To get a smooth look and feel between drywall panels, you need to tape and mud the joints. Without tape, the drywall mud eventually cracks and crumbles as normal shifting of the house occurs.
But, before you tape, you need to know which one to use.
Some drywall tape is best for DIY home improvement projects and beginners, like self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape. While other products, like paper tape, are often used by professional drywall installers.
If you’re wondering what option is for you, try one of these best drywall tapes.
Different kinds of drywall tape require different applications.
While professionals usually opt for paper tape, it requires a coating of mud before you embed it and another afterward. Because you need to apply mud beforehand, it can be tough to get the paper to stay in one spot and even harder to completely smooth it.
Then there’s mesh tape which is much more beginner-friendly and doesn’t require a base coat – you simply add your compound over the top of the tape.
In addition to these basic types, there are specialized tapes for specific applications. Here are the main types of drywall tape you’ll come across:
Paper drywall tape has long been the go-to choice for professional drywall installers. It’s the thinnest tape of them all.
And the thinner the tape, the less visible the drywall seams are.
Standard size paper tape is usually 2 inches wide and comes in rolls up to 200 feet in length.
To use paper tape, you first apply a thin layer of compound to the drywall joint seams. Then, you embed the tape, smooth it out, and apply a second layer of mud on top.
While using paper tape sounds easy, getting it right requires a lot of skill.
If you use too much compound or too little, the tape won’t stay in place or will have air bubbles in it.
Self-Adhesive Mesh Tape
Self-adhesive mesh tape is a fantastic product for novice drywall finishers and anyone working on a drywall home improvement project.
Like it sounds, self-adhesive tape has a sticky backing. Because of this, you don’t need to mud the wall before applying it.
To use self-adhesive mesh tape, center a piece over the joints in the wall. Once on the wall, smooth drywall compound over it.
The mud will penetrate the mesh, filling the joints underneath.
After you apply the compound, smooth it out with your drywall knife.
Moisture and Mold Resistant Tape
Moisture and mold-resistant tape are optimal for use in bathrooms, kitchens, and other high-humidity spaces. They have fiberglass or other additives in them that withstands moisture and mold.
Fire Resistant Drywall Tape
Depending on where you live, local building codes may require you to use fire-resistant drywall tape where an outer structure (like a garage) meets the wall of your home. In this case, you’ll want to use fire-resistant tape with a foil backing.
However, be sure to check your local codes ahead of time. Sometimes you can use regular drywall compound and tape with Type X fire-rated gypsum drywall panels.
Top Factors To Consider When Choosing A Drywall Tape
Skill Level and Application
Paper tape is thinner and creates less noticeable seams between drywall panels. However, paper tape requires a coating of compound before embedding it into the wall.
Therefore, it can be challenging for DIYers to install this tape correctly.
An easier option for those with little to no experience is self-adhesive mesh tape. While mesh tape is a bit thicker, as a novice, it’s far easier to install without making mistakes.
Where The Tape Will Be Going
There are different types of tape for various applications. For example, a traditional roll of self-adhesive mesh tape is excellent for wall joints.
However, creased paper tape is best for inside corners, and for outsider corners, a plastic or metal piece called a corner bead is most well-suited.
You can also find tape specifically for crack repair and inside ceiling corners.
Top Drywall Tape Reviews
1. Duck Brand Drywall Joint Tape (Top Choice and Best Drywall Tape for Beginners)
The Duck brand self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape is a fantastic choice for beginners and pros alike. It’s super thin at only 0.2 millimeters, is 1.88 inches wide, and comes in a 180-foot roll.
This tape has a self-adhesive backing, so you can put it on the wall without applying joint compound first. After you center it over your joint, you then apply your drywall mud.
It will ooze through the mesh to fill the cracks.
You can even cut a piece of this tape off to use for crack repair.
Self-adhesive – no need to reapply compound
100% fiberglass mesh
Use for joints, holes, or cracks
None – very highly rated, one of the top drywall tape choices
Choosing the right drywall tape is extremely important for a professional-looking finish. Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, the Duck Brand self-adhesive mesh tape is an excellent easy-to-use option for drywall joints.
And because it’s thinner than other mesh tapes, it will create a more seamless finish.
You’ll need to use paper drywall tape or the Strait-Flex composite tape for inside corners. And if you want a smooth inside corner from wall to ceiling, consider using the six inches wide FibaFuse.