Properly installing drywall isn't a quick and easy process. It takes not just effort but also plenty of time, particularly when it comes to drywall dry time. The length of time a drywall installation takes depends on how skilled the person or team is, the size and layout of the walls being drywalled, and the temperature and humidity of the air, among other factors.
Drywall mud, also known as joint compound, needs to dry for 24 hours between each coat and before sanding, priming, and painting. However, if you need to speed things up, a few shortcuts can quicken the overall installation process without risking the end result.
Apply Thinner Coats
Just like when you're painting, applying thinner coats of drywall mud means it takes less time for each layer to dry. This is the top way to decrease drywall dry time. H
The first coat that you apply will take the longest, as it needs to be the thickest to fill joints and cover screw dimples. From there, thin it out — not only does it cut dry time, but it also reduces the likelihood of indentations and future cracking.
Turn up the Temperature
You can't control Mother Nature, but you can turn up the heat in the room that's being drywalled. To quicken drywall dry time, turn on the furnace, put space heaters in the room, or if it's a small patch of wall, aim a high-heat hairdryer at the area. Set up a dehumidifier, too, to suck the moisture out of the air in the room.
Increase Air Circulation
The length of time it takes for mud to dry decreases when there's air moving around the room, versus staying stagnant. If it's not incredibly humid outside, open up the windows to circulate the air. However, if there's humid air outside, you don't want to let that humidity in — it will counteract the whole idea of cutting the drying time. Set up fans in the room to get the air moving, whether or not you're able to open the windows.
Use 'Hot Mud'
If you're really in a time crunch and you know what you're doing, use the type of compound known as "hot mud." It's a powder that you mix with water, and it's formulated to set like plaster, so it dries in just 20 to 60 minutes. However, it's easy to make mistakes using this type of mud, and that rapid dry time means there's not much time to fix them. The first time you use hot mud, apply it only to a patch job to get used to how it works. If you need to mud a larger area, stick to standard compound until you feel like your skill level is up to par.
When using hot mud, only mix up enough to fill up the mud pan once. If you mix too much, you risk the mud drying before you use it all. In the same vein, wash your tools immediately after mudding, not only to avoid it drying on the tool but also because the residual compound in the pan can set the new batch within minutes, making it unusable.