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Wallboard Mud & PVA Primer

DRReinhard's picture

Going back to a thread that faded away at the turn of the year. YCFriend discussed briefly mixing PVA & plaster of paris in mud to do a finish coat on an entire wall. I sent him an e-mail asking further questions - he suggested posting it here so everyone could benefit from the info.

I like your ideas on mixing the PVA primer, plaster of Paris & mud for doing walls. The way I read your last post, you mix a fairly thin, runny mixture of half a gallon of PVA w/ 3 gal of mud & a cup of PoP then roll it on the entire wall. What length nap do you use? Does it flatten out? Sounds like it nearly becomes slick as glass. That's what I'd really like. Need a hint on details of application. I've been working to smooth out all the dings & dents then putting on a layer of Sheetrock First Coat by USG. It is pretty thick, and doesn't really lay flat after rolling it. Still see a lot of roller texture. What does such a small amount of PoP do? Doesn't seem like it would harden it up much at all w/ only a cup in nearly 3.5 gal of muck.

How far does 3.5 gal of this mixture go? I have a 22X24 living room to do - walls & ceiling. Also have a BR & a kitchen, but they are much smaller.

Appreciate any help you can give me.


The GlassMasterworks - If it scratches, I etch it!
The GlassMasterworks - If it scratches, I etch it!

(post #64114, reply #1 of 51)

Bump, nudge, shove, all of the above.


The GlassMasterworks - If it scratches, I etch it!
The GlassMasterworks - If it scratches, I etch it!

(post #64114, reply #2 of 51)


     Good Morning Don,

     I make a similar mixture to "smooth" out walls that would cost too much to float out or replace.

     Honestly, the recipe changes every time, but always includes Plus 3 mud, whatever kind of latex primer I have around, and a handful or two of fast dry mud mix to make it set a little faster.

     When it is thin/ thick enough for me, I roll it out with a 3/4 or 1/2 " roller, depending on how much texture will be acceptable. Sometimes I knock it down after it sets a bit.

     I like the idea of making a smooth, roll-on feathered primer coat. We have 3 entire units in a 4 plex condo project to complete. I know that my rough recipe will suffice in the rear stairwell, but I will try a smoother blend in one the upcoming rooms and post the results when they happen.

     We are on our 4th drywall finisher on this project. I can't believe a guy doesn't want to make $20./hr and get paid EVERY week just to do a decent job.

     Good Luck.  Ricky



(post #64114, reply #3 of 51)


I could use similar advice from YCFriend.  I'm working on a 100 year old house and would like to use this recipe to coat the existing plaster walls and then follow with a primer coat of the SW Builder's Solution.

I suppose I'll just have to try a wall and see what happens.  I'm looking for a smooth finish so it might be more of a challenge for a beginner than a textured look.

I too wonder about the small amount of plaster of paris in the mix.  Guess we need to trust YCFriend on this one and give it a try.

Edited 1/11/2005 8:40 am ET by WIVELL

(post #64114, reply #4 of 51)

haven't tried it myself yet, but, ran into a guy a while back that swore by using a wide trowel with a rubber squeege like edge on it to smooth out textured walls or walls that were all messed up from removing wallpaper

Here is a link to the trowel he mentioned

(post #64114, reply #5 of 51)

Thanks for the link Shoe. That Video makes it look so easy... I just might have to give this a try. I would like to see what YCFriend has to say about this, do you think it looks EZ :-)

Thanks for bringing this topic back to life Don.

(post #64114, reply #6 of 51)

Thanks Shoeman.  After reviewing the website, I think I'll get one of the kits with a 12" and 22" blade and give it a shot.  Looks to be a little more forgiving than a regular steel trowel.

Anyone have comments on the adhesion of the D-mix to bare plaster walls? We are scrapping off all paint & wallpaper layers down to bare plaster and I thought I read something previously about adhesion issues between joint compound and the finish coat of plaster.  Maybe the plaster of paris takes care of this?

Edited 1/11/2005 11:12 am ET by WIVELL

(post #64114, reply #7 of 51)

Hi Don.

Tonight I will go over the whole D-Mix again. Until then we can  learn from others and other techniques.


Edited 1/11/2005 11:35 am ET by YCFriend

(post #64114, reply #8 of 51)

Hi Don.

I just visit the site referred by Shoeman and I saw the video. I like the magic trowel and the paint roller technique. If they use some special compound that is forgiving and you can re-work the same materials until the wall is perfect smooth..then they have a good system.

The D-mix is made from Joint Compound  (the plus 3 is better)

and  latex primer (PVA is better)  I will start with one 5 gallon JC and one gallon of primer. But i will only mix 1/2 of the joint compound 2 1/2 gallons with 1/4  to 1/3 of a gallon  primer. EZ to mix.

When the mix takes a uniform color from the primer I will add one coffee cup (small and only 75%-80% full). Of plaster of paris.(pop)

Then I will use a 3/4" heavy nap 100% lamb skin roller. The stucco roller works too.

The benefit of the D-Mix is that you can apply it with a roller and you can make it smooth (Re-work the same materials to a smooth finish) with a taping knife or even better you can get the magic trowel from the above link.

You need to spend few hours and learn the technique that is better for you to make the finish smooth. I think if you try the magic trowel with the D-mix you can start your own business in few days.

YPF EZ Dino.


(post #64114, reply #9 of 51)

Dino: Thanks. I think that from all this poop I can get this mess sorted out. Are all the real DW finishers that read this site giving birth to longhorn Texas Steers? That magic trowel sounds like heresy to me. Purists should be really shocked that anyone would use anything other than a real steel trowel.

To show my total ignorance, what is "Plus 3" mud?

I have been finishing a 135 degree inside angle joint in the headwall above the stairwell - a real pain in the hemorrhoids trying to establish a straight line between the two wall surfaces. I finally found a piece of vinyl strip w/ straight edges that I screwed to the wall to establish a guide for my knife to follow. A few screw holes are easy to fix if it gives me a straight joint. My skill w/ a 12" knife leaves something to be desired, so I welcome some way of leaving a smooth surface. The rubber squeegee sounds like it.

Thanks for the help.


The GlassMasterworks - If it scratches, I etch it!
The GlassMasterworks - If it scratches, I etch it!

(post #64114, reply #10 of 51)

Don. The D-mix makes the job Ez.You can use any trowel but trying something new sometimes holds the answer to the EZ Road.

The "plus 3" is just another ready mix JC. And is available everywhere. (Blue bucket)

Try it and tell us how it works for you.

See you and good luck.

EZ Dino

(post #64114, reply #12 of 51)


What's the advantage of the plus 3 / blue bucket JC over others?  I have about 6 black buckets (I think it's all purpose) I'd like to use up.  Do I need to add more PVA primer or plaster of paris to this stuff?

Also, no problems for this D-mix adhering to old plaster I assume.
Thanks for your help.


(post #64114, reply #13 of 51)

You can use any JC for the D-mix. They all work fine.

The "Plus 3' works even better.

Good luck


(post #64114, reply #14 of 51)

I noticed the "blue bucket" at lunch time today is the lite JC.

Maybe I should just thin out my mix a bit more.

(post #64114, reply #15 of 51)


Your in Edison abnd I'm in time you are using your D-Mix e-mail as I would like to see the technique and the result.  Better to see it firsthand then to experiment!

(post #64114, reply #16 of 51)

Hi Zano. Sorry my friend but if you don't try it never learn it.

YCF is no more in this business. If he was never learn it too.

See you.

EZ Dino

(post #64114, reply #17 of 51)

YC Buddy,

No time for experimentation!  Watsa matter, you afraid to show it firstshand. I still think that joint compound and plaster don't the labels! Seems to me like a witches brew  I'll believe it when I see it done by someone else.

(post #64114, reply #18 of 51)

Zano my friend.


EZ Dino

(post #64114, reply #19 of 51)

I've been mixing the two for about 25 years now with great results and never any kind of failure.  But you make up your own mind.

(post #64114, reply #20 of 51)

I was wonderin if one of us would chime in. I was undecided letting this thing run its course. Now, were both in here.

I dont know jack squat about plaster paris, but what would it do?

The serious sideways nod is the plus three. Its too soft for texture, unless the paris has some reaction. But even then the regular joint compound makes a more durable surface. Hes been asked several times and wont answer only that it works better. Not good enough when I know that plus three is inferior as a texture in the first place.

Tim Mooney


(post #64114, reply #23 of 51)

My concern is that joint compounds and plaster have been formulated and tested for certain properties and characteristics.  My old neighbor who was instrumental in developing the first synthetic oils (Mobil 1) said to me never to add an oil additive such as STP.  He said that they spend years testing a formula and that their aim is to develop the best product for that purpose. Then when someone throws an STP into his oil it changes the entire formula, the "new oil" does not pass the test.  This is similar in what is going on here.  Sure adding an oil additive to the oil will not kill the engine, but it does harm it in the long run.  The engine wowuld be better off without the additive.

Plus 3 is a light mud and should not be used for taping because it does not bind well to the papers like the all purpose does. Also it has too many pinholes. If YC's brew works I think it would be far better to use the all purpose mud since plaster does not hold well on regular drywall.  Now since he is using Plus 3 and the plaster, the question becomes just how well this brew clings to the drywall?

It may work, but is the optimum or the best way to get a non-photographing drywall job..that's all that I'm questioning. There are other ways to get a real good job, just wondering if buying 3 ingredients, mixing them, etc. is too labor intensive.  Heck, I'd just spray on a coat of Tuff-Hide and get it over with real quick and thus save  lots of labor time.  Thius would be ideal for alarge job, but perhaps for a bathroom YC's brew works.  Just wanted to see it for myself, but still questioning the adherence of this brew to the drywall.



(post #64114, reply #25 of 51)

"Plus 3 is a light mud and should not be used for taping because it does not bind well to the papers like the all purpose does. Also it has too many pinholes. If YC's brew works I think it would be far better to use the all purpose mud since plaster does not hold well on regular drywall.  Now since he is using Plus 3 and the plaster, the question becomes just how well this brew clings to the drywall?"

I already knew , you and I knew what plus three is for and what it is  not . It does not have sufficient binders in it for taping , metal first coat , or wall texture. It is a finishing mud thats light weight in pans and boxes and distributes itself from boxes very well. Several years ago when it first came out there were some jobs textured with it. It didnt take long to figgure out that leaning doors and cabinet plywood against it marred it easily. It doesnt even have enough binders in it to hold as wall texture very well and I cant understand anyone using it as such. There are splatters made that do well and thats what they are made to do, but joint compund holds better.

Back to my question . What would plaster paris do?

Your comment about STP may be like using liguid soap in mud for boxing. Soap definately alters the mud , but it serves a purpose intended. Ive also heard of mixing deisel with mortar to keep it from freezing which I question as well. But it does serve the purpose intended. While we are on the subject I mentioned mixing latex paint and joint compound together years ago right here. Of course since then its changed to viynl primer. Tuff Hide has now came out and it works with less labor as you mention , but its "high" considering the coverage rate. Depends on the job I guess, but too rich for apartments. I can spray the mud/paint almost as well , but a lot cheaper. We both know that mix wasnt meant to be , but it works.

I would also like to see the paris used . I still dont understand its intended purpose. Im not going to do it unless I understand what Im trying to do.

Tim Mooney


(post #64114, reply #29 of 51)

Back to my question . What would plaster paris do?

I don't know..all I know is that a few years ago I was playing with plaster, one batch was plaster of paris and the other molding plaster, and it definitely does not stick to regular drywall (non-blueboard). Maybe this D-Mix ia A-1..still would like to see demo and then compare the labor time and quality achieved to other products with similar objective.

(post #64114, reply #33 of 51)

Back to my question . What would plaster paris do?

I think I am getting a grasp of this whole D-mix business. Dino uses the PVA as a thinner to thin down the mud so that it can be applied as said. Also the PVA promotes the adhesion to the drywall. The plaster of paris is a foritfier. It sets up pretty quickly if you just mix it with water, within 10-15 minutes but when it is mixed with mud or some fine solid particles in suspension it sets up even faster, probably within 5 minutes because the suspended particles in mud act as foci for the setting of the plaster.

That's the reason why the formula calls for so little amount of Plaster of Paris otheriwse you'll have globs of set PoP in the mix even before you put it on the wall. You can think of PoP used this way is a hardened filler and that's why it can be polished like veneer plaster as Dino said.

That all sounds fine and dandy in theory, I'd really like to see it in action though.

(post #64114, reply #34 of 51)

to all,

I have a simple question----so simple I feel like a total idiot for asking it


how the heck do you guys actually get the roller to work????---special roller or what?????

I have tried this a number of times, and the roller doesn't really roll----It just pushes  and smears the mud around on the ceiling. Very poor coverage.

Are you applying the mud with the roller----or spraying it on and finishing with a dry roller?

Also----say you are doing only a small ceiling 12'x14'------would you bother to set up a sprayer for that small of a job???



(post #64114, reply #35 of 51)

This is where the technique comes in and the only way is practice.

One roller dip should give you a 16 sq, feet of coverage. One 4x4 section.

You use 3/4 " lamb skin and you thin the D-Mix to a rollable thickness.

If you apply  it uniform with the roller is much EZier to make it smooth with any trowel.

The problem that you have is that you're applying the mix in one spot and then you're trying to cover a section. If you apply the mix in few spots before you start rolling then is much EZier.

We have develop other EZier ways and special tools but the market is not there in order to invest any time or money. And get the magic trowel from a previews link. I think this may be EZier than a regular tape knife or trowel. (for some)

But you have enough to go from without any special tools or materials.

I think we cover this D-Mix stuff and ..good luck to all.

  YCF EZ Dino

(post #64114, reply #36 of 51)

 thanks for the tip DINO,

I was using to fine a nap roller cover, with the mud mix to heavy.

That was keeping the roller unbalanced so it wouldn't spin properly.

 I appreciate the tip,


(post #64114, reply #24 of 51)

Did you use to use a mud/primer mixture.

I remember some discussions from you, but not the details.

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #64114, reply #26 of 51)

Bill, Ive always [30 yrs] used a paint mud mix. When they came out with pva primer I switched to that . The reason I started using it was emamel used on walls with sheen. I liked it and realized how cheap and effective about hiding qualities it had. It doesnt require quite the finishing or sanding job to aquire a smooth finsih. I did the painting and the finishing so it was a win win. Also I saved on the material bill. I spray it with a pump unit and roll it out . The newest thing out is the thick primer we spray and leave , but it comes at a high price figgureing the high useage. Joint compound /pva primer mix comes in around 3 dollars per gallon mixed. Another mix painters often used is block filler which lays out well, but comes at a price . It takes at least a 1 gallon per minute bull dog graco pump to spray it and is hard on rings , sleeve and pistion. I spray both with an auger pump and high out put compressor to make it "paint " on the surface, then roll it out. The mud does take a light sweep sanding, as where the the new thich primers and block fillers lay out with out any sanding.

Tim Mooney


(post #64114, reply #27 of 51)

Hey Mr Tim...

I just blasted thru 2 bedroms, kitchen, bathroom and living room... (walls and cielings)

did my usual bed and 2nd coat in one application...

the mud dried lookin' life 50 grit paper.. suspect the mud had been frozen even though the HO says no way.....

can't locate topping mud or light wieght anyplace around here.. (40 mile radius) only GP...

what's plan "B"???

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming

WOW!!!   What a Ride!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #64114, reply #31 of 51)

I finished a lot of houses with joint compound .

Gotta go to the cabin . See ya Monday.

Tim Mooney