How Long Does Spackle Take To Dry?

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Spackle fixes minor damage to wood, drywall, or plaster. This substance fills holes or cracks like putty. Spackle must be allowed to dry once it is applied.

The drying process can take a little time, depending on the type of surface you are repairing and how much spackle you use.

So, how long does spackle take to dry?

We have thoroughly researched the topic and hopefully can answer this for you.

Typically spackle takes 1-2 hours to dry. But, different types of spackle determine the drying time. Temperature and humidity slow down the drying time. Quick-drying spackle can take just a few minutes to dry, but 1-2 hours before sanding and 24 hours before painting.

Factors that affect the drying time of spackle


Spackling compound types have different drying speeds. A number of things can affect the drying time.

  • The size and depth of the filled gap affect the time
  • Air moisture prolongs the drying time
  • Some patches take hours or days to dry.
  • Temperature and humidity slow down the drying time

It takes a small hole only a few minutes for patching, and this will not change over time. However, larger gaps need more time to dry.

The amount of air in the room also affects the drying speed. If your home has high ceilings, then the ceiling space above the repair could cause an uneven airflow which would make the job slower than normal.

How long does spackle take to dry

We know already that spackle is an adhesive used to fill holes or cover imperfections in drywall.

The type of spackle determines the drying time. Humidity and temperature slow down the drying time. 

If you open windows to let some fresh air inside, it helps reduce the humidity level. The higher the humidity levels, the faster the drying time.

You should wait until the spackle dries completely before applying any other materials such as paint or wallpaper paste.

You could try a hairdryer as this will help heat up the air around the repaired spot.

Tools and supplies needed

To properly repair drywall or plaster walls, you will need the proper tools. You might want to invest in these items:

Drywall Repair Kit – These kits contain all the necessary tools required to fix wall repairs. They include everything from tape measures to screws.

Sandpaper – Sanding removes old damaged material so that new material can adhere better. Use fine grit paper for smooth surfaces and coarse grit paper for rough areas.

Sponge brush – For removing excess spackle after application.

Paintbrushes – invest in a decent paintbrush and keep it clean between uses.

Paint roller – Used to apply the paint evenly across the entire wall.

Straightedge –  Used to smooth over uneven surfaces with paste

Sanding block – is used for finishing the surface.

Orbital sander – this may be used, but sanding blocks are better.

Bucket or container – with a lid to hold spackle that dries quickly

Wall preparation

The surface must be clean before applying the spackle. You’ll need to remove dust particles and debris by using a damp sponge. Make sure to use soap and water instead of detergent because they won’t harm the finish.

After cleaning, wipe off the wet sponge with a rag. This step ensures that no dirt remains behind.

Use sandpaper to remove any paint that is present on the surface. You can apply primer before spackling walls. Primers provide extra protection against future damage.

How many coats of spackle do you need?

It may take more than one coat of spackle to fill a small hole or drywall joint. You might be able to avoid multiple coats if the hole is very small. 

There will likely be a small indentation even after applying the first coat of spackle. Sometimes it takes more than one coat of spackle to fix a problem. Coats are applied in order, with each coat gradually becoming thinner and thinner.

When applying the second coat, add enough spackle to just barely touch the edges of the previous layer. Then spread out the spackle slightly. When adding the third coat, thin out the spackle again.

You can add additional coats of spackle to ensure complete coverage.

You can also buy a one-coat spackle. This type of product might help you avoid multiple coats. 

How can I make spackle dry faster?

If you want spackle to dry faster, try adding a dehumidifier and turning on your air conditioner. Turn off all electronics to help reduce humidity.

The more humid a room becomes, the slower the spackle will dry. If possible, open windows during the day to allow fresh air inside.

Spackle is mixed with water, so if there is water in the air, you might be faced with a longer dry time. Add a dehumidifier to help the spackle dry faster. 

You could use a hairdryer to help dry spackle. This will speed up the drying process. However, don’t leave the hairdryer running while working around the house as it’s not safe. Make sure you set the temperature to a cool and slow setting.

What happens if my spackle doesn’t dry properly?

Spackle Dry Time

It’s easier to plan out your work when you know how long it will take for a product to dry.

Some spackle is fast drying, while others are left for hours or days.

Some spackle comes ready-made, some in powder form, and is mixed with water.

Spackle typically takes at least a couple of hours to dry, but you can use spackles that change color once it is dry.

Even the ready-made spackle has water content in it.

A good tip is to make sure to follow any drying instructions on your spackle container.

Wait for a couple of hours after the spackle has dried to sand and paint over it.

If you are applying more than one coat of spackling, make sure the first coat is completely dry before proceeding.

Don’t forget that spackle needs to be left at least 24 hours before you apply paint.

It will dry faster if not used right away after being mixed.

It dries fast, so it’s better to mix it the same day you want to paint

Should you sand between coats of spackle?

Sometimes it takes more than one coat of spackle to fix a problem. Sanding spackle isn’t easy, so don’t rush it. If you find lots of bumps or uneven areas, wait until the next day to finish sanding.

Sanding spackle makes it harder to apply subsequent layers. So, do what works best for you.

It can take a little bit of practice to get the hang of applying sparkle. The first time you do this may not be amazing, but once you master applying it smoothly, it will become much easier between coats.

Smoothness can be achieved by keeping the edge of your putty knife very close to the wall and ensuring that the blade stays flat against the surface.

Also, keep the tip of the brush perpendicular to the wall. Use a clean rag to wipe excess spackle from the walls.

Keep an eye on the clock! You’ll need plenty of time to let the spackle dry.

Do you have to sand spackle before painting?

The spackle should be sanded before painting, but not always between coats where the spackle meets the wall, sand the edges.

Lightly sand the center to achieve an even surface if needed.

Types of spackling compound

There are a few different types of spackling compounds available:

Powder – The most common type of spackle. Powdery spackle is usually white or light gray.

Liquid – A liquid version of spackle that is often clear. Liquid spackle tends to be thicker than powdered spackle.

Ready Mix – Ready-mix versions of spackle come premixed with additives such as fillers, adhesives, etc. These mixes tend to be very thick and sticky. They also require mixing prior to application.

Cementitious – Cementitious spackle is similar to plaster. This kind of spackle needs to set up before painting. You’ll find this type of spackle in various colors.

Plaster – Plaster is a mixture of cement and gypsum. Gypsum helps give plasters their strength.

Final Thoughts

Depending on the brand and type of spackle you use, drying time will vary. Remember to check the manufacturer’s instructions regarding how long to leave the product out before using it.

If you’re unsure about whether or not your spackle is still wet enough to work with, try touching some of the material with your finger. If it feels tacky, then it probably hasn’t fully dried yet.

You can follow some of the ideas above to help speed along the drying process. But remember that no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to force something like spackle to dry any quicker.

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