Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
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Drywall mud is a water-based product that contractors and home renovators use to seal drywall seams and patch holes. It can be used to make your home project easier when it comes to sealing seams and holes.
Because it’s a water-based product, drywall mud has a similar freezing point to water. It can freeze at temperatures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) or lower. However, even at temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius), it can begin to go bad.
Drywall mud is made from materials that cause it to be smooth in texture when applied to the walls of your home. Once applied to the wall, these materials start to dry, and the moisture begins to evaporate. This “seals” any seam you are trying to close and any holes you are trying to cover.
Freezing Point of Drywall Mud
Since the freezing point of drywall mud is the same as that of water, the mixture will freeze if it is left out or applied in colder weather. Keep in mind that other materials within the mud mixture will also make it more difficult to defrost.
What’s more, if the temperature is consistently under 55 degrees Fahrenheit, it is likely that the mixture will be affected in ways that are not good for its application. At 32 degrees or below, the mixture becomes completely frozen.
What Temperature Should Drywall Mud Be Stored?
Drywall mud should be stored in a “room temperature” environment for it to stay in the right consistency. Room temperature is between 55 degrees and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
If it’s stored in a room that is not at room temperature, you could face the risk of ruining it. If the temperature is too high, the water could evaporate from the mixture, and you would just be left with the other compounds. This would make the mixture too hard to be put onto walls.
If it’s not stored at room temperature and it is too cold, you run the risk of the mixture freezing. If the mixture freezes or gets too cold, you will have to go through the process of seeing if the product can still be used on the walls.
What is Drywall Mud Made of?
To understand why the mixture can be difficult to work with if frozen, let’s take a look at what is in drywall mud. Drywall mud is a water-based product that is used for drywall usage in our homes. This water-based product is made up of compounds that are usually complex.
The complex compound mixture has water in it, which is why the mixture can freeze. The water aspect of the mixture also allows for the mud to be flexible and versatile. When the water is in the mixture, it is smooth and easily spread onto walls. When the water evaporates, the mixture becomes hard and seals the area it was applied to.
Other chemicals and compounds make up the drywall mud mixture. Some of these may contain limestone, expanded perlite, ethylene-vinyl acetate polymer, attapulgite, and other ingredients. These ingredients with the water in it make up the drywall mud that can go on smooth and harden after evaporation.
Drywall Mud is Frozen, Now What?
If you stored your drywall mud mixture in a place where it could get frozen or partially frozen, you are going to have to see if the product can be used and if you can unthaw the product. There are cases in which the drywall mud can be unthawed and still used on the walls to do its job. This process will take time to do.
Steps to Unthawing Drywall Mud
- Bring the mixture into a place that is room temperature (55 degrees-95 degrees).
- Allow the material to unthaw for 24-48 hours. (Sometimes this can take longer depending on how much product you have to unthaw and how long it has been frozen).
- Allow the water to rise to the top of the mixture and keep that water in the bucket because you will need it.
- Use a drill and paddle (attachment for the drill) to slow mix up the drywall mud.
- Fully mix the drywall mud to see if you can use it.
- Add water if the drywall mud seems to be a little too dry to apply it to the walls.
Thawing Drywall Mud Warnings
Do not use the drywall mud mixture if the following things are happening:
- It has an unpleasant smell.
- The mixture is still lumpy.
- There are ice crystals in the mixture.
- If the mixture does not have a smooth texture.
Extra Tips to Help Thaw Drywall Mud
If you are unthawing your drywall mud and the mixture is still lumpy, you could still save the product. If the material is not lump-free, you could let the drywall mud mixture unthaw for a couple more hours. The drywall mud mixture might just be frozen still.
If you are unthawing your drywall mud and you see ice crystals, you can allow the mud mixture more time to unthaw at room temperature (55 degrees-95 degrees).
If you have unthawed your drywall and it is too hard, you can add water to the mixture. Before adding water, you must make sure that the mixture is completely thawed in the middle. If you see ice crystals, do not add water yet.
Add water slowly so that you do not put too much water into the mixture. You do not want the mixture to be runny. Add a little water at a time, mix up the mixture with the drill and paddle and assess. If the mixture is still too hard, add a little more water until you get the consistency you want.
If Unthawing is Not Successful
If you have tried all of the above and the drywall mud is still lumpy or has issues, you should not use the mixture on your walls. There’s a chance that it could ruin the finish of your drywall or project.
At this point, your best bet is to buy a new batch of drywall mud. It’s not worth ruining your drywall project and affecting the long-term outcome of your renovation project.
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