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August 2007
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Speedset aka hotmud aka easyset is one of the materials that can make your life wonderful or a living hell. It is a powered drywall taping compound that is mixed up by hand and dries chemically rather than through evaporation like regular joint compounds.

It comes in various times. 20, 45 and 90 minute varieties. It comes in longer times but unless you have a connection at a drywall supply store you will never see it. This is a rough measure of how long it takes to be setup before you can sand or apply another layer. They even have a 5 minute version, but I am too old and you are not ready. I am a fan of the 45 minute version. I am also a USG man.

It is mixed up in small batches, usually in your mud pan. You put the powder in the pan, add water, mix to a consistency slightly stiffer than you want it, let set for a minute, remix, and apply. That is the mechanics of it, but like so many techniques in remodeling there is an art to becoming proficient.

The stated times on the bags assume that you will be in a perfect environment when using it. Maybe if you are patching a small hole in your wall, but we both know that remodeling usually involves less than perfect conditions, in the case of new construction, remodeling, additions, or just about any other project where joint compound is used.

A good rule of thumb based on experience from Minnesota to Arizona is figure about a third of the time on the bag. 45 minute speed set will give you about 15 minutes of working time. You can push it to 20, if you are working in that perfect world. This 15 mins. included the mix time. So in reality you are looking at about 12-13 minutes. Relax! You can get a hell of a lot of taping done in that amount of time.
You have to have enough clean water to mix it thoroughly, so that it is smooth. This is frosting, not brownie mix. You have to have it loose enough to spread smoothly, yet not so loose as to fall off your knife and drop all over. It has to set for a minute. Because it sets chemically, trying to mix and use, accelerates the setting process giving you even less time to work with it, before it becomes unusable.

It tells you when it is time to quit as it stiffens up remarkably fast at the end of the working time. It clumps, streaks, and is real hard to spread.

It is a lot harder to sand than regular taping mud, produces just as much dust, but is a lot faster in terms of getting to the finish stages of your projects.

Here are two commandments to remember.

Your tools, pan and knives have to be clean when you start and between batches! Little bits of setting mud will accelerate the setting of the next batch if you do not keep your tools spotless.

Do not under any circumstances dispose of speedset down any plumbing drains!!!

It will settle, harden and your next call will be to a plumber who will give you a stroke with the cost of replacing the drains you so foolishly filled up with a compound that will not dissolve with liquid plumber, nor will that drain snake clear out the blockage.

But once you unlock the secrets of speedset you will perform miracles.


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