How long Does Spackle last (+ How to Restore it)

Spackle has a paste-like thickness but is drier than joint compound. It is available in two weights: light and heavy. 

The lightweight version is composed of vinyl, making it ideal for minor gaps and dents. The heavy version, on the other hand, is composed of acrylic and is used to thicken walls or cover bigger holes. 

Generally, individuals like to get premixed spackles. However, if you like, you could also go for the powdered version and stir it for yourself as necessary.

So, How long does Spackle last?

Spackle or spackling paste lasts for approximately nine months.

In fact, most wet compounds have a shelf life of nine months to a year if they are stored properly. On the other hand dry compounds have a comparable shelf life of around a year provided they are properly stored. 

Although drywall compound could practically be stored for years under ideal conditions, the truth is that drywall mud has a far shorter lifespan. Suppliers provide a prescribed storage life for their products; that is essentially the moment at which any warranties become void. If you want your job to be guaranteed, you must use drywall compound within its recommended lifetime.

What are the factors that affect the shelf life of spackles?

Due to the numerous and massive factors that determine its shelf life, the length of time that drywall compound lasts is uncertain. Some of those factors that affect the lasting duration or shelf life of spackle are listed below: 


One of the most serious issues with  spackle or drywall mud is air. It will quickly dry out and becomes hard and useless if exposed to the atmosphere. You will notice that if you put a bucket of joint compound out in the outdoors, the product would not be as it ought to be. It will have fully dried up. 

However, since only the surface of the compound dries away, there could still be workable mud underlying it in the bucket if you retrieve it. The bottom layer of the compound could be usable in some circumstances, but it will lack some of its effectiveness. 

If you store your mud in a tightly sealed bucket, it will last significantly longer than if you store it in a less secure container.

Thus as a conclusion, if you want to keep your spackle or mud from going bad before you use it, don’t open the bucket until the application time has passed.

Transfer the quantity you really do need to a spare container and close the original bucket if you don’t really need the entire batch. This will save you money because you won’t have to buy drywall joint compound each time you require a slight bit of the compound.


Water is spackle’s worst adversary. Despite the fact that current spackles have water-resistant technology, it is always better to keep the drywall compound away from water, which will extend its shelf life. So, when the spackle is in a container, it needs to be kept dry. It doesn’t matter if it’s water-resistant or not.

Even after coming into contact with water, dried spackles can persist. However, the less water you use on drywall spackle, the safer it will be as it will be quickly damaged as a result of the constant flow of water on the wall surface.

However, with all of that said, water is also an option to increase the lasting power of your mud as well. You could store it in a firmly sealed container and then cover it with a thin layer of water.

The water keeps the compound from drying away, allowing you to use it again when you really need it. If you choose this alternative, do not use a filthy drywall knife in the container or return compound to the container after it has been removed. This helps to avoid pollution or contamination, which is vital when adding water to the container since water accelerates mold growth.


Molds are yet another reason that can lead to spackle deterioration. When you open a package of drywall compound, you subject it to a wide range of pollutants. When the compound is uncovered, microorganisms could invade it. It is possible that mold will form on the compound after it is placed back into storage. 

Certain drywall compounds are, however, designed expressly to prevent mold formation. These items are intended for use in kitchens and bathrooms where moisture poses a threat to the damp wall surfaces. They stay longer than other mold-prone compounds due to their built-in mold resistance qualities.

Spackles that have become moldy will not stay for long. It is advised to use mold-resistant spackles to prevent your spackle from becoming ruined after some years.

Mold growth in the caulk can potentially harm spackles. In situations where the caulk is mold-resistant but the spackle isn’t, the caulk could become infected with mold, causing harm to the spackle on the moldy caulk’s edge.

So, when selecting products for your home, make sure all the ones you utilize on the surface area have an equal degree of structural soundness. Having these in place will relieve you of worry every year as you deal with moldy areas in your house.

Learn how to prevent spackle from getting moldy


Other factors that act as indications that the drywall mud is outdated can caution you. 

  • Mud that has formed a strong odor that is distinct from its regular smell has begun to deteriorate. 
  • Mud that has an irregular color or has totally changed color is also outdated. 
  • Last but not least, look at the expiration date. 

Outdated mud or the ones that exhibit visible evidence of rotting must not be used because it could certainly affect the quality of your repair task or project.

Confused between whether to choose spackle or caulk for your upcoming repair: Refer this guide

How can you know if your spackle has gone bad?

Now that you know what causes spackles to go bad, let’s talk about the indications and characteristics of bad sparkles so you can get ready to reapply or remove the compound.

These are the signs of spackles that have been damaged or deteriorated.

  • Color of the spackle: You will easily know if your spackle has gone bad when you see that its color has changed or the color shed on the surface is inconsistent. 
  • Odor: Most of the time, it also has a foul chemical odor rising from the surface, which is also an indicator that the compound has turned bad.
  • Grip: The spackle you applied on the wall surface keeps falling off the surface.

Is it possible for drywall mud to be susceptible to deterioration?

If maintained correctly, the shelf life of drywall mud or spackle is 12 months from the manufacturer code date. However, it could last only 9 months or even less if the drywall mud is opened and stored in less-than-ideal conditions, and it will decay significantly faster.

Is it possible to use an old spackle?

Spackle is a type of filler that is used to repair walls and ceilings. The spackle paste will harden and become a part of the wall after it has been applied. It should come as no surprise that the paste would harden in its container over time. If this happens, you can loosen it up by adding water and reusing it.

Does Drywall spackle have a shelf life?

Drywall and gypsum boards have no exact shelf life or expiration date. It is safe to use as long as it has not been destroyed by water, fire, or other factors during storage.

Drywall joint compound is available in a variety of compositions.  However none of them stays or lasts permanently. Over time, the mud could dry out, mold, and/or turn useless. 

Over time, the mud may dry out, mold, and/or turn useless. The amount of time it is able to stay or last is largely determined by how it is being maintained or stored.

When it comes to spackle, how much time does it take to dry?

There are several factors that must be taken into account when evaluating the drying time of spackle. It is essential to remember that there are a range of spackles on the market, each with a distinct dry time.

Some of these are quick-drying, whereas others require considerable time to complete. Humidity and temperature are other important factors. The drying gets slowed by extremely hot or cold weather temperatures. Lastly, if you’re coating a wide area, expect to wait a long time for it to dry.

While a quickly drying spackle could very well take a little time to dry, it is best to wait at least an extra 1-2 hours before sanding or painting. The commonly used spackles can dry in 1-2 hours. However, it is advised to not start sanding or painting until the entire 24 hour drying period has expired.

Is there any way you could restore or reuse an old spackle?

Below are the steps to restoring dry or old spackle or drywall compound on your own.

Step 1: Measure the amount of spackle you still have and add water equal to about 30% of the volume of spackle you still have.

Step 2: Break up the spackle clumps so you can thoroughly mix them.

Step 3: Heat the compound mixture.

Step 4: Reheat the compound mixture.

Step 5: Drain any extra water.

Check additional ways to rehydrate Spackling compound

Final Thoughts

Spackle, drywall, or gypsum joint compound is a chemically manufactured product that is found in almost every household which requires its fixation. Owing to the fact that it does not go bad within a few months, you must take very good care of it to ensure that it lasts for a longer period of time.

Spackle or drywall mud that has been properly maintained can last for years. As a result, make sure you take all the required precautions to maintain the quality and durability of the product.

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