Is Premixed Drywall Mud Good? Setting Compound Vs. Premixed Mud

When it comes to drywall installation and repair, the choice between premixed drywall mud and setting compound is a critical decision. Both options have their unique applications and benefits, and understanding the differences can lead to a more successful project. This article delves into the details of these two materials, providing insights, real-life examples, and best practices.

Setting Compound Vs. Premixed Mud
Setting Compound Vs. Premixed Mud

Understanding Premixed Drywall Mud and Setting Compound

What is Premixed Drywall Mud?

Premixed drywall mud, also known as joint compound, comes ready to use in buckets. It’s suitable for various applications, including taping, filling, and finishing drywall joints.

Pros of Premixed Drywall Mud:

  • Ease of Use: No mixing required, making it convenient for beginners.
  • Sanding: It sands easily, allowing for smooth finishes.
  • Availability: Widely available in various quantities.

Cons of Premixed Drywall Mud:

  • Drying Time: It hardens through evaporation, requiring up to 24 hours between coats.
  • Potential Scratches: It can scratch easily, requiring careful handling.

What is Setting Compound?

Setting compound, such as Durabond 45 or Easy Sand 45, comes in powder form and must be mixed with water. It’s known for its quick hardening and minimal shrinkage.

Pros of Setting Compound:

  • Quick Hardening: Ideal for filling oversize cutouts and cracks, as it dries hard as a rock in 45 minutes.
  • Minimal Shrinkage: It shrinks very little, providing a robust and durable finish.
  • Versatility: Available in various setting times, from 5 to 45 minutes.

Cons of Setting Compound:

  • Sanding Difficulty: The standard varieties dry so hard that sanding can be challenging.
  • Tool Maintenance: Requires immediate cleaning of tools to prevent hardening.

Comparative Analysis: Setting Compound Vs. Premixed Mud

Application and Suitability

  • Premixed Mud: Ideal for embedding tape, subsequent layers, and topcoats. Suitable for small to medium projects.
  • Setting Compound: Perfect for filling gaps, bedding tape, and areas where sheets don’t butt tightly. Preferred by professionals for quick applications.

Cost and Availability

  • Premixed Mud: Slightly more expensive but widely available in convenient 5-gallon buckets.
  • Setting Compound: Available in 30-lb bags, offering a cost-effective solution for large projects.

Practical Tips and Advice

  • For Starters: Novices should opt for lightweight “all-purpose” drywall compound and “easy-sand” 45-minute setting drywall compound.
  • Tool Care: With setting compound, clean your tools promptly to avoid hardening.
  • Sanding Considerations: Choose an “easy-sand” variety of setting compound to reduce sanding efforts.

Case Studies and Real-Life Examples

Large-Scale Construction Project:

Utilizing setting compound for quick applications saved time and labor costs.

Home Renovation:

The use of premixed mud provided a smooth finish and ease of use for DIY enthusiasts.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Not Choosing the Right Type: Understand the project requirements and choose the appropriate compound.
  • Improper Mixing of Setting Compound: Follow the instructions for the right consistency.
  • Ignoring Tool Maintenance: Clean tools promptly after using setting compound.


The choice between premixed drywall mud and setting compound depends on various factors, including the project’s size, the user’s expertise, and specific requirements. By understanding the characteristics, pros, and cons of each, consumers can make an informed decision that leads to a successful drywall project.

Leave a comment