7 Best Drywall Mud – Best Joint Compound For Skim Coating

A new house or old cracked walls? Both need to be coated with drywall mud for smooth finish.  You can make good use of drywall compound when working on your house indoor and outdoor.

The problems that you can fix with drywall mud are limitless.  So, let’s take a look at 7 best drywall mud reviews to help you decide which one is suitable for you.



Editor’s Take


Dap 10102 Wallboard Joint Compound

Best For Professionals

U S GYPSUM Quart Ready To Use Joint Compound

Best Repair Works

DAP Elastopatch Textured 02-Gal Raw Building Material

Best For Exterior Use

Durabond 45 Min Joint Compound Powder

Best For Humid Areas

What is Drywall Mud?

Drywall Mud is a paste made of gypsum and other sealing materials popularly used for new drywall installation. These are also known as Drywall Joint Compound and can be applied on the drywall to repair holes and cracks.

There are different types of drywall mud for different situations, you need to pick one that perfectly suits your problem.

Some joint compound are for skim coating, some for corner beads, and some are great for the base coat.

best drywall mudbest drywall mudbest drywall mud

Our 7 Best Drywall Mud Picks

1. Dap 10102 Wallboard Joint Compound Review

A pre-mixed mud that you can use immediately, no pre-application hassle. Also, you can dilute it to suit your muddling task. 

You can use it with one or many layers, but you will have to wait up to 24 hours between coats. However, it still depends on the thickness of your mud layer.

This product is suitable for skim coats where you want to repair your drywall, it works on previous peeling paint and fills small holes and chips.

Also, it is excellent for new drywalls, but Dap 10102 Wallboard Joint Compound is only suitable for interior purposes. 

The most impressive feature is how it works perfectly with panels and drywalls together.

It is an option for beginners because it has slow drying time, so you can keep muddling and spreading without thinking about shrinkage. 

On the other hand, some find it very wet to deal with, so it depends on your task, try more than one way while mixing with water or without, and generally use it as a joint compound indoor.

Another thing you will experience is how it could be a mess working with moist drywall mud, but as mentioned, this feature has two sides; positive and negative. Dap 10102 Wallboard Joint Compound is still smooth and easy to sand with a drywall sander afterward.

Its ease of use, durability and low shrinkage are the key points that lead us to enlist it as our best drywall joint compound pick for this buying guide.

DAP Wallboard is best for professional applications. It is suitable for areas with mostly dry weather.

Product Overview 

  • Great option as a wet drywall mud
  • Smooth and easy to spread
  • Dries slowly to give time to muddle
  • Good For Skim Coat Walls
  • Great joint compound with panels
  • Durable

2. DAP Phenopatch Wbjc Rtu Off White Drywall Joint Compound

The Phenopatch Wbjc Rtu works best on small projects, like repairing cracks, finishing touches, as topping compound, and filling small holes, etc. But of course, that depends on the amount you purchase and the task you have in mind. So, we are not telling you that you cannot build a brick oven in the yard; instead, we recommend calculating what you need before you order. 

The Phenopatch Wbjc Rtu mud keeps the mudding task straightforward. With this product, you do not need to mix anything to have the perfect texture. Just spread it and enjoy a steady, ready to the next step flat wall.

The good silky texture of the Phenopatch Wbjc Rtu makes it spread evenly and well without any efforts. It is easy to handle, and you need no experience whatsoever. It sands easily too, but you should be aware that it needs about 24 hours to dry completely.

Another thing to be aware of is the shrinkage nature of the product materials, which could lead to lacking mud spots after drying. So, remember to be generous on the spots you care about the most. Especially, when you are using it as the final coat.

The Phenopatch Wbjc Rtu has no after drying flakes. So, you will have an elegant, smooth surface that you expect.

Product Overview

  • Ready to be used straight out of its container
  • Can be handled easily with non-professionals
  • Smooth and silky texture
  • Can be dealt with by various tools
  • Seamlessly surface finishing

3. U S GYPSUM Ready To Use Joint Compound

It is made of gypsum that has a high-quality consistency while mixing and spreading, each grain of it has the same amount of gypsum, water, and the other substances. 

It is soft and leaves no pointed mud. You can also spread without worrying about drying fast; you will have a few minutes before it starts shaping.

And to dry completely, it might take about 24 hours to start spreading another layer depending on your project. 

The U S GYPSUM is a solid drywall mud that will help you in many cases, you have an old house with chips and holes to repair, or your drywall sheets are new, clean and ready to seal and coat; this product will be a great fit. 

Besides, its adhesion is excellent when used before installing tiles in the bathroom or kitchen. For its waterproofing feature, this acts as a sealant also. So, it works great sticking drywall tape as well with the help of joint knife.

If you need a bit amount of caulk and you can do the job with this! Thanks to its superior bonding.

For design and color, it is grey to off-white, it dries hard, then it can be sanded very well, so it would be great to have smooth and soft drywall to paint.  When sanding, be prepared to manage drywall dust.

Another thing to do with decoration is to prepare a recipe of this mud and papier-mache. It is used for shelf and wall decorations and many other artworks regarding decoration. 

One thing that will disappoint you is its slow dryness. This is irritating to wait for a long time to dry a coat for applying another coat when you are doing some artwork.

If you leave home for a long period, this drywall joint compound might catch mold overtime. So, consider this also when making your purchase decision.

It’s high quality finish sets is apart from other products. And due to the finishing ability, it works best for repair jobs.

Product Overview 

  • Impressive for professional contractors
  • Works multiple roles with drywalls and tiles.
  • Good quality of adhesion
  • Grey color to off-white
  • Dries hard and sands well
  • The texture is smooth and soft
  • Good uses for entire wall decoration
  • Easily spread

4. USG 381466 Lightweight All Purpose Joint Compound Ready Mixed

This product comes at the top when you have multiple tasks to finish, it is a product having multiple functions from filling medium holes to coating drywall surfaces.

You might adjust this mud with water to fit your purpose, and do not forget that this one is also applied differently according to your needs. 

For example, you will do two thin coats when you apply it to metal surfaces. Some install wallpaper after applying it on sheetrock, but it is better to utilize its main functions like leveling, taping and skim coating. 

Panel construction is another example of showing this drywall mud’s job. It works well on interior wall panels with its gypsum. 

Back to its primary job of leveling drywalls, the USG 381466 Lightweight does the job very well, leaving no cracks despite the thickness of the layers. 

Being ready to use gives another benefit regarding mixing and putting the right quantities of water and gypsum powder. And that leads to a great product that can be sanded easily.

This product weighs 35% less than any other product of its category and it dries fast.

So, if you are looking for fast drying mud for drywall, this can easily fit your needs!

DIY guys will love this product due to its ease of use. It come premixed and works almost similar to that of our top pick.

Product overview

  • Meets all needs in one product
  • Smooth mud that enables comfort in sanding
  • It can be used on metal also!
  • Leaves no cracks
  • Adjustable with water
  • Ready to use
  • Lightweight drywall mud

5. DAP Elastopatch Textured 02-Gal Raw Building Material

If you are excited about your next big project and finishing your shopping list, we are excited to tell you that we probably found the best drywall joint compound for you. The DAP 7079812290 Elastopatch Textured 02-Gal Raw Building Material fits into all in one mud category.

The variety of surfaces that you could use this product on is overwhelming. Whether you build a new house or a new fireplace, this mud will stick and cover the bricks more sufficient than you would have expected and of course, it will last longer.

And if you work on drywall related stuff, the DAP 7079812290 Elastopatch will assure you excellent flexibility and proper adhesive material alongside an availability to paint directly over it with no need for a primer coating.

As it is waterproof, it can be used outdoors perfectly. And since it can fill big holes, you can make the most of it in an outdoor project without any hesitation or fear of falling parts or bad outcomes.

The DAP 7079812290 Elastopatch Textured 02-Gal Raw Building Material dries fast and seals the surfaces perfectly. However, we should mention that although it is flexible and easy to use, it is hard to sand. So, if you are going to do a lot of sanding before the final coat, maybe it is better to make the layers thinner than usual. Doing so will allow you to sand easily and quickly.

The feature that’s not present in any other product is available in it. You can use it for exterior surfaces which is not possible with most other products out there.

Product Overview

  • Multiple surfaces work options
  • Outdoor usability and waterproof
  • Flexible and can be used with ease
  • Fast to dry and uncrackable finished surface
  • Tough sealing ability

6. USG Series 381110060 25Lb Bag Durabond 45 Min Joint Compound Powder

This product differs from the other products on our list in two main things: the form factor and the way it works.

The powder form of the product makes it categorized under chemical setting powder mud. It uses a chemical reaction to form mud whenever it mixed with water.

This could be a problematic situation for non-professionals to deal with. So, make sure to read the instructions carefully if you intend to do repairs all by yourself.

The Durabond 45 Min Joint Compound Powder can be used for interior and exterior surfaces. The outcome will be a satisfying solid surface that is ready for whatever comes next.

This product stands firm in front of humidity. A thing that will make relief if you live in a high humidity area or if you want to use for roof repairs.

With Durabond 45 Min Joint Compound Powder, you got what you apply. There is a little to no shrinkage after drying.

The joint will be finished on the same day you apply it, and it will be ready for decoration on the next day.

The USG company and its Durabond 45 Min, Joint Compound Powder product, have been so long in the field of compounds that make some people name Durabond as a synonym for Joint Compound products. You need a drywall knife to apply this on the drywall panel seamlessly.

There is no close competitor to this product when you search for joint compound for humid climate. If you live in humid areas, it’s a deal breaker.

Product Overview

  • Humidity and weather immunity
  • No shrinking after drying
  • Long history and credibility
  • Fast dry ability
  • Good fit for a long time and big projects storage

7. U S Gypsum 380208-RDC03 4.5LB Pail All Purpose Compound

This product is also suitable for personal uses and professional ones. Its heavy texture and consistency give much flexibility while you use it for multiple purposes. 

So, this feature of U S Gypsum All-Purpose Compound works smoothly on new drywall installations as it has good quality as a joint compound.

The U S Gypsum All-Purpose is ready to use product as it has a unique formula of blending different substances in the right way.

The time of drying depends on how thick your coat or layer is, and it is generally recommended to have a thin layer in each coat so that one gets the best results of the drywall muds. 

At the same time, you will have some time while stirring and coating because it will not shrink fast. But after having coated, drying time varies.

Finally, if you live in a humid area, this product might be suitable as it has high durability. 

One of the great advantage of this product is it can be used for the finish coat for a perfectly smooth finish on the drywall seams.

Product Overview

  • Smooth texture as its substances previously blended
  • Good joint compound use
  • Good crack resistance
  • Easy to apply for beginners
  • Multiple applications with various types of surfaces

Making Your Decision

Drywall mud comes in different weights and textures. While some drywall muds are more suited for outdoor use, others are intended for indoor use.

One of the best drywall mud is the U S Gypsum 380270 Quart Ready-To-Use Joint Compound. This joint compound has a good consistency that spreads evenly, creating a more textured look.

It provides a long-term solution for small and big holes, unlike other drywall mud. The U S Gypsum is a trusted brand, and it lives up to its promise. It does not create any lumpiness or cracks, and because of its durability, it can be used on multiple surfaces, including mixed media and encaustic work.

As this is a perfect product, you wouldn’t want any of it going to waste. Luckily, no product will go to waste as the U S Gypsum remains wet for an extended period after opening, allowing for multiple applications.

Read Also: Best Drywall Sander Reviews

What is the Best Joint Compound For Skim Coating for You?

To pick the perfect product for getting your job done, you need to know which type does what. Here is a quick overview of types of drywall joint compound-

using textured mud on ceiling

a. All-Purpose Compound

As the name suggests, the all-purpose drywall joint compound is made for the people who have little or no knowledge about this. These can be used for all types of work like using on installation or for repairing or taping. You can use these mud for skim coating also.

These come in pre-mixed packaging so that you do not need to take the hassle of calculating the liquid content and mixing the mud. Although these are very efficient and easy to use for beginners and intermediate level people, these come with some cons also.

The all-purpose drywall joint compound dries slow and the bonding is not so strong like the mud that comes in dry powder form.

b. Drywall Mud For Topping

These are the joint compounds that go after you finish with the initial two coats. This type of drywall mud is popular for its low-shrinking feature and strong bonding ability.

Although these have some benefits, this type is not suitable for beginners. This type of mud comes in a dry powder form that needs to be mixed with water before use. When this type is the best drywall mud for professionals, this is not recommended for beginners!

Another benefit that comes with this type is that you can use exactly the amount you need. So, the spare amounts can be saved for future use while other drywall joint compounds barely offer this benefit.

c. Drywall Mud For Taping

You can guess what it is for, can’t you? You have rightly guessed! This type works great for embedding joint tape on the drywall.

These become very hard when dried and you’ll find difficulty sanding this type of joint compound.

d. Fast Dry or Hot Mud

This is also an easy guess! This type is the fastest drying joint compound that is used for quick works. If you need to do the work within a day and need to apply a few coats of mud, this surely can help you to finish your job.

For their fast-drying capability, they are also known as ‘hot mud’. These are chemically treated to be used in the most humid conditions. So, if all other types fail due to humidity, you can rely on the hot mud for getting your drywall job done.

Read More: Best Primer For Drywall

How to Choose The Best Drywall Mud For Cracks & Taping

Here is a quick buying guide on how you can pick an authentic drywall mud for your new drywall installation or repair work-

1. Know Your Problem

For picking up the best joint compound for drywall, you need to know the exact reason for which you are purchasing the pack. Knowing your problem will help you to make a shortlist of the products and pick the perfect one quickly and efficiently.

When new drywall installation requires a whole lot of drywall mud, repair works require only a bit. So. For making a good purchase decision, you need to check the product weight as well as its specialization so that you do not end up buying a wrong product.

2. Durability and Smoothness

Durability is a thing that must come with every product you purchase. No matter whether it is drywall mud or something else. When it comes to drywall joint compounds, durability is an issue to be looked at carefully.

With durability, the mud needs to be smooth when dried. If the mud does not get smooth after it is dried, you will face a lot of difficulties making the surface smooth enough. You will be spending hours sanding the surface for a final finish.

Read Our take on Best Drywall Stilts

applying joint compound with putty knife

3. Ease of Use

Best drywall joint compound for beginners must come with the feature “ease of use”. There are two types of the joint compound available considering the ease of use, i.e. pre-mixed drywall joint compound, and raw mud.

Pre-mixed drywall mud is the best for people who do not have much knowledge on this but want to do some DIY work on drywall. Raw mud comes in powder form which needs to be mixed with water.

If you are new to these things, you need to pick a product that comes pre-mixed along with clear instructions on how to use it.

4. Drying Time

Fast-drying products are always preferable when it comes to drywall joint compound. But you need to make sure that the product fulfills all other preconditions along with this feature.

If you are not in a hurry and you can skip this feature. But when you have to do the job in a quick time, you need to consider how much time drywall mud takes to dry out completely.

Usually, it takes a day to fully dry out. But some fast dry products can dry out within an hour or two!

Read Our Take on The Best Sandpaper For Drywall

Best Joint Compound For Skim Coating Application Tips

1. When applying drywall joint compound, make sure you clean the surface carefully so that any dust particles do not remain on the surface. Applying mud on the dirty surfaces can lead to an uneven surface that is prone to crack.

2. Use the specific type of mud for your specific problems. For example, if you are applying mud on new drywall, make sure to start with base coat, then all-purpose mud for the second coat and on top of all, topping compound will go. By following the recommended formula, you will be able to make things more durable.

3. Apply multiple thin coats instead of a thick coating. Doing this will help the mud to bond better and rest on the surface well. If you are looking for a perfect and professional finish on your drywall, this is the secret formula!

4. Do not skip the nail or screw holes when applying drywall mud. I saw some of my friends skipping the nail or screw heads when applying mud. I don’t know why they were skipping but you should not do this. Apply on the nail and screw holes so that you get a perfectly finished even surface after sanding.

Read Also: Can You Skim Coat Over Painted Surface?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between joint compound and topping compound?

Joint compound is the stuff that goes inside seams and joints to seal them. Top-coating material, also known as topping compound or finish coat, covers walls after they are spackled to make them smooth and nicer looking.

Why is my drywall mud cracking?

If the mud is cracking on your drywall, it’s because you didn’t tape or seal off an area before applying joint compound. (It will also crack if applied incorrectly.) You should always use a line of tape to reinforce the mud when needed. Without taping, drywall mud won’t be able to hold onto the surface perfectly, especially on wider joints.

What is the difference between joint compound and spackle?

Joint compound has a consistency that’s much like toothpaste while spackling paste, also known as putty or filler, is thicker and dries to more of an apple jelly-like texture. Spackle can be used for smaller jobs where space doesn’t allow for joint compound.

How much mud do you use when taping or sealing off an area?

It’s up to you, but generally it’ll take about a quarter of the mud. You want enough so that when smoothing over with joint compound, there will be plenty for coverage and the tape won’t stick out on either side.

Can I use all-purpose joint compound for texture?

No, texture takes a much thicker compound that’s best to apply with an angled trowel. If you want the joint compound textured too, it’ll need to be applied after the other drywall is finished and while still wet or else your effort will just create ripples in the mud before drying.

However, you can achieve a textured surface with all-purpose mud as well, but that’ll take more effort than it should be.

What happens if you paint over wet joint compound?

If it’s not dry, the paint will cause the ‘flashing’ issue. The issue occurs when you apply paint on an uncured surface and the moisture from the paint is soaked by the compound. Remember to set a timer for at least an hour before you start painting on top of wet mud because if you don’t know how long the compound takes to dry, then your effort is wasted.

Will drywall mud crack in cold weather?

It will crack if you let your mud get too dry before painting it but the temperature has a minimal impact. The compound is thicker and less likely to create cracks in cold weather unless the application was faulty.

What is the difference between lightweight joint compound and regular?

Regular joint compound is better for filling in deep cracks and holes while lightweight is usually used to fill a gap between two flat surfaces. The difference comes from the difference in thickness and weight of the compounds.

What is a good way to knock down waves in drywall mud?

You can use a plastic or wooden board with sandpaper attached and gently rub against it until you have evened out your surface. You may need to repeat this process up to four times if there are deep waves that refuse to flatten out. You can also use a trowel to flatten the surface of your mud in areas that are not as deep, or you could put sandpaper on it and then add more joint compound onto the board while rubbing until flat.

What is the difference between blue and green joint compound?

The green joint compound is usually used for all but the final coat, as it doesn’t have a strong smell. The blue joint compound may be mixed to create different shades of color if desired. So, green is for the undercoat and blue for the finishing coat.

Do you add water to the plus 3 joint compound?

Yes, you should keep adding water to the joint compound until it has the right consistency of peanut butter. You are looking for about a tablespoon or two of water per cup of joint compound. Add more if needed and stir vigorously with your trowel until combined thoroughly.

Do I need to add water to the premixed joint compound?

No, the premixed joint compound is ready to use right out of the bag. However, it may require a small amount of water to get a perfect consistency.

Is joint compound strong?

Yes, joint compound is very strong and durable. It’s used to set the seams between two pieces of drywall or wallboard where they meet in a corner. Once it sets up for 24 hours it will not break down or crumble easily so you don’t need to worry about children sticking their fingers inside corners either!

How long before you can sand drywall mud?

It is best to wait 24 hours before sanding, but if you really need to speed up the process then it can be done after only 12 hours. It will just take more effort than usual and there will still be some noticeable bumps in texture. This step also helps ensure that any small gaps are filled from behind so you don’t have to sand them again for a second time.

How do you know when the mud is dry?

It will feel hard and solid but can be easily tapped with your finger or fingernail without any give in it. It should also not leave anything behind on your finger when touched which would indicate that there’s still wet mud underneath.

How many coats of joint compound do I need?

Most professionals will recommend three coats, but it depends on the type of product being used. A good rule to follow is that a coat should not be applied until the surface from which you’ve sanded off the previous one has dried for at least 24 hours.

Can you mud drywall without tape?

Yes, but it’s much more difficult. Why do you need to do that when the tape is so cheap?

What is the topping joint compound used for?

Topping joint compound is used to create a surface that’s smoother and more attractive than the one created by simply using drywall mud. It typically gets applied after the third coat of mud dries and it has slight sanding qualities because it needs to be textured enough so that paint or another topcoat can adhere well.

Should I sand between coats of drywall mud?

Yes. There should always be some type of sanding between coats to ensure the surface is smooth and that there aren’t any low spots where air bubbles or other minor imperfections might have been missed when applying drywall mud in those areas. It also helps remove dried bits of material from previous coats so they don’t show through the new coat, and it helps lay down the next coat of mud evenly.

How do you stop drywall mud from cracking?

When you are applying the mud, it is important to spread it out. If there are any low spots or areas where air bubbles were missed when they first applied drywall mud, those will probably show up in a thicker layer of drywall joint compound later on because that area wasn’t covered at all and dried over time. To avoid this, you should apply a second coat to these low spots or missed areas so that they are at the same level as other parts of the drywall.

And don’t forget to reinforce the mud with tape, when required. People often ignore the need for tape and eventually get cracked mud.

2 thoughts on “7 Best Drywall Mud – Best Joint Compound For Skim Coating”

  1. Hello, How are you?
    I was wandering how much water can you add to your pre-mixed compounds. Especially when using corner taping machines which require the compound to be fully runny and sloppy like paint. Therefore needing a lot of water.
    Does this create the compounds to SHRINK behind the tape & then create CRACKING topping compounds which i always tend to notice.
    Can you please let me know what compounds are best to stop corners from shrinking and then cracking.


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