Joint Compound vs. Spackle | Difference & Which One Should Be Used

Joint compound and Spackle are the two most frequently used materials for construction or wall repairing purposes. Both these compounds are very effective while working on the drywall, and there has always been a battle between their uses. Joint compound and Spackle are often used side by side for the same drywall projects, and also, these are used interchangeably. It is up to you to choose the right one for your wall repair projects. In this guide, I will discuss joint compound vs. spackle.

To make your choice perfect, go through the major differences between these two materials and their proper use, given in the later sections. Both these compounds are used for the same purpose, and it may be a tough task for an untrained eye to choose the best one. But after reading out this short guide, an untrained person can also select the best one for his/her work. 

Joint Compound vs. Spackle – Fixing Drywall

Joint Compound vs. Spackle

Joint compound will offer a more water-resistant finish that also has greater flexibility than spackle, but in many cases, you can use both products successfully. The key thing with choosing either product is making sure to get an appropriate consistency for the job at hand – if too dry it may not stick well enough, whereas if too wet it could drip off where needed.”

The primary use of the joint compound is as an ingredient in drywall installation. In this case, it’s blended so that it can be used without adding water to mix with the other components. This type of work demands great flexibility from the material being applied – if not mixed well enough, you may end up applying too much weighty stuff next to delicate pieces; too little of something will result in shortfalls like missing borders or corners.”

Spackle compound is a relatively thicker compound used in wall repairing jobs and for filling in cracks, holes or gaps. It is substantially less expensive than joint compound and usually comes with a brush on one side making it easier to apply the product.”

Drywall Joint Compound vs. Spackle

Here are the major differences between drywall joint compound and spackle.

Joint CompoundSpackle
It is a very consistent compound used to repair the drywall. It is applicable on drywall, wood, bricks, plasters, or stones. 
Major ingredients: Gypsum and limestone.Major ingredients: Adhesives/binders and gypsum powder. 
It is usually sold in large quantities.It is sold in premade tube containers.
This compound is comparatively thinner.You will find it comparatively thicker.
It is hard to make this compound smooth in hard form. You can clean the wall easily to make it smooth. 
It has great shrinkage.It has low shrinkage. 
It takes time to dry. It dries out faster. 
It needs certain preparations. It comes in the pre-made form and there is no need for further preparation.
You can purchase it at a comparatively lower rate. You will find it relatively expensive.

What is Joint Compound?

Joint Compound vs. Spackle

A joint compound is also known as mud, or more precisely as drywall mud. This compound has very effective consistency, just like the mud. However, this consistency mainly depends on the type of the compound. 

Ingredients of the Joint Compound

The major ingredients of joint compounds are limestone and gypsum. However, some other elements like mica, clay, starch, and perlite, are also there in this compound. 

Properties of Joint Compound

  • This compound is mainly used in huge wall repairing projects. 
  • The primary ingredients of this material are limestone and gypsum. 
  • Primarily sold in large quantities. 
  • Thinner but very consistent. 
  • Its shrinkage is very high in dried form.
  • However, it is harder to smooth in the dried form. 
  • Relatively inexpensive.

Types Of Joint Compound

There are four major types of joint compounds.


Topping is mainly used for the final coats. Two coats of tapping compound are effective for a perfect wall repair. 


Tapping joint compound, also known as a lightweight compound, is mostly used on the drywall for setting the seams of the wall to make it seamless. 


This type of joint compound is used for all sorts of repairing or construction work. 

Quick Setting/Setting Compound

Quick setting proves a perfect building material for the patching works and to cover the wide holes. It dries faster than all the other types of joint compounds. 

Uses of Joint Compound

A joint compound is an effective material for many wall repairing contracts. Some important uses of this compound are as follows.

  • It is used for the final coats. 
  • It is an effective compound for filling the drywall seams of the wall to make it seamless.
  • the best choice for patching work and covering larger holes. 
  • All-purpose joint compounds can be used for any type of repair or construction work.

What is Spackle?

Joint Compound vs. Spackle

Spackle is a relatively thicker compound used in wall repairing projects along with joint compound. This material is sold in premade tub containers, and there is no need for further preparation. It is available in different grades designed for different applications, and one may choose according to his/her requirements. 

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Ingredients of Spackling Compound

Spackle is made up of binders/adhesives and gypsum powder and has a thick gooey toothpaste-like consistency. 

Properties of Spackle

  • It mainly consists of gypsum powder and adhesive or binder compounds.
  • It fits well to the small wall repairs and fills the nail holes or cracks.
  • Comes in a prepared form. 
  • Spackle is a comparatively thicker compound.
  • It does not dry out instantly. 
  • The Spackle compound has very low shrinkage in the dried form.
  • Hard to smooth in dried form. 

Types Of Spackling Compound

There are five major types of spackling compounds. 

Lightweight Spackling Compound

Lightweight Spackling Compound is mainly used to fill or repair small holes, dings, and cracks. It contains a fine aggregate of Sodium Silicate and an adhesive. It is the best choice for small and quick fixes.

All-Purpose/Standard Spackling Compound

This gypsum-based spackling is used to repair the large holes, cracks, or gouges in the drywall. It is identical to the joint compound. 

Vinyl Spackling Compound

Vinyl Spackling Compound is mostly used to fill the cracks or holes up to ¾ inches. It is used in layers and is allowed to dry there. The vinyl does not let this compound dry instantly, and it sands well. 

Acrylic Spackling Compound

Acrylic Spackling Compound is a flexible material and is a perfect choice to apply to drywall, bricks, plasters, wood, or stone. 

Epoxy Spackling Compound

Epoxy Spackling Compound is perfect for holes, cracks, gouges, and other repairs. It is an oil-based compound that does not fit well on wood surfaces. 

Uses of Spackling Compound

  • It is applicable on drywall, bricks, plasters, wood, or stone.
  • Best to fill the holes, cracks, gouges, and other repairs.
  • Dries fast, which is why it sands well. 
  • Is the best compound for the sake of adhesive uses. 
  • Spackle is the perfect compound for quick fixes. 

Drywall Joint Compound vs. Spackle

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Here are the major differences between the drywall joint compound and Spackle.

  • They are made up of different ingredients. So, they differ in manufacturing.
  • The joint compound is thinner while the Spackle is thicker. 
  • Spackle dries out faster as compared to joint compound.
  • Spackle is comparatively hard to smooth in dried form.

Similarities of Joint Compound vs. Spackle

Here are some of the major similarities between the joint drywall compound and the spackling compound.

  • In airy places, both can dry out quickly. So, only mix up what you are using.
  • Both the compounds shrink on drying.
  • Both compounds are perfect for drywall.
  • start sanding if applied in excessive quantities. 
  • These compounds may dust on drying, so wear the mask when using any of them. 

Joint Compound vs. Spackle – When to Use Each

From the above discussion, it should have been clear which one should be chosen for a particular repair project. Both these compounds have various uses, and one should choose the right one for an effective repair. Usually, Spackle is the best choice for small home repairs. However, for extensive repair or coating of drywall, a joint compound is the best option. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use spackling instead of the joint compound?

You can use the spackling instead of the joint compound, but the joint compound typically dries much slower than the Spackle, and this fact may trouble you.

What is the difference between spackling and drywall mud?

Drywall mud does not stick to painted walls or plaster. At the same time, Spackle can be applied on painted or plaster walls. Usually, drywall mud is not used as a repair compound.

Can you use spackling to repair drywall?

Yes, you can use spackling to repair drywall. You can use it to fix the smaller holes in the drywall. Spackle is a compound made to repair the cracks and holes in drywall.

Can I use Spackle instead of drywall mud?

You can use Spackle instead of drywall mud, also called joint drywall compound. However, Spackle dries out faster that may lead to any trouble while coating the wall. 

Is Spackle as strong as drywall?

The drywall compound comes in a prepared container. However, Spackle comes in powdered form, and you have to mix it with water before using it. So, the spackling compound is much stronger than the drywall as it dries by chemical reaction rather than evaporation. 

Why does drywall mud crack drying?

When you apply a thick mud layer on drywall, the surface dries out faster while the material below the surface is still drying. This may result in drywall cracking. To avoid this, use several thin layers of mud as thin layers dry out thoroughly that gives the best results.

Can you reuse a drywall hole?

Yes, you can reuse a drywall hole for some other anchor or screw. This would prevent any damage to the wall that would result in holes for new anchors and screws.

Learn More: How To Remove Wall Tiles Without Damaging Plasterboard

What grit sandpaper do you use on drywall?

The grit paper is needed to make the wall surface smooth and to remove the sharp edges. You can use 100 or 120 grit sandpaper to sand the wall properly. Make sure that your sandpaper is large enough to cover the maximum wall surface. This would help you in cutting down your hard work. 

Learn More: How To Cover The Exposed Foundation Wall

What is the best joint compound for skim coating?

Here are the five best joint compounds for skim coating. 

  • DAP 10102 Wallboard Joint Compound
  • DAP Wallboard Joint Compound
  • US GYPSUM-385140-85140004 All-Purpose Joint Compound
  • US GYPSUM-380270072, US Gypsum-380270 Quart Joint Compound
  • USG Series 381110060 25Lb Bag Dura bond 45 Min Joint Compound Powder


Certain repairs have always been there within any house. However, each repair needs the perfect repairing material for an effective finish. Usually, joint compounds and Spackle are used for drywall repairs, and it is crucial to have particular knowledge about these building materials. The professional’s use this when you need to get your lawn back, and you can apply merits yourself and save 400%. To make your lawn secure against the weeds, invest in the ‘Yard Mastery Granular Pre-Emergent Herbicide 0-0-7 .38% Prodiamine’. Hopefully, after reading out the above short guide, you will choose the best for your work! 

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