Lately at the big home improvement stores there has been a proliferation of different types of drywall mud, and while some can be substituted without much worry, others can make the job more difficult for no reason. Still other types are more suited for damp locations, repair jobs or small nail hole patching. Let’s take a quick look at what’s available and what their uses are.
There Are Basically Two Main Types Of Compounds
The first type is the quick setting drywall mud that comes powdered and you have to add water to activate it. It “sets” rather than just drying, so you can’t just add more water and get more time, it’ll harden up permanently on you, due to a chemical reaction. For this reason you’ll always want to keep the remainder of the powder dry so it won’t turn hard and be ruined. By mixing different amounts of hardener to the ingredients the manufacturer can make it set quicker or slower, depending on it’s intended use.
There several advantages to this type of mud, for one, it will harden without cracking even when applied fairly thickly. You can put on an extra coat even while it is still wet, as long as it has become hard already. This can be a huge time saver for the professional that knows how to work it. It’s a stronger base for joints, and is more resistant to moisture as well. Used properly, it can shorten a job by about 25% by cutting the time waiting for drywall mud to dry.
The Other Kind Of Drywall Compound Is The Old Standby
Regular drywall mud is easy to work with, takes awhile to dry, and then is easy to sand off the bumps and ridges, for the homeowner that likes to do things himself. It does take longer to dry, and you can’t put on layers too thick or they’ll crack, you have to wait until each layer is completely dry before putting on another. And, it’s not as good in damp locations where it could mold, mildew or soften in the future. This type of mud is usually sold in boxes with a plastic bag liner, already pre-mixed and ready to be used.
Using drywall compound can look difficult to start with, but almost anyone can do it with a little practice. As you get faster and better, you’ll understand why it’s so popular with home builders because it’s fast, convenient, and inexpensive to work with.