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Drywall compound shelf life

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Drywall compound shelf life

Postby andrewro » Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:50 pm

Here's my question of the day. I have one of the big tubs of drywall compound - I bought it in December and have only used a little bit of it. I noticed the Litchfield book "Renovation" claims a one month shelf-life for drywall compound once it's opened, so long as it is kept properly moist. Is this really the case, and how can I tell if it's still good to go?

Thanks!
Last edited by andrewro on Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby BrooklynRowHouse » Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:26 pm

It's generally not a good idea to use old joint compound because the hardener degrades with age and exposure to air leading to a "dusty" joint. It can also harbor mold spores.
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Postby andrewro » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:14 am

What constitutes "old" - I've read one month, six months.... This is about four months old.
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Postby BrooklynRowHouse » Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:18 am

andrewro wrote:What constitutes "old" - I've read one month, six months.... This is about four months old.


I suppose it depends on how tight the container was sealed, the dampness and temperature of the storage area, whether it was misted down before storage, etc.

I used four or five month old joint compound during my kitchen rebuild. I had built a brick eyebrow to the dining room and left the scaffolding up for several weeks to ensure decent curing of the mortar:

http://www.brooklynrowhouse.com/house/kitchen

I couldn't hang the drywall till I removed the scaffolding so that was one of the last steps in the renovation. I'd hung, taped and primed the other drywall months before and had leftover compound from that job. Since I only had three or four short joints to tape I didn't want to buy fresh compound.

What I found was that I couldn't get the compound to knock down as flat as fresh compound. After probably five applications I had a small mountain of compound.which you could plainly see in a side light. I'm pretty good with a taping knife so I knew it wasn't my technique. It had to be that the compound had thickened and even diluting and remixing it didn't help.

I had two choices, both of which involved buying fresh compound: skimcoating the wall or retaping it. I chose the latter because I wasn't sure how well a heavy accumulation of compound would hold up in the steamy climate of a kitchen. I had visions of the tape popping one day while boiling pasta.
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Postby h7432 » Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:53 am

My dad is a taper and the mud will keep for quite some time. If it is not the consistancy you want you can mix in some water with a drill but if you don't know what you are doing I wouldn't recommend it. Also, he only uses the mud in the bucket when he puts the tape on. The top two layers he uses a powder he mixes. He calls it Plus 3. It's much easier to sand.
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Postby Tujo » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:16 pm

Mud will last, but i've noticed old mud starts to get a lot more "chunky" and it doesn't seem like mixing it will get these chunks out. These chunks make mudding a huge pain.
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Postby plastrr385 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:13 am

I'm not sure on shelf life but if you clean the sides of the bucket down during use and I cover the mud with enough water to cover it it should last just pour off the water before next use and remix.Thats as long as it dont freeze.

Nice run on sentence HUH!!!
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Postby BrooklynRowHouse » Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:26 am

I keep the paper cover that comes with the joint compound. When I'm done for the day I hit the mud with a few squirts from a spray bottle and replace the paper cover before closing the bucket.

Unfortunately, this isn't a permanent fix either. After a few months you'll have a healthy mold population growing in there.
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