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Drywall Mud Vs. Joint Compound (Differences Explained)

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

Drywall mud and joint compounds aren’t new terms, especially for home remodeling.

We use them to cover small cracks and create seamless smooth finishes for our walls; they’re of great importance in the world today.

However, the only issue is, many individuals find it hard to differentiate between the two.

Some people even go as far as using the names interchangeably. So how can one distinguish between the two?

Well, the fact is, there is no difference between drywall mud and joint compound. If there’s any difference, it’s probably in the spelling of their names. Drywall mud is a joint compound, and it is drywall mud; Thus, you can often use them synonymously. Drywall mud or joint compounds contain gypsum, which helps skim coating and drywall finishing.

Is Joint Compound The Same As Drywall Mud?

A Joint compound is the same as drywall mud. As stated before, the only difference is the spelling of the names. Apart from applying skim coats and creating smooth finishes, a joint compound helps fix breaks in existing drywall and plaster surfaces.

You can likewise utilize it to fix holes, though it will take some time to dry and may shrink. So, again, make sure you apply it in stages to avoid shrinks.

One benefit of drywall mud, be that as it may, is the simplicity with which you can sand it. Another is that you’ll generally have some around the house, presumably the one remaining over from your last renovating project.

Can I Use Joint Compound As Mud?

You can use a joint compound as mud. Therefore, mud is a ‘joint compound.’ In the United States, most professionals and workers in the construction sectors even prefer referring to ‘joint compounds’ as mud. Likewise, in Canada, it’s more known as drywall filler.

It just narrows down to preference because if you’ve sincerely seen a ‘Joint Compound,’ you’ll notice that it’s somewhat like mud.

Additionally, you can substitute joint compound for a mixture of flour, salt, and a few water droplets.

Mix them proportional in a container, such that they form a paste and are mud-like. After that, apply it as usual.

Which Drywall Mud Should I Use?

Even though professionals use different types of drywall muds in distinct stages of a drywall installation, I advise that you use the lightweight All-purpose Compound. I suggest it because it is easy to use. Alternatively, you could use it in all the stages of your drywall installation. Most people who love to do things themselves and professionals prefer it too.

I am not saying you shouldn’t use the appropriate drywall mud in the respective stages. But, of course, you should if you can get them ready.

For example, drywall installers use topping compounds during final coating and texture finishing.

It is a low shrinking compound that offers a very sturdy bond. I don’t recommend topping Compound for embedding joint tape, the first coat on most drywall joints.

On the other hand, ‘taping compound,’ as the name implies, is ideal for embedding joint tape. However, it dries tough and is more difficult to sand than the lightweight all-purpose and topping.

Taping compound is an ideal choice if you wish to cover plaster breaks or need superior bonding and crack resistance.

Likewise, it is the best mud choice for overlaying drywall boards in multi-facet allotments and ceilings.

A quick setting compound is another type of drywall compound. It’s Commonly called hot mud and is ideal when you need to wrap up a task rapidly or when you need to apply different coats around the same time.

It’s so helpful in filling profound breaks and openings in drywall and plaster, especially where drying time can be an issue.

Assuming that you are working in a place with high humidity, you should utilize this compound to guarantee a legitimate drywall finish.

The type of drywall mud you should use solely depends on the kind of application. Where do you want to apply it, and how severe is the damage.

Independent of any factor, a lightweight all-purpose compound is okay in almost every case.

Can I Use Joint Compounds As Spackles?

You can use a joint compound as a spackle though I suggest that you always use a spackle where it is rightfully applicable. Using it where it’s rightly applicable will ensure the effectiveness of the work done.

Both spackle and drywall mud assist in covering blemishes and imperfections on plaster walls and drywall.

But there’s a slight difference in the usage and overlap in the functionality of these two. The difference is simply the scale.

Usually, professionals use a joint compound for finishing large houses and repairing big cracks and holes, while they use spackles for small openings.

Joint compounds, which consist of gypsum dust and water, also assist in covering tape Seams and nailheads in drywall installation.

They take a very long time to dry after their application, and for this reason, it’s best on large applications.

It’s easy to apply and covers a lot of huge imperfections. It will cover a large surface area.

Joint compounds shrink as they dry, so you need multiple coats to create a good surface. So why don’t you go for a spackle if the imperfection is little compared to a joint application?

Spackle is better in this case because it doesn’t shrink and has a simple application methodology.

Spackle is slightly different from drywall mud, though it contains gypsum dust. It is applicable in a scenario of narrow repairs like nail holes, tiny bits, and tiny cracks.

It’s a mixture that dries up faster and shrinks less. Through limitations, you can also use spackle to fill in large patches or imperfections.

For example, you can only cover patches about an inch wide. If you decide to use Spackle in any case, always remember to prime the patches before you paint over them.

Otherwise, they’ll absorb paint through their porous surface and possibly show through later. Also, apply the spackle with a putty knife.

Point the blade around 45 degrees and run it in downwards movements until you fill the opening. Eliminate excess spackle with the knife.

Drywall mud is a product best used for finishing large rooms and surfaces. You can also use them for tiny repairs, though I suggest you use spackle which contains more binding agents and dries faster.

Unfortunately, spackle is not easily spreadable for bigger holes and finishes.

Can I Use a Joint Compound As Plaster?

You can use a joint compound as plaster. In some cases, it’s even more ideal to use both plaster and joint compound to ensure the effectiveness of your work. Apply one coat of plaster over fiberglass tape, after which you’ll then apply three coats of drywall mud.

The fact is, Plaster is very brittle, sturdy, and relatively difficult to install unless you are a trained professional.

This reason alone makes drywall mud more preferable.

Moreover, Installing gypsum drywall panels over wood or metal studs has been a standard and well-acceptable interior wall covering in North America since the late 1950s.

It is much more inexpensive, easier to install, easier and cleaner to remove for renovations, and faster to install than plaster wall applications.

It may interest you to know that some pros even question plastering over drywall. They insist that one merely needs to install the drywall, tape, and mud the seams.

Furthermore, plastering over drywall is just like shaving a bald head. You don’t need it.

Plastering over drywall has no necessity. Just skim coat with drywall mud instead.

In North London, a lot of people use drywall in their homes. So I am sure using plaster over drywalls must have arisen there.

I would not suggest putting a plaster over drywall. It could be that you like the appearance of the plaster. But that is when you will need to install brick walls.

I’m not saying using plaster is not so good. However, it’s not too economical, and drywall mud is better, especially in the case of drywall.

Utilizing a joint compound lets you spread a more thin coat that you can easily sand when you’re through the whole process.

Utilizing joint compound rather than plaster gets you a smoother wall surface with less manual effort.

However, assuming you choose to utilize plaster, you will see that the task will be more stressful.

Due to the thicker consistency, you will probably need to sand it down more vigorously to have a seamless surface.

If you’re fixing little jobs that need a quicker drying time, you’ll prefer plaster. Your application demonstrates which product is the best fit for your venture.

By and large, the plaster will be the best answer for a difficult-to-deal-with-issue or visible deformities in the drywall. 

It’s the best answer since it is less inclined to break and thicker. In addition, plaster can help cover various surfaces, marks, and dings.

While it may seem that joint compound and plaster are alike, they use them for different purposes.

Therefore, it’s better to use products for their designed purposes than improvising, though not bad.

I advise that you evaluate your specific needs before you plunge into purchasing materials.

Your local home improvement store ought to have the options to assist you with choosing either a joint compound or plaster to complete your undertaking!


When you hear a drywall mud and ‘joint compound,’ you should be confused. They both mean the same thing.

The type of drywall mud you use should mainly depend on the nature of your problem and where you want to apply it.

Generally, use a lightweight all-purpose compound, though note that it might not give the kind of satisfaction you want because it’s just an alternative to many.

Even though you can use joint compound instead of spackle and plaster, I advise you use each product where they’re appropriately applicable to achieve maximum results!


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