Building Knowledge

How to choose the right ready mix joint compound

Mar 28, 2024

See which joint compounds work well regardless of the level of finish you need to achieve


There are numerous types of ready mix joint compounds available on the market — from lightweight and low dust to those formulated for taping and others designed to be used for all levels of finish. ProForm Finishing Products, LLC, an affiliate of National Gypsum Company, manufactures over a dozen types of ready mix joint compounds, some created for use nationwide and others designed based on regional performance preferences .

Most experienced drywall finishers have their favorite joint compounds. What should a new finisher do to know the available options and understand how to choose the optimal joint compound, also known as drywall mud, for the project at hand?

We created this guide to help you simplify the choices.

What should I consider when selecting a ready mix joint compound?

Every project is different, so ask these questions to guide your ready mix selection.

  • What level of finish do I need to achieve?
  • Is the project large or small?
  • Is the project single story or multistory?
  • Will I use mechanical taping tools?

Versatile ready mix joint compounds for all finish levels

ProForm manufactures three core products available nationwide that perform well for practically any drywall finishing project. All three are UL GREENGUARD GOLD certified for low-VOC emissions.

  • ProForm® All Purpose Joint Compound is a standard-weight joint compound ideal for all applications, from taping and filling to finishing and texturing.
  • ProForm® Multi-Use Joint Compound is a midweight joint compound designed for all phases of finishing.
  • ProForm® Lite Blue® Joint Compound is a lightweight joint compound that is 30% lighter than conventional ProForm joint compound and has up to 33% less shrinkage. It’s ideal for all applications other than taping, including spotting fasteners, finishing joints, filling corner beads and sanding.

For projects where dust control is a priority, such as renovations, consider ProForm® Lite Blue® with Dust-Tech® Joint Compound and ProForm® All Purpose with Dust-Tech® Joint Compound.

Resource Alert:
Read more about how joint compounds with Dust-Tech can reduce dust by up to 60%.


What’s the difference between standard weight, mid-weight and lightweight joint compound?

Standard weight and mid-weight joint compounds contain more latex, which improves adhesion to the gypsum board. The heavier joint compound is also more durable but shrinks more during drying. Shrinkage results in less coverage area, so you’ll end up using more mud.

Lightweight joint compounds shrink less, but because they contain additives such as perlite to reduce weight, they are not as good at adhering to the board.

When adhesion is most important, such as during taping, choose standard or mid-weight joint compound. The remaining steps can be done with any joint compound depending on personal preference.

5 frequently asked questions about choosing ready mix joint compound

Which ProForm ready mix joint compound is best for Level 1 finish?

Standard and mid-weight joint compounds, such as All Purpose and Multi-Use, have superior adhesion for securing tape to joints and interior angles.

Which ProForm ready mix joint compound can be used for Levels 2–5 finishes?

Lite Blue, All Purpose and Multi-Use all work well for applications required in each of these levels of finish. Ultimately, it’s a matter of preference — with some finishers preferring a lightweight product that is easier to sand and transport on the jobsite while others prefer a heavier, more durable product.

Which ProForm ready mix joint compound works best with a taping tool?

All Purpose and Multi-Use Joint Compound are the ideal choices when using automatic taping tools. In addition to providing superior adhesion, they also can be used for all levels of finish.

What kind of ProForm ready mix joint compound is recommended for multistory projects?

On large, multistory projects, you might prefer a lighter pail to haul around. Lite Blue Joint Compound is 30% lighter than conventional ProForm ready mix. Additionally, it is easier to spread and has less shrinkage. Remember, if you select Lite Blue, it’s best to use a mid-weight or standard weight joint compound for taping to ensure superior adhesion.

Should I use a different joint compound for each application?

No, you don’t need to use a different joint compound for each application. Choosing one that performs well for embedding tape, filling or trimming corner beads, finishing joints, spotting nails, texturing, skim coating and sanding is an option based on your preferences

Ready to get started?

Download the ProForm materials estimator to take the guesswork out of ordering your go-to joint compound, along with gypsum board, joint tapes, nails and screws.