Low-Dust Drywall Joint Compounds

Low-dust joint compounds causes particles to bind together during sanding operations.

Description:

Low-dust drywall joint compound is a substitute for traditional drywall joint compound that generates a large amount of total and respirable dust which may contain crystalline silica.  Unlike traditional joint compounds, the fine particles created when low-dust joint compounds are sanded bind together to form large particles. These larger particles quickly fall to the floor, reducing the potential for exposure to airborne dust and silica. If sanding is brief and intermittent, this may reduce exposures enough that a respiratory protection program isn’t required. Continuous use may exceed the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit, even with the use of low-dust joint compounds, however.

CertainTeed Easi-Fil Dust Away Joint Compound

  • Used for filling, repairing and finishing drywall joints, trims and fasteners.
  • Cost: $18 for a 3.17 gallon pail
  • Available in 0.5, 1.19 and 3.17 gallon pails (2, 4.5 and 12 liters)
  • Approximate coverage is 1/3 of a gallon of compound per 4 foot by 8 foot sheet of drywall, depending upon the number of beads, amount of trim and thickness of joint compound applied.
  • Drying time will vary with temperature and humidity.
  • Sanding should be done with a wet sponge or 150 grit, or finer, dry sand paper
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CertainTeed ProRoc Dust Away Renovation Mud Joint Compound
  • Used by professionals for filling, repairing and finishing drywall joints, trims and fasteners.
  • Cost: $17 for a 3.7 gallons box
  • Available in a 3.5 gallon box (13.5 liters)
  • Approximate coverage is 9.3 to 11.9 gallons of joint compound per 1000 square feet of wallboard, depending upon the number of beads, amount of trim and thickness of joint compound applied.
  • Drying time will vary with temperature and humidity.
  • Sanding should be done with a wet sponge or 150 grit, or finer, dry sand paper
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lafarge Rapid Coat Low Dust Joint Compound
  • Used for all phases of gypsum board finishing: taping, finishing, skim coating, texturing, filling corner beads and trim, and concealing nail or screw dimples.
  • Cost: $7 per gallon
  • Available in 1.0 and 3.5 gallon pails and 3.5 gallon boxes
  • Approximate coverage is 7.75 gallons of joint compound per 1000 square feet of wallboard, depending upon the number of beads, amount of trim and thickness of joint compound applied.
  • Drying time: Hardens in as little as 4 hours, thoroughly dry in approximately 24 hours. Drying times will vary with temperature and humidity.
  • Sanding with 180 grit sand paper or 220 grit mesh cloth is recommended
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
United States Gypsum Company Sheetrock Lightweight All Purpose Joint Compound with Dust Control
  • Used for remodeling and repair projects. Not recommended for skim coat applications.
  • Cost: contact the United States Gypsum Company for a quote
  • Available in 3.5 gallon pails and 3.5 gallon boxes
  • Approximate coverage is 9.4 gallons of joint compound per 1000 square feet of wallboard, depending upon the number of beads, amount of trim and thickness of joint compound applied.
  • Under conditions of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent humidity, Sheetrock joint compound should dry in about 24 hours. Higher humidity and/or lower temperatures will increase drying times.
  • Sanding with 150 grit sand paper or 220 grit mesh cloth, or finer, is recommended
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Risks Addressed:

 

Sanding drywall compound is a high dust activity that in the absence of controls would place workers at risk of chronic throat and airway irritation, coughing, phlegm production, and breathing difficulties. The ACGIH recommends that airborne concentrations of insoluble or poorly soluble Particles Not Otherwise Specified (PNOS) be kept below 3 mg/m3 for respirable particles (less than 10 micrometer diameter) and 10 mg/m3 for inhalable particles (less than 100 micrometer diameter). The OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) for Particles Not Otherwise Regulated (PNOR) is 5 mg/m3 for the respirable fraction and 15 mg/m3 for total dust.
 
Silica is often present in drywall compound and prolonged exposure may lead to lung disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung scarring and silicosis. Silicosis is an incurable, sometimes fatal disease. The NIOSH-recommended exposure limit (REL) for silica is 0.05 mg/m3 as a time-weighted average concentration for up to a 10-hour workday during a 40-hour workweek. This is one-half of the OSHA standard when the dust is pure silica, but still twice the ACGIH-recommended threshold limit value (TLV) of 0.025 mg/m3.

In evaluations conducted during drywall finishing, NIOSH observed 9 of 11 exposures above the 15 mg/m3 OSHA PEL for total dust and some more than 10 times the PEL.

 


How Risks are Reduced:

 

The composition of low-dust joint compounds causes particles to bind together during sanding. These larger particles quickly fall to the floor, reducing the potential for exposure to airborne dust and silica. For continuous use, a respiratory protection program and respirators may still be required.

 

 

CertainTeed states that its Easi-Fil and ProRoc Dust Away drywall joint compounds “reduce airborne dust by 70% when compared to sanding standard compounds.”
 
This chart, from the United States Gypsum Company, shows dust concentrations during the 30 minutes after sanding standard joint compound (light blue) and during the 30 minutes after sanding their Sheetrock Dust Control joint compound (darker blue). Based on the data presented in this chart, the United States Gypsum Company states that the “airborne dust from the regular joint compound was appreciably higher than that from Sheetrock dust control joint compound.”

 


Effects on Productivity:

CertainTeed states that “the Dust Away formula causes the dust associated with traditional drywall compound sanding to clump together and fall to the floor, reducing airborne dust and making clean-up easier.”
 
The United States Gypsum Company states that its Sheetrock Dust Control Joint Compound “helps to maintain a cleaner, more comfortable environment for building occupants during construction” and “each job goes more quickly and cleans up faster with less nuisance from airborne sanding dust.”
 
Low-dust drywall joint compounds are expected to increase productivity and improve the quality of the work by reducing the amount of airborne dust, which allows a cleaner, more efficient means of sanding drywall compound.
 
Reducing airborne dust reduces site cleanup times and avoids exposing other workers, members of the public, adjacent property, cars and building occupants, which can increase liability and time-consuming disputes. Improved worker comfort is a result of reduced airborne dust which may in turn result in less fatigue for the worker and greater productivity. In some cases, particularly where sanding is intermittent, the use of low-dust drywall joint compounds may be adequate to reduce the need to wear a respirator, and the need for an employer respiratory protection program
 
Some additional issues should be considered. Each joint compound performs slightly differently and workers will need to adapt to working with a different drywall joint compound.

 


Additional Considerations:

Using a dust collection system or wet sanding in addition to the low-dust joint compound would greatly reduce exposures.


Contributors:

Bruce Lippy, PhD, CIH - CPWR The Center for Construction Research and Training


Hazards Addressed:

Availability

United States Gypsum Company Sheetrock Lightweight All Purpose Joint Compound with Dust Control
contact 1-800-950-3839

CertainTeed Easi-Fil Dust Away Joint Compound & Dust Away Renovation Mud Joint Compound
To obtain information, visit Easi-fil Dust Away and Renovation Mud Joint Compound or contact 1-800-233-8990

Lafarge Rapid Coat Low Dust Joint Compound (under Finishing products)
To obtain information, visit http://www.lafarge-na.com or contact 1-703-480-3600

Return on Investment

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