Joint Compound VS Plaster: Which One is Best?

We often need repair and maintenance of our buildings, such as fixing cracks and walls. Cementing materials are always helpful for us to fix the issues properly. But it becomes a bit confusing to choose the right one among the available options. Joint compound and plaster are two widely used cementing compounds. But which one is better when it comes to choosing joint compound vs plaster?

Both are excellent cementing materials. Plaster is a mixture of cement, gypsum, and lime that quickly settles is easy to shape, and is thicker, making it suitable for insulation purposes. On the other hand, Joint Compound is pure gypsum that is easy to apply but hard to shape and takes time to settle.

Both may be used for cementing purposes, but the difference in features makes them better for different purposes. Continue reading my below article about Joint compound vs Plaster to know detailed information about both materials.

Joint Compound vs Plaster: An Overview

When it comes to choosing between joint compound and plaster for your cementing needs, it is important to have a clear understanding of their differences and applications.

1. Joint Compound:

Joint compound is a famous material in the construction industry that is used with fiber or paper joint tape to seal the joints between sheets of drywall for creating a smooth base for the painting of interior walls. It is pure gypsum in white colored powder shape that forms the mud when mixed with water.

It comes in a pre-mixed form that is simple to prepare and apply. The joint compound paste is mainly used to fill the drywall joint and corner areas when new drywall installation.  For cracks in the drywall or plaster wall, then it could also use as a handy material for repairing work.

2. Plaster:

Plaster is a famous building material widely used as a protective and decorative material for coating the ceiling, walls, and moldings. It is a soft mixture of gypsum, cement, and lime; when mixed with water, it becomes a paste. You can use it as a protective material for interior and exterior applications.

Plaster needs skillful techniques to apply, but very easy to shape and quickly settle. When mixed with water, Plaster powder becomes a paste that could spread on ceilings, walls, and other surfaces to make them smooth when dried.

Joint Compound VS Plaster: Quick Comparison Chart

Basis of comparisonJoint CompoundPlaster
CompositionGypsumGypsum, cement, and lime
Settlement timeLonger timeQuick settlement before an hour
ApplicationEasy to apply, do not require prior skillsNeed prior skills for proper application
CostIn-expensiveVery expensive
MoldingCould not moldEasy to shape
PreparationNatural gypsumMan-made

Joint Compound VS Plaster- Key Differences

We mostly know both as cementing materials and think both are perfect for fixing cracks, as fillers for joints and smooth surfaces. But significant key feature differences make them different in their use and purposes.

1. Composition:

The joint compound is a natural gypsum powder in white color that is its primary material when combined with water from the mud-like paste. Plaster is a mixture of sand, gypsum, cement, and lime suitable for different interior and exterior applications.

2. Settlement Time:

Plaster is quick to settle material; it does not take more than 60 minutes to dry and settle, and even with its thicken layer. But the joint compound is slower to settle, which takes 5 to 6 hours and even a couple of days for adequately drying and settling.

3. Easy to Apply:

A joint compound is a simple material that could easily apply by anyone; there is no need for prior skills to apply in cracks or filling the corners or joints. But only skilled people can adequately apply the plaster; otherwise, getting a fine finish is only a miracle.

4. Cost:

In comparing their costs, plaster is expensive material than joint compound. Quick settlement and better and thicker layers of plaster make plaster a better choice for professional projects. So it is costly than the joint compound.

5. Molding Features:

Molding of plaster is very easy; it is pretty easy to shape in any way which makes it a good choice for versatile applications. The plaster is used in statue manufacturing and for many other construction projects. However the joint compound cannot be molded into different shapes.

6. Preparation:

A joint compound is found; naturally, it contains only the gypsum powder. But the plaster is an artificial material prepared after adding different materials.

7. Applications:

A joint compound is familiar as the filler, which works better to fix the cracks, fill the joints, new drywall, and repair the plaster walls. Plaster is suitable for professional projects for coating the interior and exterior walls to prepare hard, smooth, and dryer surfaces.

8. Insulation:

Plaster offers better insulation support than joint compound. The joint compound layer is thinner than the plaster that is not a good insulation material for temperature protection.

FAQ: Joint Compound vs Plaster

Can I use the Joint Compound in Place of Plaster?

Using joint compound in place of plaster is possible. It is a more straightforward solution that takes less effort, but remember it is only suitable for patching the thinner surfaces that or only 1/8 inch or less. Otherwise, plaster is the right option to use.

Which is Harder Joint Compound or Plaster?

Joint compound is perfect for filling the gaps or cracks, but it takes two to three coats to apply. Plaster is found better in that sense because it is harder than joint compound, settles quickly in the harder form that is durable and stronger than joint compound. You only need one layer of plaster.

Which is Better Water-resistive Plaster or Joint Compound?

The joint compound takes time to dry but becomes very resistant against water and ensures complete protection from water when they become dry. Plaster is a tough material in dry form, but it quickly absorbs water, and water passes through pores if it touches with water. Plaster does not find as an excellent water-resistive material.


Joint compound vs Plaster is confusing because both materials are excellent in features. But certain features differences make them suitable for different projects and purposes.

The joint compound is a better choice if looking for an affordable, simple application, water-resistive material to fill thinner surfaces such as corners and cracks.

For professional projects, where quick settlement, durable, and more rigid surfaces are perfect for better insulation, plaster is excellent for cementing.


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