What's the Difference Between a Regular Joint Compound and Lightweight Joint Compound?

What's the Difference Between a Regular Joint Compound and Lightweight Joint Compound?

What's the Difference Between a Regular Joint Compound and Lightweight Joint Compound?

What’s the difference between a regular joint compound and a lightweight joint compound? If you’re an experienced DIYer, you might be familiar with these two terms and how they differ from one another, but if you’re just starting or are looking to switch to lighter materials, it can be confusing to find the suitable material for your projects.


Here’s an overview of the two options to choose the best material for your specific needs!


Lightweight Compound

This joint compound is composed of about 90% sand, which leaves it much lighter than other compounds.


It also gives it better workability, meaning that after you use a trowel to scoop some out of a bucket, it will dry easier on your wall or ceiling. Because it dries so quickly, you can paint over a lightweight compound in 24 hours.


That’s great news for homeowners who want to finish their project quickly without waiting days for their new coat of paint to dry.


However, the lightweight joint compound does have its downsides: because it’s made with mostly sand, it doesn’t last as long as the regular compound when exposed to moisture.


If you live in an area with lots of rain storms or high humidity levels, the lightweight joint compound may not be ideal for your project.


Regular Compound

The ingredients in regular joint compounds dry to a more complex finish than lightweight joint compounds. This makes regular joint compounds great for smooth coating surfaces that can be sanded or coated after drying. Both compounds are better at hiding small holes, imperfections, and cracks than simply using paint.


Also, since regular joint compound dries harder, it’s more effective for filling large holes or gaps. However, because it tends to harden quickly and become brittle, the regular joint compound should not be used on ceilings. And if you need to make any repairs within 24 hours of applying your first coat of joint compound, use lightweight instead.


You’ll save yourself some time, energy, and frustration. The biggest downside to the regular joint compounds is their tendency to shrink once dried. It’s best to apply at least two coats so that each layer has a chance to expand before adding another one.


finishing wall


Comparing the Two Types of Joint Compound

You can purchase joint compounds in either regular or lightweight form. You may wonder what’s different between them. This post will help you understand what each is made of, how they differ, and when to use each one.


If you’re ready to start a DIY home improvement project like tiling or painting, you'll want to learn which material is best for your next task!


Two main differences between these two types of joint compounds are their composition and density. Because it’s less dense than a lightweight compound, regular joint compound takes longer to dry out.


This means you need to work on your project in small sections, allowing each section to dry before applying more material.


For example, if you were using a regular joint compound for a tiling project, you would apply one layer at a time rather than applying all layers at once.


Pros and Cons of Each Type

The pros of using lightweight joint compounds include its cost, which is significantly less than regular joint compounds.


The average costs range from $20 to $30 per 5-gallon bucket, while regular joint compound can cost anywhere from $60 to $120 per bucket.


Another benefit of lightweight joint compound is that it dries faster than traditional putty forms, making it easier to finish walls quickly without any defects.


The cons of using lightweight joint compound are that it doesn’t last as long as regular joint compound, so you will need to reapply more often.


It also has a lower compressive strength than traditional putty, meaning it will not hold up well in high-traffic areas or rooms with lots of moisture like bathrooms or kitchens.


Overall, a lightweight joint compound works best for small repairs and projects around your home.


When should you use lightweight joint compound vs regular joint compound?

Different projects require different joint compounds. Sometimes you’ll need to fill in cracks or gaps between two pieces of drywall. These jobs typically call for a lightweight joint compound because it is much waterier than a regular joint compound, so it is easier to work with.


But even when you don’t have any visible gaps in your wall, you may still want to opt for a lightweight joint compound. Why? Because it takes less time to dry than regular joint compound does.


In addition, the lightweight joint compound doesn’t shrink as much as the regular joint compound does when it dries, which can cause unsightly bumps on your walls if you are not careful.


This means that you can sand down these bumps after they dry if they appear on your walls (as long as they aren’t too large). On top of all that, a lightweight joint compound is a lot cheaper than a regular joint compound!


Tips for using lightweight joint compound successfully

Before you decide which lightweight joint compound to use for your home improvement project, you’ll first have to determine if it’s right.


Some uses of lightweight joint compound are more advantageous than others. Lightweight joint compound is great for covering large areas: When used properly, a lightweight joint compound can be a great way to cover large areas quickly and easily.


For example, if you need to fill in cracks or holes in a wall that spans an entire room or goes up several feet high, using a lightweight joint compound will allow you to do so with ease—and without having to worry about cracking through multiple layers of paint later on down the road.


A lightweight joint compound can help you get back to painting faster: If you’re trying to get a room painted within a short time frame (for example, if someone else is coming over soon), using a lightweight joint compound can help save you time.


Instead of waiting for the regular-strength joint compound to dry before applying another layer of paint, the lightweight joint compound dries much faster; therefore, you won’t have to wait around while it dries before applying additional coats.


On a final note;

So there you have it - a brief guide to choosing between regular joint compound and lightweight joint compound.


If you're working on a smaller project that requires little sanding or your budget is particularly tight, a lightweight joint compound can be an excellent option.


However, if you're working on a bigger project where sanding down isn't as critical or your budget permits something more expensive, a regular joint compound is a much better choice.


For the best regular and Lightweight joint compound, at USGME, we have Sheetrock® Lightweight All Purpose Joint Compound. It is magnificent for all interior decoration finishes.