Plus 3 Joint Compound: Dry Time, Quality, And Some Concerns

Joint compounds are an important material in drywall installation and repairs. Knowing the quality, properties, efficacy, and shortcomings of any joint compound you choose is important. We want to review one such joint compound, the Sheetrock brand Plus 3 Joint Compound. It is a lightweight all-purpose joint compound from the United States Gypsum Corporation (USG) and a well-received product in the industry. We want to discover ourselves if it lives up to its reputation.

As part of our review and to help you make an informed purchase, we will point out some specifications and features of the Plus 3 joint compound. Additionally, we elucidate the drying time and qualities of the Plus 3 joint compound. As well we point out some concerns with have about this product. Lastly, we list some additional considerations we believe you will find worthwhile.

Specifications and Features

The Plus 3 joint compound is a vinyl-based or ready-mix drying joint compound. It is a lightweight all-purpose compound that works in many scenarios and the stages of drywall finishing. According to USG, Plus 3 joint compound has 25 percent less weight than regular joint compounds. You can apply Plus 3 joint compound by hand or using a mechanical device.

The Plus 3 joint compound coverage can span 1000 square feet (100 square meters) per 9.4 gallons (38.3 Liters) of drywall or gypsum panels. It comes in different package sizes, including:

  • 5-gallon carton
  • 5-gallon pail
  • 5-gallon carton

Plus 3 joint compound must be stored in a dry location with temperatures between 55- and 95-degree Fahrenheit (13 to 35 degrees Celsius). Because this joint compound is water-based, it is subject to freezing. So, you must protect it from very low temperatures, extreme heat, and direct sunlight exposure. Always tightly seal the container.

If you store this compound correctly, it has a shelf life spanning up to nine months from the date of manufacture.

The Plus 3 joint compound emits low levels of volatile organic compounds and has a gold certification from Greenguard. It also meets the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) standards for testing and evaluating Volatile organic compound emissions.

The Plus 3 joint compound has many uses, they include:

  • Drywall finishing
  • Drywall filling
  • Covering fasteners
  • Drywall skim coating
  • Application of simple textures by hand
  • Embedding joint tapes
  • Repairing plaster and drywall cracks or holes

Dry Time

The Plus 3 joint compound’s full dry time is about 24 hours, under a specific temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity of 70 percent. It will dry to touch about an hour after application. However, you should note that the Plus 3 joint compounds drying time are dependent on several factors, including the thickness of the mix, temperature and humidity.

So, depending on how thick or lightly you mix this compound and some environmental conditions, the drying time may vary significantly.


USG’s products are popular in the drywalling industry and have a reputation for being high-quality. In this regard, the Sheetrock Brand Plus 3 joint compound is not different. It is a top-notch joint compound known for its ease of application.

Regarding durability, Plus 3 joint compound is very resistant to cracks if you mix and apply it correctly. As such, you can avoid issues with cracking and decorating drywalls when using Plus 3.

Regarding application, the lightweight Plus 3 all-purpose joint compound mixes easily compared to conventional alternatives as it absorbs water more quickly.

Even more, depending on what you want to use it for, it will not always be necessary to thin Plus 3 joint compound as it is factory-mixed. For example, you can use Plus 3 straight from the box to cover corner beads and fasteners. You can save time when you use it without thinning.

Furthermore, Plus 3 allows for easy mixing, sanding, and spreading. Plus 3’s ease of use has made it popular with DIY enthusiasts. The ease of use of the Plus 3 joint compound makes it a good option for beginners. Its cost-friendly price is also a boon in this regard.

Plus 3 joint compound’s smooth, almost butter-like consistency helps reduce the risk of droppings and staining of the woodwork. Additionally, Sheetrock’s Plus 3 compounds have factory-controlled shrinkage, making it a good option for very smooth finishes without requiring significantly more work, unlike conventional joint compounds. You will need one less coat on fasteners and beads when using the Plus 3 joint compound.


Despite its great qualities, we have a few concerns regarding the Sheetrock Plus 3 joint compounds that we believe you should know. We discuss them in the points below.

  • Plus 3 is less adhesive than Sheetrock’s all-purpose or conventional joint compound. Thus, it may not be the best taping option. You can improve its adhesiveness with some wood glue, although this is not USG’s recommendation.
  • This lightweight joint compound is easily affected by environmental factors. Plus 3 joint compounds can freeze if exposed to low temperatures. Furthermore, exposing it to heat and direct sunlight will not do much for its quality. In case of freezing, avoid applying heat to the container and refrain from adding water until you remix it.
  • Plus 3 joint compounds are not your best choice for areas with significant moisture, for example, bathrooms. In such areas, it is best to use moisture-resistant joint compounds.
  • Epoxy coating shrinks when curing, which can cause considerable stress to the applied joint compound. So, check the suitability of whatever epoxy coating you intend to use to determine if it is suitable or compatible before applying it. Also, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully when preparing and applying an epoxy coating. Failure to follow these instructions can cause the epoxy coating to weaken the bond of the Plus 3 joint compound, which will result in delamination.
  • Plus 3 lightweight joint compounds only work well with joint paper tape. Using other types of drywall tape, like mesh, will not produce great results. You should keep this in mind if you intend to use mesh tape. Mesh tape works best with quick-setting joint compounds, not lightweight all-purpose joint compounds like sheetrock brand Plus 3.

Working With Plus 3: Things to Know

  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when installing gypsum panels or drywalls.
  • Maintain a minimum building temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit when working with Plus 3 joint compound.
  • Ensure you have adequate ventilation before applying the Plus 3 joint compound. Good ventilation will help remove excess moisture.
  • Clean the gypsum panel or drywall surface to remove dirt and other foreign properties before applying Plus 3 joint compounds. Removing dirt and other materials will help you get a stronger bond and consistent finish.
  • Store Plus 3 joint compounds at temperatures between 55- and 95-degree Fahrenheit to maintain their quality.
  • In taping and finishing joints, consider thinning the Plus 3 compound to improve the ease of application. Don’t mix this joint compound with anything other than clean water.
  • It would be helpful to know that since the Plus 3 joint compound is a lightweight all-purpose mud, it is not as hard as heavier alternatives. While this makes it easier for sanding, good for texturing, and simpler to apply, it is less durable when dry. Therefore, in certain cases, you will be better off using regular all-purpose joint compounds that are midweight or heavyweight. For example, heavyweight all-purpose joint compounds will be more suitable for embedding tape and corner beads than a lightweight option like Plus 3. USG has the Sheetrock brand all-purpose joint compound for such scenarios.
  • Always follow manufacturer recommendations when applying any product, including Plus 3 to get the best finish and maintain user safety.
  • Exposure to dust from the Plus 3 joint compound can cause some irritation to the eyes, skin, throat, nose, and upper respiratory system. Thus, when sanding this compound, wear protective equipment like goggles and nose masks to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth, respectively. Also, ensure the room is well-ventilated when you sand the drywall compound. Constant exposure to the dust can cause lung disease.


In this article, we have reviewed the USG-made Sheetrock brand Plus 3 joint compound. We assessed its specifications, features, qualities, drying time, and concerns. Additionally, we outlined some additional considerations for your examination in purchasing or using this joint compound. Plus 3 joint compound is an excellent high-quality lightweight joint compound. It has some great qualities. Plus 3 joint compound is easy to use, spread, and sand. Also, it is great for newbie drywallers and the DIY crowd.

The drying time for Plus 3 is a day or about 24 hours under specific conditions. The level of thinning, temperature, and humidity will affect drying time. Some concerns about Plus 3 include its unsuitability with joint tapes outside of paper, inadequate adhesiveness in certain scenarios, and susceptibility to certain weather conditions. Nevertheless, Plus 3 joint compound is a good mud for many drywall tasks. Adequate care, application, and adherence to manufacturer instructions when working with Plus 3 joint compound can help you create an outstanding drywall finish that will last long.