What Is a Mud Pan Used For?

Its purpose, types, and tips for choosing a proper tray

Mud pan is an irreplaceable thing if you need to apply drywall joint compound that is pre-mixed onto your walls. However, since most of us don’t do this regularly, we might face certain troubles with buying a proper drywall mud tray.

So today we will explain what it is in fact, and how it must be used. And also, you will learn what aspects to pay attention to when choosing finishing tools for drywall.

How Is a Sheetrock Mud Pan Used?

In simple words, drywall mud pans are needed for pouring sheetrock joint compound into them for further application onto the walls. They are specifically designed for this purpose which means any container of this kind must have certain significant features that make it easy to use for the drywall mud application.

Even if you have never used a drywall mud pan before, if you saw it once, you probably already guessed how it is supposed to be used. To a certain point. it reminds paint trays designed for a paint roller in a way. The difference is that such paint trays are always flat to make them more suitable for the use of a roller whilst a drywall mud pan is somewhat deeper.

When you need to make use of this sheetrock finishing tool, you simply have to pour some drywall mud (which is a liquid form of a drywall joint compound) into it, and apply the product onto the wall using a drywall knife.

It may seem very easy, however, when you need to buy this container, you always have to pay attention to certain factors and features of it to make sure that the drywall mud pan you are going to purchase will serve you long and properly.

How Is a Sheetrock Mud Pan Used
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What to Consider When Buying a Sheetrock Mud Tray?

So you came to the hardware store to buy a sheetrock tray. If you look around, you will definitely see many different sheetrock mud pans being displayed on the shelves. This can be rather confusing since most of us think that a drywall mud pan can hardly have many varieties!

However, they do differ, and you must be aware of what to pay attention to if you want to buy a tool that will do its job properly.

  • choose a drywall mud pan that is made of metal rather than the one made of plastic
  • consider the size of the tool as well

Now let us explain in detail what each of these nuances implies. So first of all, you need to know that a stainless steel mud pan can be made either of plastic or of metal. For the most comfortable work, we recommend you make use of the metal one. It is way more stable and also, metal containers have straight edges that plastic alternatives lack. But for any finisher, those edges matter a lot since they allow you to scrape the drywall knife against them much more effectively and easily.

Plastic drywall pans do have a thin metal strap on one of their edges, but it tends to warp quite easily or even comes out of its setting! In addition, plastic drywall mud pans often get pitted which is unacceptable.

So for the optimal results, you’d better opt for a stainless steel alternative. Like this, you will avoid rust issues and get a long lasting product for yourself that will serve you for years.

The size of your mud pan is also essential, and we will explain why. If you are going to finish your sheetrock walls, you will have to carry this tray with you almost all day long. Which means that you definitely need something lightweight enough. For this reason, the best choice is to buy a relatively small tray. However, don’t choose a too small one! Otherwise, you will have to refill it more often.

Also, take the size of your drywall knife into consideration. Make sure that the size of the knife fits the size of the tray ideally, otherwise, it will be complicated for you to take the compound with the tool. The best is when your tray is at least two inches longer than the longest knife you will be using.

Also, if you are going to use only one mud tray for all the finishing projects, consider buying a fourteen-inch pan since it is a universal size.

What to Consider When Buying a Sheetrock Mud Tray
Credits: www.bunnings.co.nz

How Much Does a Sheetrock Mud Pan Cost?

When you need to equip yourself with all the tools needed for a drywall finishing, you surely would like to know more or less precisely how much money all of them will cost.

As for the drywall mud pan, this container may have different prices depending on the material it is made of. In general, high quality mud trays cost around ten bucks in most of the supply stores. However, a tank that is completely made of stainless steel may cost even a bit more.

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A Drywall Tray. How to Maintain It?

After you are done with the finishing project, cleaning your drywall mud pan is one of the
most essential things you have to do. Everyone knows that the better we take care of our tools the longer they will serve us.

This is why consider taking a few easy maintenance tips into account to ensure your sheetrock mud tray is always in a good state.

A Drywall Tray. How to Maintain It
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  • Like with all the sheetrock finishing tools, wash your mud tray after you are done with the finishing project. Don’t leave it covered with the joint compound!
  • Wash it in warm water in a bucket so that it could be totally submerged into it for better soaking.
  • Use a dish scouring pad and a scrub brush for removing the mud leftovers.

Always start the washing procedure with scraping the mud off using a putty knife. While you are scraping, remember to soak the container in warm water now and then to make the compound softer and easier to detach.

After the scraping, scrub any remaining pieces of mud away, rinse the pan with clean water, and dry it with a clean rag. And always end up with applying either WD-40 or a rust inhibitor onto the container to prevent rust development!

Like this, you will easily manage to keep your drywall mud tray in a proper state longer.

So now you know exactly what a drywall mud pan is used for, what materials it can be made of, and how you can take care of it to make it serve you longer. With all that in mind, preparing for the next home renovation project will not be a great deal for you anymore!

A Drywall Tray. How to Maintain It
Credits: www.bunnings.co.nz

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ How long does a drywall compound last?

Its lifespan is around 12 months.

⭐ How long does it take a drywall mud to dry?

A joint compound needs 24 hours to dry between the coats and before painting or priming it.

⭐ Can drywall mud tray crack?

Yes, if it’s made of plastic.

Written by Melinda Sherween
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Melinda worked as an art consultant and Home Designer for eight years in total. As an art consultant, she was first employed in a local art gallery in San Francisco where she was responsible for picking the most suitable artwork for her clients depending on their goals and budget. At this job, Melinda showed herself as a confident specialist and a true art lover with exceptional taste and artistic sense. Melinda is a passionate author of Housekeeping Bay and we are really happy that she is our Expert.
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