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You Asked, We Answered: Top 10 FAQs of 2021

USG has established itself as a trusted name in the construction manufacturing industry by providing high-quality building materials that our customers can stake their reputation on. The resiliency needed to make it for over a century in the industry comes with the expectation of standing by the performance of your products, but also sustaining a deep knowledge of those products.

One of the small ways we can nurture this knowledge base is through the FAQ section of These frequently asked questions can ensure that our customers have the information needed to navigate the handling and installation of USG products without hassle. With that in mind, here are ten FAQs from 2021 that had our customers reaching out for answers:

Which side faces out when installing USG Durock® Brand Cement Board Panels?

One of the things that make USG Durock® Brand Cement Board Panels so easy to install is that it does not matter which side faces out.

Regardless of which side faces out during installation, you can expect the same great performance that has made USG Durock® Brand Cement Board the preferred choice of professionals and DIY-ers alike.

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What is the difference between All Purpose and Plus 3® joint compounds?

Besides their name, it mostly comes down to a weight difference between these two products. Sheetrock® Brand Plus 3® Joint Compound weighs about 30% less than Sheetrock® Brand All-Purpose Joint Compound. Plus 3® is also easier to sand and shrinks less, which can pay off in productivity over the course of an install.

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How long does it take joint compound to dry?

While it can vary depending on jobsite conditions, joint compound is able to dry completely in 24 hours. Ideal jobsite conditions for this estimation are a temperature of 70° and 70% humidity, but higher humidity and/or lower temperatures will lead to longer drying times.

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What is the recommended spacing of control joints for gypsum panels?

The maximum recommended control joint spacing without perimeter relief is 30 feet for both wall and ceiling applications. With perimeter relief, the maximum recommended control joint spacing is increased to 50 feet.

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What is the coverage rate for joint finishing when using Sheetrock® Brand UltraLightweight Joint Compound?

You can anticipate approximately two 4.5-gallon pails of Sheetrock® Brand UltraLightweight Joint Compound to finish 1000 sq. ft. of gypsum wallboard. This coverage rate is comparable to other USG ready-mix joint compounds.

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Can USG Durock® Brand Cement Boards be used on the interior and exterior of buildings?

Yes, these boards are compatible with both interior and exterior applications, and they can also be used in below-grade applications such as basements. Below grade in this application does not include direct ground-contact applications.

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What is the best way to store ready-mix joint compound for another use?

First, clean the sides and lid of the container so no dried compound is able to fall into the mixture then level the joint compound surface with a knife.

The best way to store ready-mix compound is to cover the leveled surface of joint compound with approximately a half-inch of clean water before covering the container tightly. All you have to do is pour off any water before reusing the ready-mix joint compound and it will be at a workable texture. Be sure to not store the container in direct sunlight and protect it from extreme heat and cold. The shelf life of an unopened container is up to nine months under proper storage conditions.

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What is the fire rating of joint compound?

Joint compound does not have a fire rating, but it does meet ASTM C475 when utilized in a fire-rated assembly. It is actually a common misconception that a joint compound or any one product carries a fire rating.

When fire testing a wall, the fire rating is not for individual products, but rather for the assembly as a whole, and USG Joint Compounds are featured in numerous fire-tested assemblies.

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Do I need to add water when mixing Sheetrock® Brand UltraLightweight Joint Compound?

This joint compound is formulated as a ready-to-use product, so you do not have to add any water, simply mix and use. If you must add water, use it sparingly and test apply to ensure proper consistency. The material characteristics of Sheetrock® Brand UltraLightweight Joint Compound are different from other USG ready-mix joint compounds, therefore typical jobsite mixing directions do not apply.

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What is the recommended fastener spacing for attaching gypsum panels to walls and ceilings in non-fire-rated assemblies?

When nailing to wood construction, the spacing is 7 inches for ceilings and 8 inches for walls. When screwing into wood and steel framing, the recommended spacing is 12 inches on ceilings and 16 inches on walls. For best results, refer to the relevant fire test to determine fastener type and spacing.

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