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Discussion Starter #1
I have 4 bags of Sheetrock Durabond 210 setting compound that I got for like 50 cents a piece on clearance ten years ago. I never read the label so I guess I thought it was regular compound. I usually just use blue label lightweight stuff for my occasional general needs but I was out one day so I mixed about a quart worth of the old powdered stuff in a small, cleaned out blue top bucket. It was a pain in the ass to mix, even with a mixer thing on a power drill. Took a while to get all the clumps out.

But I used it, seemed ok, and I put the airtight lid on. Then I was going to put a second coat on the next day but found my hard-earned mixture was all dried up hard. I never used setting compound before but I guess this is exactly was it was supposed to do, right?

Question 1: does this powdered stuff ever go bad? It seems nice and dry and powdery like flour, so it looks ok to me.

Question 2: is this stuff worth keeping? Is it better than the usual lightweight crap I usually buy? I.e., should I man up and get used to mixing up a batch as needed and experiment and get used to this pro-level stuff?

Question 3: I ask all this because my 25 year old house, ranch with open concept living room/kitchen, has cracks along all the ceiling panel joints in this large (30x30?) room. Some of the corner taping has separated also. I assume it's just settling in for a 25 year old house but I fear the panels might be coming loose. Should I rip out all the joint tape, add some screws, and refinish the joints? If so, I could put a couple of them old bags of Durabond to good use, right?

On the other hand, one forum contributor said just caulk the cracks, paint and see what happens.

What do you guys think?
 

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I have 4 bags of Sheetrock Durabond 210 setting compound that I got for like 50 cents a piece on clearance ten years ago. I never read the label so I guess I thought it was regular compound. I usually just use blue label lightweight stuff for my occasional general needs but I was out one day so I mixed about a quart worth of the old powdered stuff in a small, cleaned out blue top bucket. It was a pain in the ass to mix, even with a mixer thing on a power drill. Took a while to get all the clumps out.

But I used it, seemed ok, and I put the airtight lid on. Then I was going to put a second coat on the next day but found my hard-earned mixture was all dried up hard. I never used setting compound before but I guess this is exactly was it was supposed to do, right?
If that 210 in the products name is supposed to be it's setting time (3 1/2 hours), then that's exactly what happened. But, depending on how much air there was in that blue top bucket, even a non-chemical set joint compound might have dried up on you.

Question 1: does this powdered stuff ever go bad? It seems nice and dry and powdery like flour, so it looks ok to me.
My bag of Synko Pro Set 90 Lite Sand does not have a "Best Before" date on it. I can't remember when I bought it, but it was a long time ago. And, the stuff still mixes up well and spreads well. If your stuff looks OK, mixes up OK, spreads OK, dries OK, sands down OK and primes OK, then it's OK. Probably the reason you got this stuff on sale was because it's difficult to mix.

Question 2: is this stuff worth keeping? Is it better than the usual lightweight crap I usually buy? I.e., should I man up and get used to mixing up a batch as needed and experiment and get used to this pro-level stuff?
If it were me, I would just buy a bag of Synko Pro Set 90 Lite Sand from Home Depot. Joint compound is not expensive, and if you're going to have a fight with a bear every time you want to mix up the stuff you have, it's just not worth the money you're saving. One 9 kilogram (20 pound) bag of joint compound will go a LONG way for DIY'er. 4 bags of the stuff you have is going to banish you to mixing pergatory for a long long time.

Question 3: I ask all this because my 25 year old house, ranch with open concept living room/kitchen, has cracks along all the ceiling panel joints in this large (30x30?) room. Some of the corner taping has separated also. I assume it's just settling in for a 25 year old house but I fear the panels might be coming loose. Should I rip out all the joint tape, add some screws, and refinish the joints? If so, I could put a couple of them old bags of Durabond to good use, right?
Removing the joint tape is going to be a pretty big job. I would try a process called "sponge caulking" instead. That's where you apply a latex (water based) caulk to the crack, push it into the crack with your finger or a putty knife and then wipe off the excess with a damp sponge. That results in ONLY the crack being filled with caulk. If your ceiling is painted white or close to, the repair will be near invisible, and certainly not noticable to anyone who doesn't know it's there. Latex caulk will dry quickly, so don't apply more than about 2 feet of caulk at at time before you get a good feel for how long it takes to wipe the excess off.

On the other hand, one forum contributor said just caulk the cracks, paint and see what happens.
That's what I'd do. You can always remove the joint tape and redo all those joints if the caulking doesn't work. In fact, I'd suggest that if you're not planning to sell your house soon, then you might just opt to learn to love those cracks, and leave them be.

What do you guys think?
We don't think. We follow orders. :wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Yes the 210 means 180-240 (3-4 hrs) set time according to USG. And yes the bucket was all air so I don't really know what's going on.

Today I cleaned out that bucket and it wasn't all hard under the top of the dried mud. I'd of thought it'd be like rock but it was soft enough to gouge out in chunks with a stiff putty knife. Not crusty by any means.

This stuff seems hard to find. I'm not sure if it's even made any more. But Amazon has some (old?) stock selling for $40 a bag! It ain't cheap; I've got $160 worth of old Durabond? I think I'll do some more mixing and application tests to see if it's junk or not. If I don't like it I'm getting a fresh bag of new stuff. I have some other joints I have to tape up that had cracks and I want to use good stuff this time.

As for the ceiling, 90% of it are just hair line cracks so I'm going to sponge caulk those cracks and paint the whole thing. Thanks for the advice!
 

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I have never had any of the dry mix compounds go bad, as long as they are stored dry. I always have a few open bags of the various Easysands around. Make sure you clean whatever you are mixing it in when you are done with a batch and going to mix another. It's a chemical reaction and you'll start reducing the setting time when mixed with residue from the last batch. I used to have a 100# drum of a product called Dependable, if I remember correctly. This was a long time ago before most of the dry mixes you see now we're around. I think it was meant for floor leveling, but it worked like the modern mixes, except it dried hard as a rock. If you didn't sponge it off just before it set up completely, you couldn't sand it. I had that stuff for about fifteen years. Never went bad, used it all up finally.
Mike Hawkins:smile:
 

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I have heard of them having problems if set open for long periods. After I open mine I always put the contents in a bucket with a lid. I read even after being open for can extended period if you mix the dry contents up really well before you add water most problems don't happen.

The big box stores sell Dura bond and a bag runs about $12. 90 minute is usually the longest time they carry but can probably order 210.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah the stuff I mixed up first was from the only bag I opened an unknown number of years ago. Although it was nearly full and I taped up the bag well, clearly there exists a freshness factor that was gone and left it stubbornly clumpy and resistant to mixing without a fight.

But alas! I tore into a "fresh" bag (so to speak) and it performed much better. Mixed up very easily and quickly. It was very smooth and spread like a dream. Not that I have much experience with all this but I've been pouring over videos and practicing and I embedded 16 feet of tape like a pro (well I thought so anyway). The original homeowner had these stupid-looking ceiling speakers in each room and I'm patching in the big holes. Looked like a I'm going to mix some more of this vintage mud tomorrow for the first top coat. So I guess I'll keep and use this old stuff but I'll toss the first bag.


In anticipation of fixing many upper corner taping that has separated, as well as most of my ceilings, some years back I picked up a 12" spreader (or is it considered a knife?), a flat, round-end trowel, and a curved trowel. I've used the big "knife" with much success but the towels have yet to see action. Not sure how to use the curved one right but I'll give it a shot.

This is what nearly every ceiling butt joint looks like in my house. Just hairline cracks.


I gouged out a nail pop and found they used mesh instead of paper tape. Ahah! I'm suspecting this is contributed to the appearance of the cracks, although settling and roof truss uplift are my suspected causes. But consensus seems to be that although mesh tape can form a strong joint, it is actually the paper tape that does a far better job at preventing stress cracks from appearing at all, thus a major reason why most pros use paper almost exclusively. Which would make sense since I'm finding that when they built this house every single possible corner had been cut! I'm having to redo everything.


I've found many panels to be loose, especially at joints with dual cracks. They used nails (again, cheap) and I think I need to add screws but I don't know how deep I should get into this project. I don't want to mess with the mesh tape; it's stuck good and doesn't peel off like paper tape. I will repair the bad spots but I hope sponge caulking does the trick for the majority of it all!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What would you do?

So given these photos, what is the professional opinion on the right way to deal with this mesh tape cracks problem? I may be at this house for many years and I want to do it correctly so they won't come back after it gets painted soon. I will try to hack it out, add screws and retape it all if that is what should be done. UNLESS it is considered a ridiculous amount of work and caulking the smaller hairlines (which is most of them) should be an acceptable approach. As you can tell, I'm really torn. I want to make a reasonable attempt at dealing with this but I certainly don't want to play superman and tear up a 22 X 28 foot ceiling...SuperDuty is just my truck!
 

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Unless used with hot mud mesh tape has no strength and will crack under the very slightest movement. I would tear out the old tape and re-tape. To just do the seams won't be that bad. I would use paper tape or the new FibaFuse fiberglass tape. But remember to use regular pre-mixed mud for your final coat or last couple as it's easier to work with and sand and hot mud can cause paint problems.

I would suggest a 4"or5" knife to apply the mud then use your bigger knife to remove. If these are butt joints you will need to feather them out about 12" on each side of the seams. The round ended trowel should work as long as you don't need to get into a corner. The curved trowel some like them some don't try it and see if it works for you.
 
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