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Painter’s Putty vs Spackle: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Painters putty vs spackle

Painters putty vs spackle

Before painting an interior wall, you may need to apply a painter’s putty or spackle to repair minor damage. Holes left from hanging pictures and other minor scrapes and dents cannot be hidden by several coats of high-quality paint. Although they’re used for similar repairs. painter’s putty and spackle have slight differences. Below, we’ll discuss when to use painter’s putty and spackle so that your interior paint job makes your walls look like they’re brand-new.


paint brush divider

Painter’s Putty

The purpose of painter’s putty is to fill small cracks and holes before the paint is applied. Once you have mended the imperfections, you can apply primer and seamlessly paint over it. When you don’t repair the imperfections on a wall or work surface, you run the risk of compromising the quality of your paint job. It’s best to use painter’s putty on molding and wooden surfaces instead of spackle, but you can also use it on drywall.

Our favorite painter’s putty:

DAP 12242 Painters Putty Pt Raw Building Material, 16 oz, White
  • This product adds a great value
  • Easy handling formula
  • Resists Oil bleeding


Spackle is very similar to painter’s putty. It is also used to repair minor damage but can be applied to larger holes and cracks in the wall. However, it does not adhere to paint as well as the painter’s putty. If you sand the spackle and apply primer, you can paint over the area when the primer is dry. It’s best to use it on drywall when the damage covers a large area. If the repaired area is not sanded and primed properly, the spackle will show through the paint.


Our favorite spackle:

3M SHR-8-PC-12 Small, 8 oz. High Strength Hole Repair Kit, 8 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
  • MAKES REPAIRS 3X FASTER than traditional vinyl spackling
  • QUICK AND EASY repair for nicks and nail holes
  • FOR HOLE REPAIRS up to 3" in diameter

Which is Better?

Although you can use painter’s putty or spackle to repair damage, painter’s putty dries quicker and adheres to paint better than spackle. Spackle is usually less expensive and is ideal for covering large areas of drywall damage. However, it’s better to use painter’s putty on wood trim and composite molding. It has a smoother finish than Spackle and requires less prep work before painting over it.


paint brush divider Conclusion

Painter’s putty and spackle are similar compounds, and you can use either one to repair damage on a wall. Professional painters often use painter’s putty for wooden surfaces and spackle for drywall. Spackle is more cost-effective to repair large holes and scrapes in the drywall. It requires more sanding and priming before painting, and if you have small holes or dents, it’s better to use the painter’s putty. It dries fast, can be painted without primer, and leaves a smoother finish than spackle.

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