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If you’re hanging sheetrock, using drywall tape is unavoidable.
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Drywall tape creates a uniform surface between joints so that each panel blends together for a smooth, cohesive wall. And while taping is complicated at first, you’ll catch on with a bit of practice.
If you’re wondering what type of tape to use and how to apply it, here’s what you need to know.
You should use drywall tape on all seams. This includes where drywall panels meet on the wall, inside corners, and butt joints on the ceiling.
While you can use a few types of tape, mesh tape combined with a setting compound will get you the best results – especially if this is your first time drywalling.
To get started, mix your setting compound according to the instructions. It should be about the consistency of peanut butter.
Before you apply to the joints, apply to any wide gaps in the wall – especially if they’re more significant than a quarter inch.
Now apply the compound to the joints using your taping knife.
Work in enough mud to fill the joints. Use even pressure over the seams as you’re applying the compound and run your knife all the way down the joints to smooth it.
Lay your tape over the joints and smooth it out with your knife. Use gentle pressure so that you don’t press any mud out.
Now add a thin layer of mud over the tape.
Using your taping knife and setting compound, smooth a 2 inch wide by ⅛ inch thick band of mud on each side of the corner.
Now, crease your tape in half and layer it on the mud. Use your taping knife to lightly stroke it in.
Finally, take your taping knife and hold one end on the corner and the other end on the wall. Lightly and evenly swipe the knife down the wall to embed the tape. Repeat on the opposite side.
You’ll probably notice a little bit of excess mud squeezing out when you do this. Don’t worry about it. You can correct any unevenness with your next coat of compound.
Outside corners require corner beads, not tape.
Corner beads are typically metal or plastic and come bent at a 90-degree angle. You can put a corner bead on with self-adhesive spray or nails, depending on the type.
After you secure the corner bead to the wall, you can finish it with joint compound.
Corner beads provide a professional and smooth-looking corner that you won’t achieve with tape.
(The exception is if you use a metal corner bead. Then you may want to tape the outsides to prevent future cracking.)
If you’re looking for the best drywall joint tape, here are two front runners.
Duck Brand Self-Adhesive Fiberglass Drywall Tape – This is a highly-rated 100% fiberglass mesh tape. Since it’s self-adhesive, you don’t have to lay down a coat of joint compound before using it.
Lyltech Self-Adhesive Fiberglass Drywall Tape – Lyltech is another 100% fiberglass mesh tape. It is self-adhesive and very strong.
While many professionals use paper tape to finish drywall, it’s hard to apply. On top of that, it rips easily, is prone to air bubbles, and can leave sloppy corners.
The best drywall joint tape for beginners is fiberglass mesh tape. This tape is tough, self-adhesive, and mold-resistant.
However, there are some downsides to using mesh tape. The biggest con is that you need to use a setting compound.
With paper tape, you can use a premixed all-purpose joint compound.
Mesh drywall tape is also better for tapered joints and corners.
The point of drywall tape is to create a uniform surface across the wall. If you don’t tape your joints, you’ll have an uneven, sloppy finish once the mud dries.
Only using compound is not enough to blend the drywall panels together.
There are no good alternatives to drywall tape. If you want a professional-looking job, you need paper or mesh tape.
If you aren’t worried about the job looking nice, you can try masking tape, but you might end up with poor results.
There are two reasons for drywall tape coming loose. First, there wasn’t enough mud during the installation.
Secondly, there are moisture issues in the home. Since most drywall compounds are water-based, excess moisture can cause the tape to loosen.
If you’re using paper tape, dampening it in water before applying can help prevent air bubbles. If you’re using mesh tape, wetting it isn’t necessary.
Yes, you need to mud over drywall tape. When you initially lay down your tape, you’ll need a thin layer of mud underneath it.
You’ll then add 2-4 layers of joint compound over the tape with your drywall knife, letting each fully dry in between coats.
It depends. If the old tape is perfectly secure and smooth to the wall, you can tape over it.
However, if the tape is peeling, cracking, or has bubbles in it, you need to remove it before laying your new tape.
No, you should never mud without tape. The tape helps create a uniform surface that blends the drywall panels together.
If you don’t use tape, you’ll be able to see where each joint in the wall is.
The leading cause of cracks in drywall tape is a lack of mud underneath – this causes the tape to pull away from the wall. Because of this, you shouldn’t tape over the cracked tape.
Instead, you need to remove the old broken tape and lay a new coat of mud and tape.
No, you need to remove the section of loose drywall tape and replace it. Gluing it will not last.
If you’re using a metal corner bead, you can apply tape over it to prevent future cracking. If you’re using a plastic or “no-coat” corner bead, you don’t need to tape it.
Yes, you have to tape drywall seams. Failure to do so will result in a sloppy finish with noticeable joints.
Remember, while tape can strengthen a wall, its primary purpose is to create a uniform surface.
No, you should not use spray adhesive on drywall tape. If you’re looking for an adhesive, try self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape, which is quite common.
The easiest drywall tape to use is fiberglass mesh tape. It’s strong, doesn’t rip, and won’t cause air bubbles as paper tape will.
You can even get mesh tape with a self-adhesive, repositionable backing.
If you’re new to hanging drywall, use a setting compound and fiberglass mesh tape. This combination holds firmly and is easier to apply than paper tape.
Just be aware that the setting compound is for the first coat or two only. After that, you’ll need to use a lighter-weight joint compound to finish your diy walls and create a smooth surface.