While most people only use drywall mud on sheetrock, it can serve other purposes and will stick to nearly any porous surface such as wood and concrete.

If you’re wondering, can you use drywall mud on wood? Yes, you can.

Since wood is a porous surface, drywall mud will adhere to it. Joint compound works great on rough wood surfaces like plywood and OSB. However, drywall mud will not stick to wood with a high-sheen paint or wood paneling with a glossy topcoat.

Here’s what else you need to know.

How to Apply Drywall Mud to Wood

applying joint compound to wood paneling

Drywall compound will stick to almost any bare wood surface. So if you want to skim coat plywood or OSB with joint compound, you can.

The only exception is painted wood in anything other than a flat paint sheen. Unfortunately, drywall mud will not stick to glossy paint surfaces, so you’ll need to sand the paint off before getting started.

Also, it’s important to know that even in the best conditions, there’s a chance drywall mud will eventually crack when applied over wood. This is because wood does not absorb drywall mud, as well as sheetrock, does.

If you still want to give it a try, here’s how to apply drywall mud to wood:

  • Thoroughly clean the piece of wood
  • Mix your drywall mud (make sure the mud isn’t bad)
  • Apply a liberal amount of drywall mud to the wood with your putty knife and then smooth out with your trowel
  • Repeat this process until the wood is fully covered

Once your first coat is dry, after about 24 hours, you can come back and begin lightly sanding the wall with fine-grit sandpaper or your sander to smooth it out. You can then add a second coat of drywall joint compound. 

Fortunately, you have the option of creating a smooth surface with your drywall mud skim coat or creating a textured, stucco-like look. If you want to create a textured look, lightly swipe your final layer of drywall mud with a paintbrush to create your desired pattern.

How Do You Get Joint Compound to Stick to Wood?

The terms drywall mud and joint compound are often used interchangeably and refer to the same thing – a creamy paste used to finish drywall. 

This means getting joint compound to stick to wood is the same thing as getting drywall mud to stick to wood. And fortunately, since wood is porous, joint compound sticks to it very well. The only exception is painted surfaces.

Joint compound will not stick to any type of glossy paint sheens.

You should also avoid skim coating any wood meant for outdoor use with a joint compound. Moisture will ruin it.

How Thick Does the Drywall Mud Need to Be on Wood?

If you’re skim coating a piece of wood, you’ll want to start with a base layer of drywall compound that’s roughly 1/16th of an inch thick. After the base layer dries, you’ll need to add more thin coats until you’re happy with the coverage.

What is the Best Joint Compound for Wood?

best drywall mud for wood

You can use almost any drywall joint compound on wood. However, if you want to decrease the likelihood of the joint compound cracking, you’ll need to look for a product with minimal shrinkage and one that can withstand humidity.

Here are a couple of the top contenders:

FAQ

Will drywall mud stick to a 2×4?

Drywall mud will stick to any untreated, rough wood surface. However, there is always a chance that the mud will eventually crack. 

Will drywall mud stick to OSB?

Yes, drywall mud will easily stick to OSB board. Since OSB has a rough surface, drywall mud adheres very well.

Will drywall mud stick to wood paneling?

Drywall mud will stick to wood paneling once it’s deglossed. But, unfortunately, it won’t stick to glossy or painted wood paneling. 

You may also have a problem with drywall mud cracking if your wood paneling has gaps in it that are greater than ¼ inch wide. In this case, you may want to use wood filler or spackle on the gaps before skim coating.

The good news is that if your wood paneling isn’t glossy and doesn’t have large gaps in it, skim coating it with drywall mud can get you that smooth surface you’re after.

Conclusion

Can you use drywall mud on wood? Yes, you can. Drywall mud can easily stick to rough wood surfaces and works well on plywood and OSB. 

However, since wood can’t absorb joint compound as gypsum drywall does, there’s still a chance that the mud will eventually crack. This is why it’s best to only use drywall mud in rooms with low humidity and not a lot of excess moisture.