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.
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
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
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.
*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.
I am going to publish an article about the different types sometime tonight
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..
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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...
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.
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...
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.
Weird Robin..Both Lowes and Home depot have both side by side here...Mention
it to them...LOL...
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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