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My wife was reading this article, wherein drywall damage due to the removal of construction adhesive was fixed with spackle.

HOW TO REMOVE A DATED VANITY BACKSPLASH

I thought this kind of repair required joint compound ("mud") and not spackle.

When can spackle, which is easier to work with and dries much faster, be used instead of mud, which dries slower, but much harder?

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You can use either spackle or joint compound. I personally detest the modern "light weight" versions of spackle and will not use them. I use joint compound for most repair applications around drywall. The dry time has never been a big problem for me as most projects are big enough that there are plenty of other tasks to attend to whilst the joint compound dries.

Note: Most of the preferred "old style" heavy spackle is also a pain to use in comparison to joint compound because it drys really hard and is a total pain to sand down. Joint compound is really easy to sand thus giving it one more feather in its cap.

  • Can you explain why you don't like modern spackle? Thanks for your answer. – ArgentoSapiens Jul 27 '13 at 15:53
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    @ArgentoSapiens - Modern spackle is soft and dents easily even when dry, it takes double extra effort to get it to stick in place (particularly when there is dust present in the application area), when you try to sand it there is a big possibility of removing too much and finally I find that the shelf life of partially used containers is pretty short. – Michael Karas Jul 27 '13 at 16:13
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I think spackle should be discontinued as a product because it dosen't offer a lot of benefits and the hazard that people often fail to read about is that it cannot be used for skim coating (that is, filling a surface area) because paint will not stick to it. At the molecular level there isn't sufficient surface area for the paint to touch to adhere reliably. I can tell you that I learned this by personal experience.

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The really important thing to know about spackle is that it can't be used for skim coating (that is any area with an exposed face) because the molecules are too far apart to offer sufficient surface area for adhesion (I asked the manufacturer). There may be exceptions but if you read the label even those that are "self priming" exclude use for skim coating.

The other note I'd add is that for deep repairs (anything over 1/8") I would use dry mix drywall compound because it's a chemical drying product so you don't need to worry about a wet core under a dry surface. The only thing you need to remember is that it's much harder sanding than a topcoat compound so either be neat or two step the finish with topcoat.

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