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Can You Sand Spackle? (Read This First!)

Spackle is used for recovering holes, dents, and cracks on various things such as walls, woods, metal etc. Sometimes you may want to use spackle and make it smooth.

But can you use sandpaper? Or are there other ways to make spackle smooth? This article will discuss all you should know about sanding spackle and some related tips.

Can you sand spackle?

You can sand spackle after it completely dries, and this characteristic makes spackles unique comparing other similar products. Sanding spackle makes it smooth, and after coloring, there will be no sign of spackle. You can both dry and wet sand on the spackle.

Did you know that spackle is more than 90 years old? Spackle was first introduced in 1927 by the Muralo Company. It is such a versatile product that makes crafting and repairing so easy.

Why is it so popular? It is so easy to use and dries quickly, but the best thing about spackle is that you can sand it and make it perfectly smooth. When spackle dries completely, sanding spackle is an effortless job.

There are some alternatives to spackles like chalk and wood putty. You can’t sand wood putty and use it everywhere. Moreover, it takes a long time to get dry and is not sandable.

Chalk is not hardy. It soaks water fast and is not suitable for sanding. But if we look at spackle, it becomes hard within two hours. It’s sturdy and water-resistant too. But it’s recommended to start sanding spackles after 2 hours for the best result.

There are some facts you must remember about spackles and sanding them. It is made of gypsum and calcium sulfate. Gypsum is entirely nontoxic. But calcium sulfate and gypsum dust can cause eye irritation, respiratory irritation etc.

So, always wear a mask and eye-protective glass before sanding a large spackle. You don’t need to be too protective to sand a few nail holes.

Let’s check out a few different types of spackles and if you can sand them.

Lightweight spackle:

Lightweight spackles are specially made for fast drying. You can sand it easily, and only one coat is enough. So, lightweight spackles are for you if you want to save some time.

Down spackle:

You can sand down spackles. All types of spackles are sandable and provide a smooth surface after sanding.

Drywall spackle:

Drywall spackles can be sanded after it dries. You need to apply a lot of spackle for the drywall most of the time, so it takes a bit more time to dry. Start sanding at least 4 hours for drywall.

Is it safe to sand spackle?

Yes, it is entirely safe to sand spackle. Spackle is a non-toxic product, and it does not have any health issues if you use it properly.

Spackle is made of gypsum and calcium sulfate. So when you sand it, the dust can irritate your eyes and noses. But this is true for every type of sanding process. No dust is pleasant when it gets into eyes and noses.

Keep the spackle safe from children and pets. Depending on how much sparkle is used, you can start sand sparkle after 2-4 hours.

But is it safe for your pocket? Spackle is more expensive than other similar products in the market, but it’s worth it considering its benefits.

Do you need something like a spackle but don’t have anything in your hand? If you need to fix small holes like nail holes, you can use toothpaste instead. It’s a free alternative but works fine for small holes and cracks.

Can you sand spackle with these?

Sanding spackle is easy and quite hustle-free. One can make a spackle surface smooth without any experience with sanding.

But still, many people ask if they can wet sponge on spackle, if they can use sand block and many questions like this. Check out if you can sand spackle with these.

With a wet sponge:

You can use a wet sponge to sand spackle. But you should not use any wet things when sanding wooden stuff.

You can use the damp sponge when working on some wall or something similar. A wet sponge will help you avoid dust, so it is recommended when you are sanding a large area.

With a sander:

Yes, a sander is a quick way to sand spackle. It makes the first part of sanding easy and super fast. For making the surface smoother, you will need to use low grid sandpaper and your hand.

Sand block:

Not everyone has a sander for their DIY projects. Sand block does the same work as a sander, but you will need to exert extra effort. After using sand block, you will need to use sandpaper for a better finish.

What grit sandpaper to use for drywall spackle?

80 to 150 grit sandpaper is suitable for the drywall spackle. Lower grid sandpaper works best for lightweight sparkle, while 120 to 130 grid sandpapers are best for normal spackle.

If you choose lower grit sandpaper, you will need more time to sand the surface.

Higher grid sandpaper will help you sand fast, but it does not help much for a perfect finish.

Using 2-3 types of sandpaper is the best way to get a perfect spackle surface quickly. Use the high grit sandpaper first to sand the surface quickly, then use the low grit sandpaper for an excellent finish.

If you have a lot of spackle to work on, you should use a sand block or electric sander. With a sand block, you will be able to apply more pressure and sand the extra part of the spackle quickly. The electric sander also works similarly.

How long after spackling Can I sand?

It depends on what type of spackle you are using and how big the area you are spackling. You can start sanding after the initial drying. Normal spackle needs 2 hours to dry in a small or medium area, while a large area of spackling will need 2-4 hours to dry.

After the spackle dries, you can start sanding. How do you understand if the spackle is prepared for sanding or not? Press your finger with the spackle, and if there is no fingerprint, it’s ready to be sanded.

If you are using lightweight spackles, you can start sanding within 1-2 hours. Lightweight spackle shrinks less and saves time.

How do you sand spackle smoothly?

If you want to spackle a larger area, you must apply multiple coats. However, lightweight spackles work decently with a single coat. But if you need to apply multiple coats, you will need to dry the first coat, sand the coat, and apply the second coat.

Here is a step-by-step guide to sand spackle smoothly.


Apply the spackle tightly and add a bit of spackle extra to make it higher than the surface. It’s essential as spackles tend to shrink a bit, and it helps the sanding process.

Let it dry:

Wait 2-3 hours before you sand the spackle. Press the spackle with your finger, if you can see a fingerprint. You will need to wait for more.


Take a sand block or high grid sandpaper-like 130 to 150 grits. The sand block will help you sand it quickly. Once the spackle surface gets almost plain, use lower grit sandpaper and make the surface smooth.

Make sure not to over-sand the spackle. Then use micro grit sandpaper to make it even smoother. After sanding, you cannot color the spackle. You will have to wait 24 hours before painting.

Can you sand spackle after painting?

No, you can’t sand spackle after painting. Without sanding, you will not get a smooth surface that will look odd after coloring. Then when you grind spackle after paint, you are wasting your time and color.

Sanding will remove the color from the spackle, and you will have to do it again. So, always sand the surface first, wait 24 hours, and color the spackle for the best result.

Do you sand between spackle coats?

Sand spackle between coats is necessary for the best outcome. Spackle shrinks a bit, so it’s easy to misjudge the amount of spackle when you are working with a large area.

Sometimes 2-3 coats are needed, and between the coats, you need to sand the surface a bit to strengthen the bond. But in this case, you will not have to worry about making the surface smooth. A gentle sanding is enough.

Final Thoughts

Spackle is sandable, and sanding is necessary to get the best outcomes from spackle. One needs to wait 2-3 hours to let the spackle dry, and then he can start sanding it. 120 to 150 grit sandpaper is suitable for grinding spackles. A sand block or sander can make the task even easier.