What is Spackle? Spackle vs Plaster vs Mud vs Putty vs Caulk

You heard this word somewhere, right?

Though all of our homes have this element, we barely know about this!

It is often mistaken by calling caulk or plaster or even mud! I’m sure you are not of those and that is why you are here to know about spackle.

We are here to describe the spackle with the differences between spackle, mud, caulk, plaster and many more.

Keep reading to enrich your knowledge.

Definition of Spackle

Spackle is a paste or putty type of product used for sealing or filling the holes or cracks arising out of the wall, wood, and plaster.

To give you a more detailed overview, here are the definitions of the Top definers.

The Oxford dictionary Says,

The Wiktionary Says,

In the word of Vocabulary.Com,

Types of Spackle You Can Find in Store

There are a few types of spackling paste available in the hardware shops. Different spackle pastes are used in different situations.

But if you are filling small holes or cracks, you can use any type of spackle which comes cheap.

Different types of spackle matter when you are doing a whole lot of works with it.

1. Organic Spackle

Though the name suggests it to be raw materials or organic natural materials, these are not the case for this.

The Organic spackle refers to the spackle which is not mixed with different chemicals to increase the bonding on it.

2. Mixed Spackle

The mixed spackle is the compound made of different materials. The mixture enables the spackle to stick to the wall or surface for a longer period of time.The mixer elements take a big part in the quality of the spackle.

So, you should ensure the materials used in the putty to know exactly how much strong it is.

Spackle vs Mud

The key differences between these two pastes are their use. The spackle is good for filling the holes or cracks usually made by the pins or nails.

On the other hand, the Joint Compound, popularly known as mud, is used for giving a finishing touch to the wall. You can sand over the mud you applied on the wall but the spackling pastes are not good for sanding.

Though one can be replaced with the other, it is not recommended to do so.

Spackle vs Plaster

There is a thin line of difference between spackle and plaster. Spackle being made of a gypsum compound with glue and hydrated calcium, is different from the plaster which is made of sand and cement.

The plaster is used for making the top layer of the wall or the layer before the tiles. On the contrary, the spackle pastes are used for repairing works like filling the holes or cracks.

Spackle vs Plaster infographic

Spackle vs Caulk

As you know about the spackle already, I am not elaborating this again.The caulk and spackle do almost the same thing but they are different. They differ in their materials as well as application.

Caulks are soft and flexible even after it is dried but the spackle is hard.The Caulk resists water and molds to grow on it when spackle is not water resistant and cannot resist molds to grow.

Caulks are useful for the corners and tiny line of gaps where the spackle is good for small holes and cracks.

Spackle vs Putty

Putty is a commonly used construction material. It is used for filling screw and nail holes. This adhesive is also used for sticking posters or wallpapers onto the wall alternatively with other adhesives.

On the other hand, spackle is a chemically enriched compound popularly used in the drywall and ceilings. You can use spackle for repair and giving the repair a finished shiny look.

Final Words

Most of the people do mistake on choosing the right compound for their home use. By reading this short guide, you can now easily choose the right sealants for your home.

If you are confused till now, here is a quick overview of the whole article:

  • Spackle- Gypsum made paste to fill small holes or cracks.
  • Plaster- Cement and sand mixture, used in the upper layer of the wall.
  • Mud- A joint compound used for giving the last finishing touch.
  • Caulk- Flexible and Water resistant. Good for corners and long line of crack.

If this didn’t satisfy you, the comment box is always open. Hit that and Get your answer.

10 thoughts on “What is Spackle? Spackle vs Plaster vs Mud vs Putty vs Caulk”

  1. is one stronger than the other? spackle vs. plaster on a cieling leak repair with 2″ x 2″ drywall patch on old house with plaster and lath (120 years)?

    • As you said, 120 years old house! Whatever you put on such an old house, you have to bet on your luck. You can’t be 100% sure whether that will repair the leak.
      I personally, would have gone for spackle. But again, without a proper inspection of the leak and the condition of the material, it is tough to guess.

  2. You said to use spackle on small holes. how big can a small hole be? For instance 1/4″ 1/2″ or 3/4″. Can I use spackle to fill removed anchor screws( ones for mirrors). Thanks lots of good info, just need more detail

    • Hi Brian,
      You raised a good question, I should have clarified things a little bit more in the post.

      You can use spackle to fill screw holes. Spackle can fill 4-inch holes without any supporting material. If you need to fill a surface that is more than 4 inches, you can use spackle for that too but must use mesh or wire to support.

  3. Hi and thanks for the info – can I skim with spackle? I’m trying to repair a section where a prior owner painted around a wallpaper border on drywall. I just happen to have a big bucket of spackle!

  4. What a wonderful post it is! It has given the best comparison between spackle vs. plaster vs. mud vs. caulk. Thanks for sharing this amazing information with us. I will bookmark your site; I hope to read more such informative contents in future.

  5. I am trying to figure out the best alternative to use instead of plaster of paris for a craft project. I am cutting into pool noodles to make grooves to make them look like a cactus. The original project use the PoP but here in AZ it dried so quickly I was tossing out more that I got on the project. The object is to create a smooth surface to paint the resulting “cactus” green. 🙂 What do you think would be the best option of the 3…spackle, putty or caulk?


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