Spackling paste is a paste which is used to fill holes in wood, drywall, and other substances. It comes in several different grades which are divided by coarseness for specific applications, and it can be a very useful thing to keep around the house, especially for people who like to do home improvement projects. Many hardware suppliers stock spackling paste.
This product comes either in the form of a pre-mixed paste, or in a powder which must be mixed with water for use. The advantage to buying spackling paste as a powder is that the user doesn't need to worry about the paste drying out over time, which can become a concern. The disadvantage is that powder can also get messy, and some people dislike the nuisance of mixing the power every time they need some spackling.
One of the most classic uses for spackling paste is in filling holes to prepare walls for painting. Spackling paste can be smeared into holes, cracks, and joins, allowed to dry, and then sanded flat so that the surface will be smooth for painting. People with white walls may also use spackle to seal holes from nails, tacks, and other objects, especially if they are moving out of a home and they want their deposit back.
Classically, spackle is made from gypsum powder and glue to make a gummy paste which will dry to a relatively hard consistency. The gypsum makes the spackling paste coarse, so it will cling to a wide variety of surfaces. For especially large holes, several layers of spackling may be required, with the paste sticking to itself as the layers are applied.
Usually, the site of a spackling is invisible after painting. When materials are stained, however, sometimes the spackle will be lighter in color than the surrounding area, causing it to stand out. One way to reduce this problem is to stain the spackle before use to make it dark, or to use special colored spackling which has been designed for use with stained wood.
The term “spackle,” which is used primarily in the United States, has an interesting history. Spackle is actually a registered trademark of a company which offered a specific compound for sealing holes in the 1920s. Over time, however, the term came to be used generically, and the company lost its right to the trademark, because it failed to enforce it. In Great Britain, Australia, and Canada, consumers are more familiar with polyfilla, another product which has become generic as a result of trademark dilution.