How Long Does Joint Compound Take to Dry?

Drying time for different occasions and how to make it shorter

Any home renovation projects require quite a lot of time even if they are some minor improvements. And since none of us enjoys being always surrounded with an overhaul and the mess it creates, everyone is interested in how fast they can complete the renovation they started.

For this, we usually need to know how fast these or those chemicals and products will dry, cure, or be ready for being used (for instance, paints, finishes, etc). And since a joint compound is one of the basic and most important “ingredients” of almost any renovation project, we would like to provide you with more detail on its drying time and the ways you can speed the drying process up.

How Long Does It Take a Joint Compound to Dry?

In general, it takes around twenty-four hours or a whole day for the joint compound layer to dry completely before you will be able to apply the next coat. It means that, if you need to coat your drywall, let’s say, two times, you will have to spend two days on that!

So basically, even installing drywall takes less time than covering it with a joint compound afterward. Ridiculous, but this is how everything is with this stuff. However, the drying period of time we mentioned is average which means that in your particular case, drywall joint compound might need more or, on the contrary, less time to dry completely after you apply it.

Since no manufacturer indicates the exact drying time for their product (meaning joint compound) on its container, it is pretty hard to blame them in case your mud gets dry slower than you expected. In addition, you still need to take into consideration that the speed of drying for this substance will strongly depend on the temperature and humidity level in the room where it is being applied!

In addition, there are multiple types of joint compounds on the market that have distinct drying times. It means that you need to be aware of how long each of them dries so that you could calculate the approximate duration for your renovation project. This is why we are going to provide you with a brief description of each type of drywall mud drying time.

How Long Does It Take a Joint Compound to Dry

How Long Does It Take Joint Compound to Dry Before Sanding?

Quite many of you tend to ask this question, but there is no clear answer. Everything hangs upon what type of drywall joint compound is being used since all of them have distinct drying times. So in general, if you want to know at least the approximate timing, think of twelve to twenty-four hours for the single layer of drywall joint compound to get completely dry before another layer can be applied safely.

How Long Does It Take a Joint Compound to Dry
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How Much Time Will Taping Mud Need to Dry?

This type of a drywall joint compound that is meant for taping is rather strong and it is known for having very little shrinkage as it gets dry. It is also crack resistant. To dry it completely, you will have to wait for twenty-four hours or a full day.

How Soon Will Topping Mud Dry After Being Applied?

This type of a drywall joint compound will not be much suitable for covering steel or vinyl beads, as well as it will hardly be useful for taping. However, it will indeed serve you well if you need to get a nice and smooth coat with few bubbles that can be easily polished later.

It is easy to sand, this is why topping mud is often used for the final coats to create a smooth and well-polished finish. In addition, it takes somewhat less time to dry (sixteen hours more or less) if we compare it to the common all-purpose drywall joint compound which requires a whole day for that.


How Long Does All Purpose Joint Compound Take to Dry?

This type of a joint compound is being sold already premixed and it usually comes in a large bucket. In comparison to other types of this product, all-purpose joint compound needs somewhat more time to dry completely before anything else can be applied on top of its layer.

In general, it will take around a day (meaning twenty-four hours) for this stuff to dry fully. But of course, if you apply a thinner layer, its drying time will be a bit shorter. Respectfully, if the coat is thicker, expect your all-purpose joint compound to slower.

Nevertheless, it is usually not recommended to apply this kind of mud in thick layers. See, if you apply an all-purpose drywall mud in a thick layer, its outer coat will dry pretty fast. However, it will then create a sort of barrier which will prevent the inner coats from proper drying!

As a result, even if you wait for a few days, in the end you will get a shrunk and cracked coating that will most likely be damp inside and which will have to be reapplied. This is why all-purpose drywall mud is only suitable for thin and skim coating!

How Long Does All Purpose Joint Compound Take to Dry
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How Fast Will Hot Mud Dry After Being Applied?

This drywall joint compound is being sold in powder form in a bag which means it is unmixed. It can be successfully used for patch repairs and mixed yourself in quantities you need for each particular project. In comparison to the all-purpose drywall mud, this powder alternative needs way less time for drying, approximately twelve hours. But of course, if the layer is very thin, it will dry faster, and if you apply a thicker coat, be ready to wait a bit more than twelve hours until it gets dry enough.

Also, when buying this type of drywall mud, do keep in mind that the number indicated on its package does not show the drying time. It only indicates the hardening time! In other words, it will take more time to dry it out completely. It will be best of all if you let this mud sit and dry for a couple of days for the optimal result.

How Fast Will Hot Mud Dry After Being Applied
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How Long Does It Take Premixed Joint Compound to Dry?

Drywall joint compounds can be sold in either powder form or a pre-mixed liquid form which is often called mud. Naturally, if you don’t want to waste your time on preparing the joint compound yourself, it is easier to buy it being already liquid.

But will drying times of these two types of drywall joint compound differ somehow? In fact, if you need to figure out how soon your premixed joint compound will dry out completely, be ready to wait for a day at least. That is if the compound was applied in a room with the temperature of 70 degrees and the humidity level of 70 percent.

Nevertheless, for letting it set properly, it is often recommended to wait for another day or two! Remember this since quite many people forget about this nuance which later results in improper application of another layer of this substance.

How Long Does It Take Premixed Joint Compound to Dry
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How Long Does Lightweight Joint Compound Take to Dry?

This is another type of an all-purpose drywall joint compound. The major difference between them is that the lightweight version is, well, lightweight! Also, it is more porous, aerated, and it is easier to sand. Besides, it is also dryer than the all-purpose regular mud.

As for the drying time, the lightweight drywall joint compound has a very little distinction in comparison to its regular alternative. This one will need around twenty hours to dry completely, whereas a regular drywall joint mud needs nearly a day for that.

How Long Does Lightweight Joint Compound Take to Dry
Credits: Elnur, via

Factors That Influence the Joint Compound Drying Time

As you definitely know, drywall joint compound has more or less specified drying time. However, it doesn’t mean that this time will be the same if you apply the product in a thicker or, let’s say, a thinner layer! Or if you do this under distinct conditions.

So to help you to apply drywall mud correctly and dry it properly, we would like to remind you of a few factors that influence its drying time significantly.

  1. The thickness of the layer
  2. Temperature
  3. Humidity
  4. The type of joint compound

And now let’s make it all clear and see what exactly each of these aspects mean. So first comes the thickness of the layer. And this is quite natural! The thicker the layer of drywall joint compound you apply, the more time it will need to dry out thoroughly both from inside and from the outside.

Since we usually apply the first coat in a thicker layer, consider it when calculating the waiting time before you can proceed with the renovation project. The first layer of your drywall mud will dry longer in comparison to the other two because here we have to fix all sorts of flaws, such as screw holes, scratches, wall roughness, cracks, etc.

The temperature in a room also matters a lot. The hotter it is, the less time your drywall joint compound will need for drying. Also, if the level of moisture is pretty high, be ready to wait more until the drywall joint compound gets completely dry.

Finally, the type of joint compound you are using is another crucial factor. As you already know, some kinds of this stuff need less time to dry (for instance, hot mud will dry in twelve hours) whilst others may take up to a whole day for drying completely.

Factors That Influence the Joint Compound Drying Time
Credits: Industrial Photograph, via

How to Make Joint Compound Dry Faster?

Since drywall joint compound can hardly be called a quick-drying stuff, many people wonder whether it is possible to make it dry faster somehow since not everyone always has time to wait for a day or more until the single coat of this substance dries properly.

Fortunately, there are a few easy tricks that can help you to speed this process up. And what is even better, none of them requires any additional tools or skills!

  • provide more heat (e.g. turn on the furnace or use space heaters)
  • apply thinner layers
  • provide air circulation by opening the window

If the room where you applied the drywall mud is too humid, it may slow down the drying process. In addition, while drying, joint compound also emits moisture which is evaporating. This is why, if you open the window and let some fresh air in, it will help the compound dry faster and better.

Applying more heat may also help, as well as applying the compound in thinner layers which will also help to avoid cracks in future.

How to Make Joint Compound Dry Faster
Credits: Industrial Photograph, via

How Long Does a Joint Compound Take to Dry Using a Hair Dryer?

If you apply the drywall joint compound onto a small surface, you might want to speed up its drying by working with your hair dryer over it. This is a good alternative to using a fan or room heaters that are quite massive. But how much faster will your drywall mud dry in this case?

Everything hangs upon how thick the layer is. Also, it does matter how humid the room is and what type of compound you actually used. But in general, you can expect your freshly applied drywall joint compound to dry thoroughly in a few hours.

So as you can see, even though drywall joint compound can hardly be called a quick-to-dry stuff, it is possible to make it dry out somewhat faster. Since all of the drying methods are very easy to make use of, they can be suitable even for the home renovation newbies and amateurs.

Besides, since now you know very well how much time each type of drywall joint compound needs to dry out thoroughly both from inside and from the outside, you can easily calculate how long you will have to wait before applying the next coat and thus proceeding with sanding and your project in general.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ What is the fastest drying joint compound?

It’s a hot mud.

⭐ What does the number on a packet of joint compound mean?

It means the time needed for hardening.

⭐ How long does premixed joint compound take to dry?

It needs from 12 to 24 hours.

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