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Drywall Mud Consistency? (Things You Should Know)

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Last updated on August 14th, 2022 at 01:28 pm

When you get your drywall mud, you don’t want to use it straight from the bag or bucket to avoid a bad result.

The goal here is to have a well-dimensioned wall, and the mud doesn’t come in its best consistency all the time.

So wondering what consistency your drywall mud should be is sure, no doubt necessary.

A drywall mud should always be creamy and smooth, smooth enough to be spread evenly without falling off. The main goal is to get the best drywall mud that will stay and last on your wall. When plastering with the knife, It will crumble if it is dry as you press it and will fall off your blade and the wall when wet.

What Consistency Should Drywall Mud Be?

Your drywall mud should be smooth and creamy in such a way that it is not runny when applying it to the wall. It should be soft enough to stick on the wall without falling off or giving the wall some air bubbles. The drywall mud should not be thick unless you are trying to fill some holes on the wall, but not too thick.

When you buy your mud compound, the directions always advise you to add a little water to it.

Usually, the drywall mud in buckets comes premixed, which you can use directly from the bucket and get a good result without necessarily adding water.

The purpose of adding water to it is to make it smooth enough if the mud has stayed long and gotten thick.

How Do You Know If Drywall Mud Is Smooth?

Sometimes, it can get very annoying and depressing trying to get a perfect consistency when mixing this compound. Plastering drywall mud is a piece of art, and as such, you should have fun with it. The mixture should not be too watery but creamy. As earlier said, a drywall mud from the factory comes smooth, but the application process can alter that. When using the drywall mud, you can pick up some particles like small stones, or the wall is not perfectly smooth. When the walls are rigid, after applying the compound and it dries up, you will see some hills and valleys when painting.

When mixing the compound, some indications help you determine if the drywall mud is smooth enough.

And also some tricks you can try out to know if it is smooth or not when applied to the wall.

I will be discussing some of these indications during mixing and tricks to detect defaults on the wall surface to know if it’s smooth.

When mixing the mud to the proper smoothness, you should make sure to check out any of these indications mentioned below:

#1. Water showing up in the drywall mud

If you are not that experienced with adding water to the mud, this is one error for which you should lookout.

Always avoid adding too much water as it only requires very little water.

When there is water on top of the compound, fix your mixing paddle into the drill you are using.

Stir the mixture at low speed until it is evenly mixed, and when there is no more water, your drywall mud is smooth to use.

#2. The time it takes to dry when applied to the wall

A smooth drywall mud should dry up within 24 hours. So when your mud takes more than 24 hours to dry, that’s a sign that you have added more water to the mixture, which tells that the mud was not smooth.

#3. The appearance of air bubbles

These air bubbles are usually caused by poor mixing of the compound. This happens mainly with the powdered mud in bags of drywall mud when mixed.

It can also occur in the bucket premixed mud that must have gotten thick over some time before use.

And also, when you purchase the drywall mud and store it without using it quickly.

This mixing requires more water than the already smooth from factory drywall mud.

Make sure the compound is mixed well, not seeing those tiny bubbles showing.

It should appear as creamy as possible. Below are some tricks to know if the drywall mud is smooth when applied to the wall.

#4. Use your eyes to observe the wall

Carefully examine the places you’ve covered up screw holes and joints. Such areas are most likely to be rough.

#5. Rub your hands on the wall

Run your hands through the wall surface, rub over small shadows you can see because ridges are casting the shadows.

#6. Use a handheld lamp light to check the surface

You can do this trick in place of rubbing your hands since you can’t see every shadow.

The lamp should have a very bright light, take a position and hold the lamp at a sharp angle.

The light runs parallel to it, and this should detect any shadow cast by ridges on the wall; when you notice these ridges on the wall, you can mark them and patch and repair such areas.

Note; in this article, the words drywall mud and compound are used interchangeably throughout the article; they refer to the same thing.

How Do You Make Drywall Mud Smooth?

Using the right kind of mud consistency is the first step to having good drywall taping. However, the ones that come in buckets are premixed, unlike the ones that come in bags that are in powdered form. If you are new to this, I advise you to go for the bucket type to reduce the stress of making it smooth.

You should read the mud manual on the bucket and books on drywall mud because these videos won’t give you the perfect answer.

Drywall Mudding is not something you can quickly learn, and it takes time and practice to get good.

It is a skill that can be very useful when learned because not everybody can be patient enough to understand it.

When you want to mix the mud to make it smooth, it is advisable to mix it in a mud pan.

Mixing loosens the little thickness in the compound, and the reason for mixing in the pan is easy mixing.

First, pour the mud into the pan and insert the mixing paddle (Drill) into the bucket.

Reduce the speed of the drill and insert it into the pan of drywall mud, begin the mixing and ensure that it’s done thoroughly.

When it has attained a certain level of smoothness, remove the drill, add very little water and mix it for the last time.

For the dry compound in bags, read the manufacturer instructions to know what amount of water use will be using the quantity bought.

Add the required amount of water and follow the bucket-type mixing steps, but you won’t remove the drilled paddle this time.

If it is too thick, you have added a small amount of water to the compound and mix till it becomes smooth.

This little amount of water can be two teaspoons of water per gallon.

What Happens If Drywall Mud Is Too Thick?

When drywall mud is too thick, it causes mud cracks, lines, and indentations that form as muddy sediments dry and contrast; these form on every wall corner. Sometimes when you purchase a premixed compound, it is smooth and ready to use directly from the bucket. But, as earlier said,  they can get thick over time when stored, and you can’t rely on the premixed mud.

The compound quickly dries if the drywall mud is too thick and plastered, which means the consistency is wrong.

Being too thick can mostly be due to long time storage, which reduces the absorbing ability of the mud.

The mud loses its quality over time, which is why it is advisable to use it quickly after purchase.

Too thick mud also messes up your several coating of the wall and the paintwork.

The beauty of the smooth wall is altered, which doubles your work by fixing the damages. 

Your drywall mud should not be too thick, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and add a little water to smooth it.


Drywall mud consistency is essential for drywall plastering; your plastering work will fail without the right consistency.

With the need to make your drywall mud smooth, you should remember that practice and time are required to be good with it.


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