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Renee the plaster master

Myryah Irby

March 28, 2013

By: Myryah Irby, Home Renovation Enthusiast

In: General RemodelingFlooring

Actually, make that Spackle Master. At first glance, taping and spackling drywall seems like it could be a drag. Tedious. But if you watch closely, there's real artistry involved. It reminded me of sitting at a potter's wheel, so focused, hands moving sedately, keeping the clay just wet enough.

The addition to our country home is almost complete. I've fallen way behind in posting about it, so I'm catching up over the next week or two. Starting with the excellent work our crackerjack spackler has completed.

Isn't spackle a great word?
Contractor tapes drywall
According to Renee, a sweet French Canadian grandfather who's been in the biz for decades, the longer you've been taping drywall, the less spackle necessary. Every seam and screw hole needs to be  covered with spackle, then the tape applied, more spackle, a steady hand. Renee tapes up drywall like a zen master. I enjoyed watching him work -- so smooth, so skillful. Spackle.

Apparently there are key differences between drywall compound, spackle, and plaster. Renee may very well be using a compound, not spackle, but I prefer the word spackle. Finishing drywall
At first Renee didn't seem to mind how curious we all were about his work. My husband followed him around asking questions, our daughters were fascinated too. At the time, it didn't occur to me to ask him to explain the difference between spackle, drywall compound and plaster. If I had, the conversation would have probably gone like this:

Me: Say, is that spackle?

Renee: No, it's drywall compound.

Me: But maybe they're the same thing? So if I was writing about how good you are at finishing drywall, I could use the terms "joint compound" and "spackle" interchangeably. Right?

Renee: No. Spackle and joint compound are similar, but joint compound is denser and works better for seams. Spackle is really for filling small holes, it doesn't have the strength or stability of compound.

Me: So what about plaster?

Renee: What about it? I'd be using plaster if I was repairing plaster walls because it would expand and contract with the existing walls. It's more expensive, and harder to work with. People often use it on historic molding, ceiling medallions, and architectural elements. This addition has none of those things, so I am using drywall compound.

Me: May I please call it spackle even though it's drywall compound?

Renee: I don't care.

Me: I like your accent.

Renee: Merci.

plaster work on a master bedroom
Renee was at the house for a week, so my husband drove up for a few days and he and Renee palled around. Renee taught him how to patch the cracks in the ceiling. Those Canadians are so nice!
patching holes in the ceiling
By the way, this is what's known in the online publishing organic search biz as "keyword stuffing." This post could be dinged by search engines for overuse of the term spackle. Unless Google recently rolled out an algorithmic update favoring higher keyword density... I can't keep up. In other words, in what would appear to be a blatant attempt to drive spackle traffic to this post, I've counted 25 instances of the word spackle (make that 26) bringing the on page keyword density to around 4%. Any spackling manufacturers out there interested in advertising on a page that knowingly misrepresents the product but obviously enjoys its name? Get in touch!

bedrooms 2
View from the hallway, both bedrooms await a good spackling.

After a while I think Renee was over having an audience, so we took the girls out for a winter walk.cattail fuzz
They were delighted by the cattails they discovered down the road from our house, and the fuzzy explosion when banged against a tree.

We headed back to Brooklyn and left Renee to work in peace.

The next week our pine floors were installed! We left just as the work was getting started. floor installation
Tune in next time for pictures of our new floors, before, during, and after installation.

1 Comments

  • Iris says: 01 April 2013 at 9:47 am
    I have never known anyone other than a professional who could tape drywall without the edges of the tape showing. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can do it properly. It MUST be an art. (Either that, or they were mistakenly using spackle.)
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