It’s a typical summer day in Atlanta. The sun is blazing, humidity is around 85 percent, and the temperature is a blistry 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
A professional finisher with more than 20 years in the construction industry’s working on a job. Hang the drywall, attach the tape, apply the first coat of mud, scrape and smooth, wait to dry, sand. Repeat at least once or twice more. The finisher has been working for hours. He is hot and tired. His arms are soar from holding the mud pan. His muscles are aching from the repetitive movements necessary to do a good job. He thinks to himself that there must be a better way.
Finisher by day, artist by night, he relaxes at home with his canvas and paints. Many thoughts swirl through his mind. How can he make his job easier? He thinks and he
paints. He even uses some tools of his trade in his art-drywall mud to create a three-dimensional effect on his paintings.
He continues to think and paint. Then
he begins to experiment. What happens
if he does this? What if he adds that?
Does it do anything? No, not really. Not
for the long term.
Then, one day, it happened.
The finisher added something to the
mud, and it changed everything. The
mud became smoother and easier to
apply. It wasn’t as bubbly. When it dried,
it dried evenly and not in splotches.
When he went to sand it, he found fewer rough spots and pock-marks.
The finisher began working with his new invention. Perhaps it
was just a fluke, but he continued to use it in his art.
Then, he began to use it in his home. Finally, he started using
it on the job.
He noticed how he completed his jobs faster. The mud spread
on walls and ceilings easier. It glided over corner bead more
evenly. He didn’t have to sand as much anymore. His muscles
weren’t aching as badly since he had reduced his repetitive
motions. To top it all off, the finish looked beautiful.
The finisher-artist had become a finisher-artist-inventor. His
invention is Dr. Smooth Mud. He started sharing Dr. Smooth
Mud with his friends in the construction business, and they
achieved the same great results. He then brought his idea to investors.
They believed in him, and in his product. Mikel and
marks. Company, LLC was formed soon thereafter.
Dr. Smooth Muds “coming-out party” took place at the AWCI
annual convention in San Antonio, Texas, in March 2002. The
comment that “Dr. Smooth Mud is going to revolutionize the
industry” was heard more than once.
What Is Dr. Smooth Mud?
Dr. Smooth Mud is a TriCoPolymerT liquid admix for commercially
prepared drywall mud. Three co-polymers work
together to maintain the integrity of the spherical structure of
the gypsum, strengthen the bonds among minerals, and create
an ordered chemical structure.
All of this results in a smoother product with less shrinkage,
fewer bubbles and pockmarks; it therefore requires less sanding.
Labor costs are cut dramatically since application is easier and
sanding time is reduced. And, Dr. Smooth Mud is a non-toxic product.
Before Dr. Smooth Mud was created, finishers would use a variety of
substances to try to change the working consistency of their mud. Soda,
coffee, dishwashing liquid, or way too much water are some common
practices still exist because they are used in
an attempt to change the mud for easier
hand and machine tool application. The
problem is that the addition of such products
can void the manufacturers’ warranties.
On the other hand, if finishers add Dr.
Smooth Mud (and only Dr. Smooth Mud)
after the recommended amount of water is
added to their joint compound, they can
then offer their customers a three-year
limited warranty. Drywall mud treated with Dr. Smooth Mud creates
the smoother consistency needed for faster and easier application,
even with the use of mechanical tools.
In the Lab
Claims made by the makers of Dr. Smooth Mud are backed up by research.
Tests performed on Dr. Smooth Mud by an independent
laboratory focused on ASTM standard C474-01. Scientists
also tested other associated properties of the product.
Different brands and types (dry and wet) of joint compounds
were used in the tests.
ASTM properties tested include shrinkage, paper adhesion and
edge cracking under moderate and cold temperature conditions.
The tests performed demonstrate that joint compounds
mixed with Dr. Smooth Mud shrink less, have greater paper
adhesion, and have fewer occurrences of edge cracking compared
to joint compounds not mixed with Dr. Smooth Mud.
Associated properties tested include smoothness, paint adhesion
and drying time. Joint compounds with Dr. Smooth Mud
had a smoother consistency, improved paint adhesion and produced
uniform, controlled drying instead of spotty drying.
(Refer to Table 1 on page 82 and Table 2 above for a summary of
In the Field
Experienced finishers, naturally skeptical about a new product
on the market, were given Dr. Smooth Mud to try. The skeptics
were pleasantly surprised. Some of them even want to now
become sales representatives for the product! In the past five
years, more than 1,800 professionals across the country have
tried Dr. Smooth Mud. Observations include the following:
- Decreased air entrapment, resulting in a smoother finish.
- Sanding time reduced up to 70 percent.
- Fewer re-coats to achieve desired level of a professional finish.
- Controlled drying to help the finisher know when to
proceed to the next step.
- Noticeably less shrinkage.
Dr. Smooth Muds inventor continues his quest to
improve the finishing profession. Additional applications
of Dr. Smooth Mud are being explored, and Mikel and
Company is working toward the creation of a new
ASTM standard. Through representation on the ASTM
Committee on Gypsum and Related Building Materials,
Mikel and Company intends to propose the creation of
a higher standard, a level 5 finish, which is believed to be possible
with two or three applications of joint compound with
Dr. Smooth Mud.