Joint Compound Asbestos: Everything You Need To Know

As one of the most rigid building materials, it probably comes as no surprise to learn asbestos was used in creating  drywall. During the years prior to the late 1980s, there were few, if any, regulations concerning its use. Therefore, asbestos was often added to joint compound not only for its strength but also because of the fire-resistant properties.  It’s important to note here that joint compound asbestos-containing materials are entirely separate from the wallboard. In fact, asbestos is rarely, if ever, found in wallboard. It is the materials that require a closer look.


A closer look at joint compound, spackling compound, and tape.

To achieve a smooth surface on a wall, one must rely on separate materials from the drywall. Joint and spackling compounds happen to be two of the most common.

Joint compound is generally utilized when new drywall is hung.

Also referred to as mud, joint compound is, simply stated, a dust that one mixes into a thicker consistency. The compound is then applied over the tape seams between drywall boards. With proper application, joint compound creates a seamless, smooth surface that allows for undetectable seams.

Sounds impressive, right? Well, with the addition of asbestos, joint compound became even more desirable during construction. An affordable solution that provided durability, fire-resistance, and great strength.

Spackling Compound

Similar to joint compound, spackle offers faster drying times. So while it is used for different means, the addition of asbestos continued to provide the same ‘benefits’.


The dangers of joint compound.

Let’s being by saying that most wall joint compound sold between 1940 and 1980 contained asbestos fiber. While it was sold in both pre-mixed paste and dry powder, both harbored no less danger than the other. However, those dealing with the dry powder may have been at greater risk. Dumping the bag of compound into a mixing bucket often kicked up dust into the air. Dust which contained the asbestos fiber. Thus, those around became exposed to the airborne materials.

Furthermore, once the compound was applied, sanding would occur to ensure superior smoothness. Once again, kicking up dust and releasing fibers into the air.


If you require sheetrock removal that you suspect to contain asbestos, contact an asbestos abatement professional. In joint compound, asbestos fibers in older materials are almost always present. Don’t be caught off guard. For more information or professional abatement services, contact Atlantic Bay Contracting today by calling (617) 987-4977.