Choosing Between a Drywall Joint Compound and a Wallboard Joint Compound

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  • Intermediate
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What You'll Need
What You'll Need

The drywall joint compound and wallboard joint compound is actually the same thing. Since drywall is called by many names, e.g. sheetrock, wallboard, plasterboard panels, etc, there has been confusion over what wallboard joint compound is made for as compared to that of drywall joint compound.

Three Types of Joint Compound

In actuality, both compounds refer to the same thing – drywall mud. However, there are three common types of joint compounds – taping, topping, and all-purpose. When working with drywall or wallboards, each of these compounds has a different purpose.

The taping compound is used during the taping as well as for the second coating. This compound does not shrink too much and does dry easily. The topping compound is used as the finishing coat. It also dries easily and produces a smooth surface when sanded. It can also be used to coat over taping compounds and all-purpose compounds. The all-purpose compound can be used for every phase of drywall installation or repair. However, this type does not have the same stability and strength as both topping and taping compounds combined.

Compound Recommendations

When patching or repairing plasterboard panels, use a powdered form of joint compound, whether it is labeled for drywall or wallboard. This type of compound allows the patching repair to be quick and easy. Because powdered compound dries rapidly, it allows the repairs and painting to be done on the same day. This, of course, depends on factors such as humidity and the climatic conditions during the time of application.

For patching wide walls or entire rooms, do not use the quick-drying powdered forms of the compound. Use a drying type compound, unless you are a professional who can work with wide areas of walls quickly. If not, then it is best to settle with slow-drying compounds. All-purpose joint compound is a good example of the drying type.

When texturing large or small areas of the plasterboard wall, use an all-purpose type compound because it dries slowly. This allows the user to create better texture quality given ample time.

During the mixing process, always use the minimal amount of water to come up with a consistency that does not easily crack when dried. Keep in mind that recoating is a tedious process.

Making a Choice Between Joint Compounds

Whether it is labeled drywall or wallboard joint compound, it is always safer to check the product description before buying. There is no difference between what the compounds are designed to be used for. If it says drywall or wallboard taping compound, then it is purposely designed for taping and second coating plasterboard walls. However, there is a big difference in the quality of the compound when it comes to brand.

Always do some research on specific brands before buying them. Check out product reviews and product specifications on the Internet for wider research coverage. Ask for a professional opinion as well. If not, always follow the plasterboard manufacturer’s recommendations when purchasing a joint compound. Check the drywall installation manual for details.