By "spackle" I mean the material used for smoothing over joints & small imperfections in drywall / sheetrock.

I have seen & heard of numerous terms for this material:

  • Spackle - not sure if this is a generic term or something specific

  • Joint compound, including...

    • "All purpose"

    • Lightweight, ultra-lightweight

  • Setting compound

  • XX minute mud (where XX is something like 5, 10, 20, 45, etc.)

This may not be a comprehensive list at all.

I'd like to know what the best-practice use of these different materials is. It seems that different types are used in different situations or in a certain order.

Also these may be USA-centric terms but I know drywall is certainly used in many parts of the world and an international answers would seem useful.


1 Answer 1


Spackle is a brand name for a wall patching compound.

Joint compound is what is used to smooth over the butt joints and corners of newly installed drywall aka gypsum wallboard in order to achieve a finished surface.

Setting type joint compound such as Durabond 45 or similar (the number indicates the 'open time' or workable time but it's usually significantly less than the number stated in real life) is a fast setting and tough compound that can be used for either patching or for the first coat of 'mud' when taping drywall joints.

Be careful when using the pre-mixed 'spackle' type products. The are easy to use and dry or 'set' quickly but they are very soft and more easily dented than the setting type joint compounds.

  • Good answer. Just to add, all these vary in terms of ease of sanding. Spackle, lightweight and topping mud are typically easy to sand; all purpose joint compound less so; and finally, setting compounds even less so. Jan 2, 2019 at 4:15

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