How To Remove Joint Compound?

The spreadable consistency of joint compound or drywall mud makes it an excellent option to use with drywall. However, you may need to remove the drywall mud if your renovation project doesn’t turn out as expected. The specific method for getting the joint compound off your wall will depend on your situation.

How To Remove Joint Compound?

Here are six methods to remove the joint compound from your wall:

  1. Scrub the joint compound using a sponge and warm water.
  2. Use a paint remover to strip latex paint off the wall.
  3. Scrape the joint compound off the wall with a scraper.
  4. Soak the wall and scrape the mud with a floor scraper.
  5. Remove large pieces of drywall mud with a utility knife.
  6. Use an electric sander for sanding the drywall mud.

These techniques are pretty straightforward, and just about any DIYer can do them, regardless of experience. Keep reading to learn the nitty-gritty details of each technique.

1. Scrub the Joint Compound Using a Sponge and Warm Water

Fresh, unpainted joint compound is simple to remove because drywall mud easily dissolves in water.

All you need is a drywall wet sanding sponge and a bucket of warm water.

Don’t have a drywall sponge?

No worries.

A piece of cloth is a good alternative, provided it can soak enough water. Here’s what to do:

  1. Soak the sponge or cloth in a bucket of warm water (hot water works fine too).
  2. Apply the water on the wall and wait for three to five minutes for the drywall mud to break down.
  3. Now, scrub the joint compound off the wall.

A sponge, water, and some elbow grease should do the trick. However, this technique won’t work for walls with paint.

That’s because the water can’t get through the paint.

You can use the next method for a painted wall.

2. Use a Paint Remover To Strip Latex Paint off the Wall

Commercial paint removers work well for getting rid of latex paint from walls.

Once the paint is off, you can easily remove the joint compound underneath.

These products effectively break down the paint, making it easy for you to access and remove the joint compound.

Other paint-removal methods can cause a lot of mess.

But that’s not the case with commercial paint removers.

That’s another way of saying commercial paint removers are your best bet if you dislike a lot of tidying after your DIY renovation projects.

Using this method is pretty simple. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Apply the commercial paint remover to the painted wall to strip the paint.
  2. Use the previous method (warm water and sponge) to remove the exposed joint compound.
  3. You can also sand or scrape the drywall after removing the paint from your wall. (We’ll discuss the scrapping and methods below.)

3. Scrape the Joint Compound off the Wall With a Scraper

A sponge and warm water may work for fresh, unpainted walls.

But that method won’t work well for a very dry joint compound, even if the wall is unpainted.

Scraping is a better option for hardened drywall mud. All you need is a scraper.

The stiff blade of the tool is highly effective for scraping off the joint compound.

To remove drywall mud using a scraper:

  1. Grab a scraper.
  2. Work your way through the joint compound.

4. Soak the Wall and Scrape the Mud With a Floor Scraper

This technique requires wetting the wall before scraping the joint compound off with a floor scraper.

The long handle on the tool makes it a better choice for accessing hard-to-reach wall areas.

To remove joint compound using this method:

  1. Get a bucket of water or use a spray pulverizing bottle to thoroughly wet the wall with water and allow it to soak for about 5 minutes.
  2. Grab a floor scraper and hold it against the wall at an angle of approximately 30-degrees.
  3. Now, scrape off the joint compound.

5. Remove Large Pieces of Drywall Mud With a Utility Knife

Scrubbing a damp cloth or sponge on a wall is okay for removing a relatively fresh joint compound from small portions.

But a more efficient way to tackle a large portion of drywall mud is to use a putty knife.

The thinner blade on the putty knife can easily wedge under the drywall mud and remove it.

This method works well whether you are working with a wall or any other surface.

Here’s how to use a putty knife to remove joint compound:

  1. Push one corner of the putty knife into the edge of the joint compound.
  2. Pull the portion of the drywall mud off the wall.
  3. Cut off any drywall paper that comes off.

6. Use an Electric Sander for Sanding the Drywall Mud

It takes a lot of effort to tackle painted drywall using a putty knife or scraper.

Want to skip the hard labor? Consider an electric sander.

An electric sander is a good alternative for painted drywall if you don’t want to use a commercial paint remover.

In addition to being more convenient, electric sanders produce better results than scrubbing, scrapping, and manual sanding.

Here’s how to use this technique:

  1. Wear a protective mask to avoid inhaling the dust from the drywall mud or paint.
  2. Start the removal process with coarse sandpaper (a 100-grit option works great) and sand through the joint compound.
  3. Switch to finer sandpaper once the initial paint removal phase is over.
  4. Keep going over the wall until it’s completely smooth.

Key Takeaways

Removing the joint compound from your wall is a lot easier than setting-type plaster.

The methods you use will depend on your situation.

Scrubbing the drywall mud with warm water and a sponge works well for fresh, unpainted walls.

However, you may need a scraper or putty knife to remove the hardened joint compound.

Apply a commercial paint remover to expose the drywall mud if you have a painted wall.

This product makes it easier to get rid of the joint compound.

You can also use an electric sander if you want to skip the hard labor.

Cheers, tools owners!

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Hi there! My name is Jack and I write for ToolsOwner. I have a passion for everything related to tools and DIY projects around the house. You often find me in my workshop working on new projects.