Drywall mud, also known as joint compound, is a mud-like mixture containing gypsum. You can use it to seal the joints between your sheets of drywall.
It’s also good for smoothing out any imperfections to give your drywall a flat, uniform surface.
Drywall mud can take a long time to dry, however. Many products recommend waiting 24 hours for the compound to cure completely.
If you’re on a tight schedule, here are some handy tricks to speed up the drying process.
To make drywall mud dry faster, always apply multiple thin coats instead of a few thick coats. Let each coat dry all the way through between applications to improve the finish of your project. You can also control the heat and humidity of the room in which you’re working to dry the mud faster.
What Is Drywall Mud?
Drywall is a combination of paper and gypsum, a natural chalk-like mineral. It comes in boards that you have to hang next to each other on the framework of wherever you’re building.
Because drywall comes in separate pieces, there will be seams between each board.
You need to seal these seams before you finish the walls with paint or paper. This creates the appearance of one smooth surface. It also improves the overall strength of the wall.
Professionals use drywall tape as an initial seal. Then they apply drywall mud over the tape and seams so it doesn’t peel away. This drywall mud is also called joint compound or sometimes just mud.
Like drywall boards, drywall mud contains gypsum. It’s usually in the form of a powder that you mix yourself. You can also buy a “wet” version that just requires a little thinning with water in order to be used.
There’s also all-purpose mud and topping mud. All-purpose mud is good for the first few coats as the bonding agents are stronger. However, this also makes it more difficult to sand for a smooth finish.
That’s where topping mud comes in. Topping mud is a lighter form of mud than all-purpose and sands well. This makes it ideal for the final coat.
Tips To Make Drywall Mud Dry Faster
In general, drywall mud can take about 24 hours to dry. This applies to each coat, as you should always let each coat dry completely before you apply another.
If you try to apply a new coat while the previous layer is still wet, you’ll end up with an uneven, messy wall. The initial application will be more difficult, and you’ll end up spending more time sanding it down.
You also run the risk of applying new coats when only the surface layer is dry. This can affect the integrity of your final coat and the drywall overall.
Drying times will vary depending on the brand of mud you use, but 24 hours is usually the outside limit. If you want to make it go even faster, there are a few tricks you can use.
1. Apply Thin Coats
Multiple thin coats are almost always better than a couple of thick coats. A thick coat takes longer to dry than a thin coat.
It’s also more difficult to tell if a thick coat is dry all the way through. If you add another layer before the others are dry, you lessen the integrity of the final product.
The bottom layers will take much longer to dry, if they dry at all because you’ll create a barrier with the topcoat. The walls will be more prone to dents and holes due to the unfinished bottom layers.
Thin coats will not only dry faster individually, but they’ll also give you a better finish overall.
2. Heat The Room
Drywall mud cures fastest in warm temperatures. This is because the drying process removes the moisture from the material.
Cold temperatures slow the curing process because water isn’t leaving the mud. It’s simply freezing and hardening. Heat breaks down the water molecules and pulls them into the air, drying the mud left behind.
You can heat the room in which you’re drywalling by turning up the building’s furnace. You can also run a space heater inside the room.
According to the Drywall Finishing Council, the best temperature for drywall mud to dry is between 70- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit. This should dry the mud in under 24 hours, with adequate humidity.
3. Run A Dehumidifier
The heat pulls water molecules from your drywall mud into the air. But if the humidity in the air is already high, there’s nowhere for that water to go.
Water molecules move from areas of high concentrations to low concentrations. The humidity in the room where you’re drywalling needs to be lower than the water content of the drywall mud.
You can use a dehumidifier in your room to reach the ideal drying levels. You should also adjust your humidity to be between 0% and 50%.
4. Use A Drying Gun Or Hair Dryer
If you want to localize the increase in temperature around the drywall mud, you can use a drying gun or even a hair dryer.
These tools will help you direct the heat right where you need it. This will save energy over heating an entire room. The temperature will also rise faster since you’re heating a smaller area.
You also won’t have to worry about working in an overly warm room once the mud is dry.
Using these tools is especially helpful if you’re only working with a small patch of drywall mud. If you’re in a pinch, you can use drywall mud as a replacement for spackle.
You should never hold your heating tool too close to your wall. This can heat the compound up too fast, resulting in drying the surface but not the entire layer beneath.
Applying drywall mud is a necessary step in finishing drywall projects. It seals joints to make the walls stronger and creates a flat, uniform surface. You can even use it to fix cracks or holes.
In order to get the best results, you have to let the mud dry completely between each step of the project. This can be time-consuming, but there are ways to make the drying process go faster.
Heat and humidity are key factors in the drying time of drywall mud. To dry the mud in less than 12 hours, heat up the work area through space heaters, the furnace, or a drying gun.
You should also run a dehumidifier to keep the moisture in the air around the mud low.
Finally, be sure to work the compound in thin layers. These will dry faster and more fully than thick layers and will give you a better finish overall.