How Long Does Drywall Mud Take to Dry?

by James Antony | Last Updated: 1st June 2020

When building or remodeling a building, the interior walls are one of the most integral parts. Interiors walls offer privacy through separation and also provide sound and fire insulation. The components used to construct interior walls should be easy to work with and durable.

Drywall is one of the perfect interior wall materials readily available and easy to work with. A drywall is a panel made of gypsum wrapped in several layers of recycled papers. Drywall is a modern alternative to the ancient wall plaster. The material has gained popularity in the construction industry since it is cheaper compared to other interior wall materials. Drywall is also used to cover ceiling frames.

Mudding is a process done to smoothen and strengthen drywall and drywall joints. Before mudding is done, taping and gluing are done to seal the sheets of connected drywalls, especially at the joints. Mud work is after that done using two types of drywall mud:

All-purpose mud
This is applied as the base coat hence covers all dents such as nail holes. This material is also used to smooth over the tape.

Topping mud
This is a lighter variation of the all-purpose mud that is applied as the topcoat. Topping mud is used to strengthen the base mud and add to its thickness. Post mudding techniques like sanding and painting are done over this layer.

While connecting drywall panels is easy and not time-consuming, mudding drywall requires patience as the time for curing and drying must be allowed between layers.

How long does drywall mud take to dry?

The overall drying time of drywall mud is 24 hours. One layer of drywall mud should be left for a whole day before the application of another. The same time must also be allowed before processes such as priming are done on the drywall. The drywall mud drying time is however, not a fixed figure as it is a function of many factors. Due to this, it is recommended to wait until the drywall mud layer is bone dry before proceeding to other processes.

Factors that influence the drying time?

Depth of application – It will take more time for a thicker drywall mud layer to dry than it will for a relatively thinner layer. Thicker mudding is done to improve features such as insulation. Shallow mudding is suitable for ceilings and separation walls.

Temperature – A drywall mud patch may take as less as 3 hours in a warm and dry room. For the same mudding depth, it may take more than a day in a cold and damp room.

Humidity – The amount of moisture in the air around the space where drywall mudding is done also affects the amount of time it takes the mud patches to dry. The more humid the area is, the more time it will take for the mud to dry.

Since some of these factors are location-dependent, it would help if you consulted drywall experts in your locality to understand how factors such as weather conditions affect the drying time of drywall mud.

How long does drywall mud take to dry review

How to make drywall mud dry faster?

What happens if you don’t have enough time to wait for the 24 hours average drying time? Is it possible to apply one drywall mud layer in the morning and apply another at noontime? It is possible to make drywall mud dry faster through the use of some tricks. Most of the below tips help tweak unfavorable factors affecting drying to reduce drying time.

Apply thinner mud coats

If the joined drywall panels have no special purpose, such as insulation, it will help if you applied thinner coats. A valuable tip for optimizing the roles of the drywall mud while reducing the drying time is applying a relatively thicker base coat and thinning out the other layers.

Use hot mud

While the all-purpose and topping mud may take a day to dry, the hot mud can take only one hour to dry. The drying time of hot mud is similar to that of hand-applied wall plaster. The hot mud is mixed with water in proportions indicated in the manual before application. A tip when using hot mud is mixing it with water in small amounts to avoid pre-drying before application on drywall.

Dehumidify the air

As discussed earlier, air humidity in a room must be low to reduce the drying time of drywall mud. A dehumidifier would aid in the reduction of moist air in the space where the drywalls are being installed. To enhance the dehumidification process, open all air circulation spaces in the room.

Raise the temperature

If your working space is not warm enough or if you are installing drywalls during the cold season, warmers must be used to fasten the process of mud drying. You can either use space heaters or a furnace to raise the temperature.

Can I dry joint compound with a hairdryer?

Yes, it possible, but it again depends on the thickness of the drywall mud patches. Using a hairdryer can only be energy efficient when drying thinner layers. To do this, aim the dryer a few centimeters away from the curing layer and turn the appliance on. The hairdryer not only raises the temperature of the targeted area but also increases air circulation near the place. These two mechanisms fasten drying of thin layered drywall mud.

What happens if you paint over a wet joint compound?

If your mud work involved the application of a thin layer, then it would not be a big deal painting over wet mud. Thicker mud layers need to dry for at least 12 hours before painting or priming to prevent shrinking of the compounds as the mud cures. It is also advisable to use a sprayer bottle instead of using brushes and rollers as they could compromise the smoothness of the wet joint compound.

How Long Does Drywall Mud Take to Dry – Final Word

While many people may wish that their drywall mud dries faster, it is worth noting that anything that dries out naturally always turns out better. This hence reduces all factors affecting the drying time of drywall mud to the time available for that project. You should evaluate your timeframe and choose whether to wait for the joint compound to dry naturally or use drying fasteners.

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