What Is A Joint Compound? Joint Compound vs. Plaster: Which One Should I Use?
What Is A Joint Compound?
A joint compound, commonly known as drywall mud, is a white powdery material made of gypsum dust blended with water to make a paste-like consistency.
It is used with paper or fiber joint tape to create a unified base for paint on interior walls and ceilings by covering and sealing the seams between drywall sheets.
This product can be applied by hand or sprayed from an air compressor and typically requires several coats to achieve a perfectly smooth finish. The joint compound also reinforces areas where the drywall has been damaged and must be patched up before painting.
What Is A Joint Compound Used For?
A joint compound is an essential construction element used to finish gypsum panel joints, corner beads, trim, fasteners, and skim coating. It helps patch up minor wall damage, such as holes, bumps, tears, and other minor imperfections.
Joint compounds can be applied easily with a putty knife or trowel and used with joint tape or mesh to create strong joint bonds that are perfect for crafting durable drywall.
Its quick-drying nature allows walls to be painted shortly after application, making it convenient for those looking to spruce up their homes quickly.
Is Joint Compound The Same As Filler?
No, joint compound and filler are not the same. A joint compound is a gypsum-based substance primarily used in the construction industry to combine pieces of drywall. It is often referred to as “mud” by professionals in North America and elsewhere.
Filler is a generic term referring to any substance that fills gaps or cracks between surfaces. There are many different types of fillers, including wood, aluminum, plastic, rubber, epoxy putty, caulk, and spackling compounds.
At the same time, some may be similar in texture to the joint compounds they likely serve different purposes in the construction industry.
What Can I Use Instead Of The Joint Compound?
An alternative to the joint compound is Spackle, which can fill in dings, dents, nail holes, or other small damaged areas on walls. It dries much faster than joint compounds — usually within half an hour. This makes it an excellent choice for making speedy repairs.
Spackle also comes in different thicknesses so that you can choose the right one for your surface and repair job. Even though it doesn’t have the same filling and adhesive properties as joint compounds, Spackle is still very effective in repairing minor flaws on walls and ceilings.
How Thick Can A Joint Compound Be Applied?
Applying a joint compound requires attention to detail. Ready-mix joint compounds can be applied up to 1/8″ thick, while setting-type joint compounds can be applied up to 1/4″ thick.
If the desired design is thicker than 1/8”, then it is better to use setting-type joint compounds instead of ready-mix ones. Following these guidelines will ensure the best results when applying joint compound.
How Long Does A Joint Compound Take To Dry?
The joint compound typically requires 24 hours to dry under ideal conditions of a temperature of 70° and 70% humidity.
Higher humidity or lower temperatures will slow the drying time, so it is important to maintain the correct conditions if a fast drying time is desired.
Homeowners should also note that joint compound takes longer to set in thicker applications, so spreading the material as thin as possible is beneficial for quicker results.
How Long Does A Joint Compound Last?
A joint compound can last up to nine months in an unopened container if kept in optimal storage conditions and away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
Before using a previously opened joint compound container, water should be poured off to prevent the joint compound from becoming contaminated. Storing joint compounds at proper temperatures and away from direct sunlight will ensure optimal performance during use.
Joint Compound vs. Plaster: Which One Should I Use?
Joint compound and plaster are both materials that are used to finish walls and create a smooth surface, but they have some key differences.
Joint compound, also known as drywall mud, is a lightweight, premixed material that is typically used to finish drywall. It is applied over drywall joints and screws to create a smooth surface and hide imperfections.
Joint compound is easy to use, dries quickly, and can be sanded and painted once dry. It is ideal for small repairs and projects, such as patching holes or smoothing out rough spots on walls.
Plaster, on the other hand, is a traditional building material that is made from a mixture of lime, sand, and water. It is applied in multiple layers, with each layer being allowed to dry before the next one is applied.
Plaster is thicker and heavier than joint compound and is typically used on older, historic buildings, or on walls made of materials other than drywall. It creates a very durable and long-lasting finish, but it takes longer to dry and is more difficult to work with than joint compound.
In summary, joint compound is a lightweight, premixed material that is typically used to finish drywall and is easy to use, dries quickly and can be sanded and painted once dry, while plaster is a traditional building material that is thicker and heavier than joint compound and is typically used on older, historic buildings, or on walls made of materials other than drywall, creates a durable finish but takes longer to dry and is more difficult to work with.
The choice of which one to use depends on the type of wall, the desired finish and the difficulty of the application.