You can easily be overwhelmed by the large selection of drywall compound (mud) from your local hardware store – over 20 different types and brands. For first timers, it’s important to remember that all drywall compounds are not intended for the same purpose and most offer different luxuries when using; selecting one depends on your process of drywall installation.
From my experience, I prefer a few main types of drywall compound and these will allow you to easily choose the right one for your project, allowing you to focus on getting the job done.
Selecting the right ‘mud’ for the job
Lightweight Joint Compound *
This is far by the best type of drywall compound. It makes your project easier by requiring fewer coats over metal and joints, along with completely eliminating the need for taping and topping compounds.
Furthermore, it sands with ease, unlike some compounds which can crumble or break from dry sanding; you can even use the wet sanding technique.
All I use is lightweight joint compound. Not only do I recommend using it for small drywall repairs to large drywall jobs, I demand it..
Price: $10 – $13, for 34 lbs. Lightweight Joint Drywall Ready-Mixed
Price: $12 – $15, for 45 lbs. Lightweight Joint Drywall Ready-Mixed
All-Purpose Joint Compound
I don’t use all-purpose joint compound often since lightweight compound is over 30% lighter and tends to be easier during coating, but it’s a heavier type of mud, that let’s be used easily for taping joints and drywall textures.
Sanding is much tougher with this compound and often can lead to crumbing and cracking -makeing the whole project last a lot longer.
The main benefit to this compound allowing for easy drywall texture.
Price: $13 – $16, for 62 lbs. All-Purpose Joint Compound Ready-Mixed
Price: $10 – $12, for 58 lbs. All-Purpose Joint Compound Ready-Mixed
Quick Set Powder Compound
Quick set does require more work in the beginning since it doesn’t come in a ready-mix formula, but for fast jobs, it tends to harden quicker. You can buy quick set powder-based compound in different drying time ranges; 20 minutes, 45 minutes, 90 minutes and 300 minutes. A dry time lets you do quick jobs and ones that require longer periods for coating.
Overall, I would suggest that you stick with the lightweight compound, since this can be very hard to sand at times (does not allow for wet sanding) and has to be mixed correctly.
Price: $10 – $16, per bag. Quick Set Powder Drywall Compound