Choosing the Best Type of Drywall Compound
Drywall mud, also called joint compound, is a gypsum-based paste used to finish drywall joints and corners in new drywall installations. It’s also handy for repairing cracks and holes in existing drywall and plaster surfaces. Drywall mud comes in four basic types, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. You may choose one type for your project or use a combination of compounds for the desired results.
All-Purpose Compound: Best All-Around Drywall Mud
All-purpose compound is a pre-mixed mud sold in buckets and boxes. It can be used for all phases of drywall finishing: embedding joint tape and filler and finish coats, as well as for texturing and skim-coating. Because it is lightweight and has a slow drying time, it’s very easy to work with and is the preferred option for DIYers for coating the first three layers over drywall joints. However, an all-purpose compound is not as strong as other types, such as topping compound.
Topping Compound: Best Mud for Final Coats
Topping compound is the ideal mud to use after the first two coats of taping compound have been applied to a taped drywall joint. Topping compound is a low-shrinking compound that goes on smoothly and offers a very strong bond. It is also highly workable. Topping compound typically is sold in dry powder that you mix with water. This does make it less convenient than premixed compound, but it allows you to mix just as much as you need; you can save the rest of the dry powder for future use.
Taping Compound: Best for Applying Tape and Covering Plaster Cracks
True to its name, a taping compound is ideal for embedding joint tape for the first phase of finishing drywall joints. Taping compound dries harder and is more difficult to sand than all-purpose and topping compounds. Taping compound is also the best option if you need to cover plaster cracks and when superior bonding and crack-resistance are required, such as around door and window openings (which tend to crack due to house settling). It is also the best mud option for laminating drywall panels in multi-layer partitions and ceilings.
Quick-Setting Compound: Best When Time Is Critical
Commonly called “hot mud,” quick-setting compound is ideal when you need to finish a job quickly or when you want to apply multiple coats on the same day. Sometimes called simply “setting compound,” this form is also useful for filling deep cracks and holes in drywall and plaster, where drying time can become an issue. If you are working in an area with high humidity, you might want to use this compound to ensure a proper drywall finish. It sets by chemical reaction, rather than simple evaporation of water, as is the case with other compounds. This means that quick-setting compound will set in damp conditions.
Drywalling Like a Pro
Whether it’s a renovation project, an accident, or a plethora of other potential incidences, most homeowners at some point will need drywall repair
Prepare the Area Needing Drywall Repair
Before we actually even bother with patching the hole, we first have to prepare the area
Not all drywall repair jobs are intensive! Some small dings or scratches in walls can be covered very simply with drywall mud.
Some repairs may require more intensive restructuring before we apply the drywall mud. All holes must first be covered with a self-adhesive mesh-like patch.
Texturizing Your Repair
Some walls and ceilings in our homes and offices will have a texture to them. In this case, we have to add one more step to the drywall repair before we paint.
Everything You Need to Know About Drywall
Choosing the right drywall
To hang and finish drywall, you need drywall sheets, joint compound, tape, fasteners and edge treatments. That seems straightforward, but when you’re standing in the drywall aisle at the home center, the choices aren’t so simple.
Is drywall fire-resistant?
“Type X” drywall is 5/8 in. thick and designed to slow the spread of fire. It is often required on garage walls and ceilings that adjoin living spaces, ceilings between living spaces inside the house, and under stairs.
Is drywall mold and moisture resistant?
Also called “greenboard”, mold-and-mildew-resistant 1/2-in. drywall is a somewhat different animal. Manufacturers use various methods to eliminate or treat the paper that covers the gypsum core. Getting rid of the organic paper food source was supposed to keep mold and mildew from growing. Builders used to install it in wet and damp locations, placing it behind tile in shower and bath enclosures. Those enclosures have already been or soon will be replaced as the greenboard fails.
1/2-in. drywall is the best choice for most walls and some ceilings. There are standard and lightweight versions. Lightweight is stronger and weighs 25 percent less.
3/8-in. and ¼-in. drywall
If you’re doing repairs in a house that was built in the ‘50s or ‘60s, you may very well have 3/8-in. drywall. You’ll want to match that thickness to patch an existing wall. Measure the existing drywall or take off a switch plate cover to find out.
While drywall is known to be a fairly resilient surface, it is not uncommon to need to patch a hole from time to time. Perhaps you moved a wall hook from where a picture once hung or you accidently bumped the wall when moving in a new appliance. It’s a simple fix. Whether the holes are large or small, these patches are an easy, smooth repair that will have you wondering where the holes were when you are finished.
Make sure the surface to be repaired is clean and smooth, and trim away any frayed drywall edges from the hole. Start smoothing the surface by sanding with 100 grit sandpaper, 120 grit drywall sanding screen or a Medium grit sanding sponge. We recommend using an Extra Large Sanding Sponge. This oversized sponge is made for ease of sanding large drywall surfaces. Remember, any imperfection not addressed before the patching and painting process will be very visible after!
Since the process of sanding involves the removal of material, it creates airborne dust. We recommend safety glasses, work gloves, and an approved dust mask.
Apply Mesh Reinforcement Tape
When it comes to minor drywall repairs, few products are more versatile and easier to use than adhesive-backed mesh reinforcement tape.
Apply Joint Compound
Apply a smooth layer of joint compound using a drywall knife or compound spreader. Hold the knife/spreader at a 45° angle to the surface pulling the compound over the reinforcement tape. Be sure to spread enough joint compound to adequately cover the mesh reinforcement tape and fill in the void of the hole behind the tape. Taper the joint compound past the edge of the mesh reinforcement by 2-3 inches. Try to leave smooth edges on the outside rim of the joint compound, as it will be easier to sand later.
Selecting the Right Patching Compound
Properly prepping a surface for painting is essential to a paint job’s success. Often, this involves patching. From small dents to larger holes, there’s a perfect patching compound for every type of surface situation. Read on for more information on how to select the right patching compound
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Before choosing a patching compound, there are some questions you will need to answer to ensure you use the best product for your specific job.
KEY PRODUCT DIFFERENCES
The smaller the hole or imperfection that you’re trying to repair, the lighter the product you will need. Lighter patching compounds will shrink less and dry faster but are less durable. Vinyl patching compounds are known for their flexibility and are often lauded as products that work well on both interiors AND exteriors. Vinyl patching compounds also offer minimal shrinkage, ideal for quickly filling a nail hole and priming over it. Lightweight wall patch & prime products offer spackling and primer as one and can be painted over in as little as 30 minutes! These lightweight, pre-mixed spackling products save time, can fill holes in one application, and offer no shrinking or cracking.
Dunn-Edwards Lightweight Patching Compound – This lightweight patching compound makes repairing walls and ceilings fast and easy. It fills cracks, dents and nail-heads in just a single application, goes on smoothly and dries quickly. No sanding is required and it works on interiors and exteriors with easy water clean-up. Available in ½ pint, quart and gallon sizes.
Dunn-Edwards Vinyl Patching Compound – This pre-mixed Vinyl Patching Compound is a general purpose, water-based spackling compound for patching holes and nail-heads. It’s specially formulated for easy application and sanding, dries fast and holds tight. Great for interior and exterior use and with easy water clean-up. Available in ½ pint, quart and gallon sizes.