When you have to repair a wall, you may notice there are lots of choices available for products.
Although either of these options can be a good choice, you are going to have to be particular about which one you use and when.
If you have always wanted to understand the difference between patching plaster and joint compound, we have all the information you will need.
Patching Plaster vs. Joint Compound (What’s the Difference?)
The main difference between patching plaster and joint compound is the way the materials react when working with them.
Joint compound tends to work very well on patching holes in drywall.
If you have a seam or a spot where the drywall does not look even or finished, you can simply add a bit of joint compound.
Most of the time, the joint compound is the preferred choice because it is easy to use and something that most people can work with.
However, there are times when you are working with plaster, and a patching plaster may make more sense.
Patching plaster is going to set much more quickly, and it creates a very hard surface.
Patching plaster will not sand away nearly as easily as a joint compound.
This is why you will have to make sure that the patching plaster is very carefully scraped and cleaned off the wall before setting it to dry.
Make sure it looks like the finished product that you are expecting.
What Is a Drywall Joint Compound?
If you are curious about drywall joint compound and what, exactly, it can do for your walls, we can certainly understand.
The fact that drywall is sold in large sheets, yet the compound is almost like a putty makes many people wonder what exactly they are using on their walls.
The drywall joint compound is really like a gypsum paste.
The paste is designed to stick to the drywall and fill in the necessary spaces.
Some people will refer to the drywall joint compound as mud.
This is a common name in the industry as it has a bit of a mud type texture.
The drywall compound will spread out across the walls and fill in any spaces that are necessary.
This compound is sold in both large and small containers.
Knowing how to use drywall joint compound takes a bit of time and practice.
The more you practice, the better you will get at spreading these products on correctly.
What Are the Different Types of Wall Repair Choices That You Have?
When you start shopping for products to help you fix an issue with your walls, you will find that there are quite a few choices.
Narrowing down these choices is your best bet for making sure that your walls look complete and smooth.
We will discuss the different options and help you decide which is going to be the best for you.
The type you of product choose to patch your walls should depend on the type of wall and the condition.
Remember that large holes will need patches and not just the compound.
This compound is used for small holes where a picture was once hanging or a person bumped into the wall slightly.
1. All-Purpose Joint Compound
The all-purpose joint compound is probably the most popular of all the joint compound and repair options.
When you purchase a joint compound, it will come premixed.
The most common sizes for all-purpose joint compound are the one- and five-gallon sizes.
If you are working on an entire house, you will likely need the five-gallon tub.
If you are simply working on a small project around the house, the one-gallon will be more than enough.
If you are installing or repairing drywall, you will need an all-purpose joint compound.
The compound does a great job of making sure that there are no visible seams in the drywall after it has been installed.
When you work with the joint compound, you will see that it takes about six to 12 hours to dry.
For areas where there is very high humidity, you will be waiting 12 or more hours for it to be set.
If the joint compound does not set, you cannot move on to the next steps of sanding and painting.
Be patient and make sure that it is fully dry before you move on to the next steps.
2. Topping Compound
A topping compound is very similar to the drywall joint compound.
The major difference is the fact that this is a very lightweight material to work with.
The lightweight material helps to make sure that the product goes on a bit more easily and spreads out with little effort.
When you install drywall sheets, they are going to have a gap between them.
This gap needs to be covered before final work can be done on the wall.
Choosing the topping compound will help to make sure that the final coat is going to look right on the finished wall.
Those who want to add some texturing to their walls can also use the topping compound for texture.
The traditional joint compound is a bit too thick to use for creating texture on a wall.
The texture will be too raised from the wall and will deteriorate over time.
3. Hot Mud
Hot mud is a unique product that will be sold as a powder.
When the powder is mixed with water, it begins to harden almost right away.
This means that whatever you are planning to do with hot mud needs to be done quite quickly.
This is a great product to use when you need to make emergency repairs or don’t have days to wait to finish a project.
Some professionals like to work with hot mud because they can get further along in a project in the course of a day.
The thing that makes hot mud a little more difficult to deal with is that it gives you hardly any time for adjustments.
If you are a bit slow with spreading the product on and getting it to look right, you will end up with ugly chunks of this product stuck to your walls.
Sometimes it can make sense to practice with a bit of the hot mud on a small piece of scrap before working on putting it on the finished walls.
Another great benefit of the hot mud product is that you will be able to add several coats in the time that it normally takes to put just one coat on.
4. Plaster of Paris
Plaster of Paris is something that you may have only heard of being used in art projects.
Although many artists are commonly using plaster of Paris, so are home improvement contractors who are working on homes.
Plaster of Paris is going to be the best choice to consider if you have plaster walls.
Plaster tends to work a bit differently from the drywall, and therefore it is important to use a product which is specifically designed to be used with plaster.
As you probably already know, plaster and drywall have very different looks to them.
When you examine up close, the finish is much different.
Therefore, you are going to want to make sure that you use the proper product when fixing the wall so that the finish matches.
Sometimes, if you end up with the wrong finish, you are going to be able to see the differences when you add your final coat of paint.
After the time you spend on your repair, you will not want to realize that you have used the wrong material.
In general, when it comes to plaster, we tend to stick with the plaster-based products.
Most professionals would never use plaster of Paris when repairing drywall.
5. Patching Compound
A patching compound is a good material that can be used on a variety of surfaces.
Instead of being built just for drywall or plaster, the patching compound can be used on a variety of materials.
In fact, one of the most common uses for patching compound is to patch a hole in wood.
Many people will use patching compound on concrete and even plaster.
However, there is an essential thing to remember about patching a compound: it is not the best fit for fixing walls.
The patching compound is made with very durable materials, and it is also quite coarse.
Therefore, the material is rough, and it will really stand out on a wall.
The wall will not look properly finished, and the areas where the patching compound is located will be very noticeable.
Even though the name sounds like something you would use to patch drywall or plaster, it is best to choose one of the products above.
It’s a good idea to keep a bit of patching the compound around the house should repairs come up, but joint compound is going to be just as important if your home has drywall walls.
Can I Use Joint Compound to Patch Plaster?
We mentioned that we would not use plaster of Paris on a piece of drywall.
There is just really no reason to use it, and you will find that joint compound works just as well.
The opposite question can then be asked about using joint compounds on plaster.
The joint compound material is sticky enough and capable of adhering to such a variety of materials that it will also work on plaster.
Although the joint compound is probably not going to be the best choice for plaster, it will certainly work.
This depends on the type of work you are doing as well as your skill level.
Professionals are capable of making a wall look good regardless of the product that they are using.
This skill takes some time and some patience to master.
For a homeowner who has never tried to patch plaster or drywall, it is essential to choose the proper product.
Ensuring that your product is the proper one makes it easier to complete the project and get your home looking great again.
If you have a drywall or a plaster repair or installation project in front of you, it pays to understand the different types of materials out there.
If you end up using the wrong material, you will probably cause more work for yourself.
This is one of those things that you will look at always on your wall and know that it was not done correctly.
Doing a project like this correctly the first time saves both time and money.
As we mentioned, if you are new to using joint compounds, use some on a little on a scrap piece before you start on your finished product.