Joint compound types/options/prices

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I have a few questions about choosing joint compound for taping sheetrock walls. I also have a question about "plaster".
For taping sheetrock walls:
I know there is "regular" pre-mixed and "lightweight" pre-mixed joint compound that comes in 5-gallon buckets. I can easily see what the prices are for those products at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. I have used both of these, so I have a pretty good idea of how they each work. One issue I have with them is that they take so long to dry between coats -- sometimes 24 hours, sometimes longer if they are used to fill thicker gaps. And, they both tend to shrink and crack when used on thicker gaps.
I also see bags of dry "setting type" joint compound with varying setting times such as 45, 90, etc. I can, of course, see the prices for each bag. But I can't tell how many bags it takes to mix up about the same amount that a 5 gallon bucket of pre-mixed joint compound contains -- so I can't tell how the dry-mix prices actually compare to the pre-mixed prices. Can anyone here give me an idea of how the two (dry-mix setting type and pre-mixed) compare in terms of cost for the same amount of product -- such as per 5 gallons of useable product?
And, aside from cost, has anyone decided to just go with the dry-mix setting type joint compounds even for large jobs simply because it dries and can be re-coated in so much less time? Also, the dry-mix setting type product doesn't seem to shrink when drying which is a plus for me. I don't mind doing the mixing etc., but I never saw a contractor using the dry-mix product so I wonder if there are disadvantages or reasons why using the dry-mix is not generally recommended for most taping jobs.
And, about "plaster":
I seem to recall that I used to be able to buy actual plaster at places like Home Depot and Lowes, but I don't see that there these days. And, I thought I used to be able to buy the "rough coat" ("brown coat") product that goes on underneath the finish coat of plaster. By "plaster", I mean the actual finish coat plaster that old time plasters use for plastering entire walls. I think the plaster was called "finishing plaster" or "finish coat plaster" and not Plaster of Paris, but I don't know for sure. And, the finish coat plaster dried fairly slowly but did not shrink and dried to a very hard finish. Am I correct that there is a product out there somewhere that is called finish coat plaster, and that is not the same as Plaster of Paris?
Any info or suggestions regarding all of the above would be appreciated.
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Jay-T wrote:

Pre-mixed is powdered calcium carbonate (limestone) mixed with water and a binder - usually starch - and shrinks because the water evaporates thereby reducing the volume. Setting compound is processed gypsum and becomes hard through a chemical reaction of the processed gypsum and water. Same as cement.
One advantage of the pre-mixed for us duffers is that it can be removed easily with water if we screw up. It can also be "wet sanded" with a sponge. Once set up, setting compound is water proof. Soft, but water proof. ____________

There are three (at least) materials that can be used to make plaster...gypsum, lime and cement (burnt limestone + other minor materials). Cement is the hardest, gypsum the softest.
--

dadiOH
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*I saw a contractor use the fast setting mix stuff on one small job. He kept mixing it in small batches because it would dry so quickly in his trough. He was using it so that he could finish that day and have the painter come in the next.
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I am going to publish an article about the different types sometime tonight here: http://househomerepair.com/3/Drywall-1.html
The setting types are significantly more expensive. They are available in sanding type and non-sanding type.
I never really measured; I may do that, but I suspect it is some where around 2-3 bags to make a 5 gallon bucket.
Filling thicker voids with a non-sanding setting mud and letting it dry before bedding your tape is always a good choice.
Finishing plaster is still available but not at the BORG. I use a combo of non-sanding and sanding mud for my plaster repairs and with no experience I suggest you do the same..
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote: (snip)

A bag of durabond will make 2.5 - 3 gallons of mud.
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Mike Paulsen wrote:

Thanks.
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Thanks. I just read the article that you posted.
One thing that I have been finding is that there is *not* "a bewildering display of products from which to choose" when I venture out to the store to purchase drywall compound. I have been finding the opposite. For example, at Lowes and Home Depot, I don't see any Durabond products. All I see is the pre-mixed buckets of joint compound (regular and lightweight), and Sheetrock Brand Easy Sand Lightweight dry setting type joint compound. In fact, I just assumed that Durabond must have changed its name to Sheetrock Brand Easy Sand setting type lightweight joint compound.
I'll have to check out some of the contractor building supply houses in my area to see if they have more options.
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Unless things have changed in the last 6 months my local Lowes (40509) carries 2 Durabonds (20 & 45) and 2 Easy Sands (20 & 45). They also have the Sheetrock brand of ready-mix in 5 gallons and the box which I have never liked, along with another brand, GoldBond (?). For general purpose taping and bedding both seem to work fine. I truly believe the Sheetrock brand is a little better when thinned to make a topping compound.
I use the DB-20 very seldom; mostly for the "scratch" coat on a ceiling repair where I am holding it in place until it sets or the occasional hole in the wall from a failed doorstop.
Your plaster if you are still inclined to try that may be harder to find. Locally as far as I know, it is only sold at a masonry supply yard.
If drywall is a learned skill, a smooth finish on real plaster is a high art form. One I will never master.
Did you see Mike's post? He said a bag of powdered mix: "A bag of durabond will make 2.5 - 3 gallons of mud". They all weight the same so if he is correct, which I think he is, 2 bags = one 5 gallon bucket. Last time I checked that would be about twice the cost. Well worth it for a small or time sensitive job. Not so good for a large project where time is not essential.
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote: (snip)

I think you meant to say that the bags are the same volume rather than the same weight. Easy Sand is the light weight version of Durabond. It comes in the same sized bag and you end up with the same volume after mixing, but the Easy Sand is considerably lighter. (18lbs vs Durabond's 25)
Note that a "5 gallon" bucket of Plus3 mud contains 4.5 gallons.
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Mike 3 points Colbyt 0
Yes. That is what I meant.
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote:

I think things may have changed in the last 6 months. I don't see any Durabond products at my local HD or Lowes, and searches of both of their websites for "Durabond" don't come up with the product. I even tried switching "My Store" on both websites to Zipcode 40509 and that didn't help.

I did see that, thanks. At least it gives me an idea that 2 bags of the dry mix will make about 4.5 to 5 gallons of mix, so I can compare prices that way. I agree that price is not everything, especially if one or the other can save time. I was just curious how the two types, dry and pre-mixed, would compare in overall price.
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Jay-T wrote:

Your store may not carry the sheetrock product line. Try Beadex or Lafarge.
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wrote in message

I was at both Lowes and Home Depot today and they both had Durabond and Easysand...You may have to go to the store...Their websites don't have everything that's in their store...HTH...
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wrote:

Drywall compound is fairly inexpensive, so it really doesn't matter much. I like to mix my own and use the 90 stuff. Drywall compound is very different than Plaster of Paris.
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There are 2 types of setting type compounds...Durabond Setting type Compound and Easysand setting Type Compound.They both make about 3/4 of a pail depending on the thickness of the mix..Lets take Durabond first...
..Durabond 5 , 20 , 45 , 90 , 210 is very hard , has excellent bond ,mold resistant , is crack resistant and unforgiving and that is why you don't see it much in HD or Lowes as it isn't really for the DIYer..A mistake with that means removing the sheets and starting over or hours with a belt sander with 80 grit...It can even be used to patch concrete above grade and as a floor leveler..I use it for the first coat on everything..Embedding tape , first coat on cornerbead , coating screws ect. BUT you must know what you're doing..I like it because it eliminates call backs for cracks and it is ready for second coating after it sets even in deep fills and there is NO shrinkage at all..It also makes an EXCELLENT base coat for repairing and skimcoating old plaster walls but again you must know what your doing and get it pretty good before it sets.There is no close enough with Durabond..
Easysand 5 , 20 , 45 , 90 , 210 is alot more forgiving and sands pretty easy and is used typically for the 2nd and 3rd coat on small jobs or in damp areas like garages , bathrooms and basements where drying time is more than the rest of the house...It can also be used for the first coat if Durabond is not used...It is also mold resistant which is a plus in those areas as well..It is also required for use with the fiberglass faced mold resistant sheetrock as a system to prevent mold..Durabond can be used for the first coat in this system as well..It is also very good for skimcoating old plaster walls...
There are 4 types of plaster that you can get but again plastering isn't really a DIYer thing so you don't see it much in HD or Lowes..Basecoat Plaster , Finish Coat Plaster and the Skim coat or single coat plaster are the typical ones you see and are applied on plaster board (sometimes called blue board) or metal lathe..Gypsolite Plaster is a lighter version of basecoat and is used over metal lathe in areas where weight is a factor..Typically a curved ceiling or similar..You can still get the old Redtop Gypsum plaster that has to be mixed with sand as well and is applied over metal lathe and rock lathe and is mostly used in historic renovations and some commercial jobs..It is typically mixed in a cement mixer and is applied in 2 coats..A scratch coat in which you cover the lathe and scratch it with a rake before it sets and another coat is applied over that..Redtop Gauging plaster is used as the finish coat and is mixed on the table with premixed Lime..There are a few other very specialty plasters as well...Check out the USG website for more info...HTH...
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benick wrote:

Thanks. That helps a lot!
I guess it wasn't my imagination that the products that I remember seeing on the shelves at placess like Home Depot (and maybe Lowes) really did exist. I even remember seeing wood lath strips and both the rough coat and finish coat plaster at a Home Depot near me, but that was a number of years ago. I'll have to do some better checking to see where else I can find the various products you mentioned in my area.
I do remember using Durabond for patching holes and I remember it setting fairly quickly and drying rock hard. I also think it was a smoother mixture and easier to apply -- i.e. less "sticky" -- than the Easysand stuff.
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Wood lathe is no longer used...Metal lath is a 3X8 sheet of metal mesh and rock lath is a 2X8 gypsum product that is VERY hard and has fiberglass in it...HTH..A little trick I do is mix a little regular joint compound with the Durabond and Easysand to fill the bucket... The manufacturer says not to do it but I've done it for years on hundreds of jobs with no ill effects...
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Just a observation, The last time I looked for mud at Lowes, the premix wsa near all the drywall aisle, but the dry mix was stacked over near the cement and sand pallets.
Robin
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Just a observation, The last time I looked for mud at Lowes, the premix wsa near all the drywall aisle, but the dry mix was stacked over near the cement and sand pallets.
Robin
Weird Robin..Both Lowes and Home depot have both side by side here...Mention it to them...LOL...
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On Thu, 11 Feb 2010 10:58:02 -0500, Jay-T wrote:

First off, if you put a fan on any of the types it will dry much faster. I have used mixes of both. My preferred method is to use the bucket mud for taping because it takes so long to do it by hand without a banjo (mud and tape applicator). Even with a banjo, you do not want to have to thoroughly clean between mixes, as would be required by the setting type. You do NOT mix a bucket at a time unless you can use it all up in about 15-20 minutes, maximum working time for the 90 minute mud, and that is debatable.
The reason contractors do not use setting type, except around the tub/shower, is because they do not want to have to thoroughly clean up their mud boxes between coats. I know a crew that works with the boxed redi-mix stuff and are done with an entire home in 2 days with flat walls, not the textured walls. The walls look fantastic!
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