Spackle is a type of paste or putty used to patch holes, hide cracks and even out surfaces. Using ceiling putty is necessary to cover nail heads, dents, dings and other imperfections before the application of the finishing touches.
A standard spackle is a type of plaster derived from hydrated calcium sulfate that bonds well to cement boards and drywall ceiling, but lightweight vinyl-based products are also available. Spackle can be bought in different sizes and weights at hardware stores, usually as a premixed paste. You can also use drywall joint compound used for taping drywall seams as spackle if desired.
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How to Spackle a Ceiling Properly
Before working on the ceiling, make sure that the ladders and scaffolds are carefully set and the drywall has been sanded, cleaned and prepped. Open the windows of the room for proper ventilation.
When you're ready, use a putty knife to scrape and remove splinters and debris from the drywall first. Next, place a small amount of spackling paste on the putty knife to apply to the needed areas.
Use a feathering method to spread the spackle in one direction. For large repairs, use two types of putty knife, one thin and one wide, to make the application more efficient.
Patching Holes Using Spackle
Scrape the spackle at a right angle to even out the coverage for nail heads and small holes. You may have to use self-adhesive fiberglass mesh patch to fill holes bigger than 4 inches. This screen must be securely attached to the drywall before applying the first spackle layer, and the first layer must dry before you apply subsequent ones.
If you're satisfied with the coverage and application on small holes, let the spackle dry for at least four to five hours. Don't forget to sand the holes and uneven surfaces again before applying the second layer.
Repeat the process if you need to apply extra layers. Make sure to let each layer dry completely between applications so the holes and dents will be more solid.
If you have textured drywall, use a sponge to dab on the spackle when you apply the final layer. Finally, remove extra spackle around holes and surfaces using the putty knife, then sand the areas again one last time. The ceiling is now ready for priming, painting and finishing touches.