best for you and gives you the smoothest finish!

Table of Contents

  • Spackling vs Joint Compound
  • Can You Sand Spackle with a Random Orbital Sander?
  • Things You Will Need to Sand Spackle
    • Sanding Sponges
    • Sandpaper
    • Sanding block
  • How to Sand Spackle? [Pro Guide]
  • How to Sand Spackle without Dust?
  • How to Wet Sand Spackle?
  • How Long Does Spackle Take to Dry?
  • Final Words

Spackling vs Joint Compound

Spackling vs Joint Compound – What’s the difference?

Joint compound comes in a dry powder form that is mixed with water to create a paste for filling cracks and small holes. There are many types of joint compounds on the market, each differing in terms of hardness, color and texture. But they all work by bonding to plastic or wood surfaces so you can patch cavities throughout your home. The curing times vary from product to product but most don’t require curing time before painting over them with your choice of paint color. 

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What Is Spackling Material and How Is It Different from Joint Compound?

If you are looking for a cost-effective material to seal any holes or cracks on your walls and ceilings around the house, then spackling materials may be what you’re looking for. But before heading out to the nearest hardware or building supply store, you need to know that not all spackle can do the job right.

Most people tend to look at spackling as simply “joint compound”, but it is so much more than that! Let’s take a closer look.

What is spackling material?

On the most basic level, spackling material is a drying compound made of gypsum (plaster) and resin. The mixture dries clear so you can paint over it without worrying about traces or lines to be seen. Like joint compound, spackle has been around for decades in the construction industry. You can find a wide variety of products that fall under this category: patches, sealants and fillers – all varying from one another based on hardness, texture and other properties.

How is spackling material different from joint compound?

There are several characteristics that set these two materials apart:

Texture/Hardness: Spackle is thicker than joint compound making it ideal for patching holes and cracks on walls and ceilings, sealing gaps around pipes, baseboards and woodwork. It’s harder than joint compound so it can fill large holes much better. Joint Compound is smoother and acts as a filler while allowing an ample amount of time for drying before applying your paint finish.

Color: Spackle is available in white or hardwood color to match most surfaces especially if you’re working with stained woodwork or cabinets. Joint Compound comes in white but they are also available in brown/mocha (typically used for painting trim) or gray (often preferred by remodelers). The color of the compound depends on the manufacturer; Some prefer using brown colored joint compound when doing kitchen renovations because brown is easier to match with cabinetry if the walls are being painted.

Cleanup: Spackle can be cleaned up with just soap and water. Joint compound, however, requires a special type of putty knife to prevent the chunks from sticking onto it. If you can’t find one at hardware stores near your place, just ask any carpenter where he gets his stuff!

Usage: While joint compound is used for filling holes and cracks in woodwork (i.e., baseboards), spackling material is best suited for larger surfaces and hard-to-reach areas such as wall patches or ceiling repairs.

Spackling material may be what you’re looking for if you’re planning on doing more DIY home projects. A lot of users prefer working with spackling material because it dries clear, so you can paint over it without worrying about the finish or traces of joint compound to be seen. If you are simply painting over a wall patch and won’t be repainting the area again in the near future, then spackle should do the job just fine!

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Can You Sand Spackle with a Random Orbital Sander?

By now, I am sure you have got the answer to your question. You don’t need a random orbital sander to sand spackle. Spackling compound can handle at most 6×6 inches’ holes. To sand that kind of area you are better off with a sandpaper and a sanding Sponges. In a situation like this, using random orbital sander will not do any good.

A random orbital sander is a powerful electrical sanding machine. It is designed to handle big projects. Projects like those need buckets of joint compound and a lot of time (maybe 2-3 days) to get those joint compound completely dry. There you need to sand a large area in very little time. Random orbital sander comes handy in time like that.

But in small cases, it is needless. Spackling compound dry really fast. It takes only 1-2 hours to get dry. It only takes a couple of minutes to sand 6×6 inches’ area with sandpaper.

Don’t get me wrong. You could use an electrical sander, but I don’t see the need for it. You can choose drywall hand sander form below:

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Things You Will Need to Sand Spackle

Sanding Sponges

Our first choice is the sanding sponges. Those are small, lightweight, and easy to handle. Using sanding sponges is very convenient for some light sanding. They are made of synthetic material and comes in various sizes. Usually sanding sponges come into the size of a block. Though it’s called sponges, it has some rigidity. It has a grit built on the surface and stays flat during sanding. Makes it perfect sanding material to be used in small angular shaped areas.

Sanding sponges are washable, reusable, and durable. It gives you the flexibility to use it dry or with water. See, when you use dry sanding sponges, it creates sanding dust. It’s not a big deal when you are sanding a small area. But when are sanding a lot of spackle you may want to do it with a dump sanding sponge. It’s a method called wet sanding. Wet sanding is popular with repairman since it does not create sand Dust. At the end of this article, we have discussed wet sanding in details. 


You can use sandpaper for sand spackling as well. Just make sure, you select the correct grit sandpaper for the job. For sanding spackle, you may want to stick with 100 grit -150 grit sandpapers.

A little advice, be cautious while choosing the grit of the sandpaper. If the grit us too rough, it will make a scratch mark on the spackling patch. Those scratches will show later through the paint. And if the paper is too smooth, it will take unnecessary time during sanding.


While sanding, make sure you apply even pressure on the sandpaper. Uneven pressure from your finger on the sandpaper will create pressure points. It will result in a “wave-shaped surface” on your wall.

Sanding block

A sanding block is another tool that can be used for sanding spackles. Usually, sanding blocks are made of plastic or woods. They are widely available and cheap to buy. The average price of sanding block 6-7 bucks in amazon.

You can use any sanding paper with a sanding block. Just pick the required grit sandpaper for a specific job, cut it with a scissor, insert it into a sanding block and you are good to go.

Pro-Tip for The Beginner

Do you recall, I have mentioned a problem of pressure points using sandpaper with hands? That kind of problem will not happen with sanding blocks. When you are using a sanding block, you put pressure on the handle of the sanding block. The plastic or wooden made block will evenly apply the pressure on the sanding paper. So, there’s no chance of creating pressure points.

Hold the sanding block firmly, rub the spackle with a rotating motion, and you will get the smooth surface you want.

How to Sand Spackle? [Pro Guide]

Repairing damaged drywall may seem an easy job for the professionals but not to the beginners. There are tons of stories online of struggling with spackling compound by beginners. Sometimes they put too much spackling compound on the repairing area, and sometimes they put too little. And then when they try to sand it, they create more mess rather than solving it. We are sure our Pro guide on How to Sand spackle will help You.

Step 1:

Try to identify the problem as early as possible. Take a closer work at your work. If you think you have put excessive spackling compound, wipe it off with a soft cloth. Redo the whole process of applying spackling compound on the repairing area. The Spackling compound is very soft when it is wet. It takes about 3-4 hours to get fully dry and hard.

Step 2:

let’s assume you have missed the lump of spackling compound it steps 1. A couple of hours have passed, and the compound is now dry and hard. This means you have no other option than sanding it.

Takes a sanding sponge or a sanding paper. Gently rub on the extra spackle with a rotating motion.

Use your figures, slowly slide our figures over the repairing area. You will feel whether the excess spackle has been sand away or not. If not, rub it with a sanding paper again. Do it until the repairing area is as smooth as the surface area surrounding it.

Don’t rush. Remember if you sand away too much spackle you have to start for the beginning.

Step 3:

Now that you have a nice fixed smooth surface, all is left to do is painting.


When you are dealing with drywall related products, a dust cloud is inevitable.  Though spackling dust is not poisonous, it tends to create respiratory hazards. So, while you are sanding, make sure you wear an N95 mask. The mask will keep the dust out of your lungs. You can use any regular vacuum cleaner to remove the dust from your house.

How to Sand Spackle without Dust?

But there is a way to sand spackle without dust. It involves a wet dusting method. The wet dusting method is far from perfect. It is not recommended to be used in a wide area. Since it requires water, the wet sanding technique can only be performed on a water resistance drywall.

Check out the video to see the best way to sand spackle without a mess:

How to Wet Sand Spackle?

Step 1:

Take a bucket and fill it with Luke-warm water. Dip the sanding sponges into the water and wring it. Sanding sponges do not absorb as much water as regular sponges. So, don’t wring it too hard. Let some water stay in the sponge.

Step 2:

Start with the abrasive side of the sanding sponge. Sand away noticeable high spots. Don’t press too hard with the sanding sponge. Gentle circulation motion moves should do the job.

Step 3:

At this step, you should see some spackling compound on the sponge. Rinse it away with water and sand it again. Keep doing it until you get a smooth surface.

Step 4:

The final step is letting the wall dry. Try to be patient in this step. Wait at least 24 hours for the wall to get fully dry.

How Long Does Spackle Take to Dry?

It can take up to 24 hours for spackle to dry.

It’s important to work with a well-ventilated area and in moderate temperatures. Let the spackle get halfway dry before adding it, and wait as long as needed after that before sanding down any drips or runs with some medium grit sandpaper.

Spackle dries quicker if you apply a thin layer of water over the surface beforehand and let it dry naturally. Silicone sealer could be useful to prevent future cracking, but keep in mind that this might compromise paint adhesion later on if you plan on repainting your walls at any point in time. The simplest method is simply allowing plenty of drying time between layers – 24 hours at minimum.

Final Words

Sanding, painting, repairing, and working with drywall related products is something that everyone should be familiar with. Yes, you will face some difficulties in doing it. But don’t let these minor problems discourage you. Start today, and you will become a respectable handyman tomorrow.

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