How to Soften Drywall Compound

You can soften drywall compound to achieve a thinner consistency by adding water and mixing it thoroughly. However, this tactic is only advisable when softening new drywall compound that has not yet hardened. You cannot rehydrate chunky or lumpy joint compound that has dried in the bucket. The initial drying process irreversibly activates the glue ingredients in the joint compound. If you add water to dried joint compound to revive it, you will be left with a lumpy solution that won’t adhere to your walls properly.

How to soften drywall compound

Can You Soften Drywall Compound?

It is perfectly safe and often useful to soften new joint compound when you open a bucket. Overly thick joint compound can be hard to spread and may make achieving a smooth finish difficult. To soften a 5-gallon bucket of joint compound, add 1–2 cups of water and mix thoroughly. For a 3.5-quart bucket, add 2–3 tablespoons of water and mix.

  • You can soften new joint compound by adding water to achieve a finer consistency.
  • Add 1–2 cups of water to a 5-gallon bucket of joint compound.
  • Add 2–3 tablespoons of water to a 3.5-quart bucket of joint compound.
  • Mix water into the joint compound using this mixer attachment for an electric drill.
  • Mix the water into the joint compound until all lumps are gone and the mud is uniformly smooth.

When you first begin mixing, the joint compound may take on a cottage cheese consistency. Continue to mix with a drill attachment until the joint compound becomes smooth. Once it has been softened, it is easier to work with for fine feathering and detail work.

How Do You Revive Dried Joint Compound?

Unfortunately, you cannot rehydrate dried joint compound. If your bucket of drywall contains dried material, it cannot be revived. The reason for this is that joint compound contains a glue-like binder, such as polyvinyl alcohol, that works to adhere the joint compound to the wall as it dries. Even if you mix water into the dried joint compound and mix it back to a soft consistency, you will not be able to reverse the chemical process that occurs as the binder dries. The rehydrated drywall won’t stick to the wall as well. It will be prone to flaking and falling out of your wall in chunks.

  • Dried joint compound cannot be rehydrated by mixing it with water.
  • The binding agent in joint compound cannot be rehydrated. Even if mixed with water, the rehydrated joint compound won’t adhere to the wall properly.
  • Rehydrated joint compound is often lumpy, making it impossible to achieve a smooth finish when applying it to drywall sheets.
  • Dispose of dried compound instead of attempting to add water to it.

If you have a bucket of joint compound that has dried, then it’s best to dispose of that joint compound and buy a new bucket. If there is a layer of dried joint compound on top of still-soft joint compound, you may be able to salvage some of the drywall mud by picking out the dried chunks and throwing them away.

How Do You Soften Drywall Compound?

You can soften new drywall compound by adding a small amount of warm water and blending it thoroughly with a mixer attachment for your drill. This will result in a thinner, softer joint compound that is free of air bubbles.

  • Use warm water to thin new joint compound that is too thick and difficult to work with.
  • Do not attempt to soften dried joint compound for reuse.
  • Mixing water with dried joint compound results in a lumpy drywall mud that won’t adhere to the drywall joint.

Avoid trying to soften dried joint compound with water. The chemicals that cause drywall compound to bind to the wall will not be reactivated. This leads to gritty or lumpy joint compound with poor adhesion. You will achieve a poor finish prone to cracking and flaking if you use dried joint compound. If your bucket of joint compound has dried out, your best bet is to purchase a new one.

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