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Drywall Tape - Mesh Tape or Paper Tape?

The pros and cons of Mesh and Paper Drywall Tape

By Mark J. Donovan

 

Though not a professional drywall installer I have done my share of drywall installation projects. In the process I have used both drywall paper tape and drywall mesh tape. I have found benefits with both types of tape.

 

Early on in my drywall experiences I used exclusively paper tape. I first applied mud to the joints and then laid the paper tape into it with a 5 inch wide blade trowel. Some of my first drywall work showed blistering.

 

After talking to a pro, I learned I was not applying enough mud in the joint prior to applying the tape. Second, I was pressing the trowel too hard and squeezing out to much of the mud. This caused the tape to not adhere well to the first coat of mud. So when I applied the second coat of mud, the tape absorbed some of the moisture in it, and pulled away from the drywall, creating the blistering. The lessons learned: First, apply a liberal amount of mud on the first coat (approximately 1/8th inch), prior to applying the tape. Second, donít press too hard with the trowel when running it over the tape. 

In more recent years I have used drywall mesh tape, also known as FibaTape. This product is great in the fact that you do not need to first apply a coat of mud to the joint, prior to applying the tape. The mesh tape has a sticky surface on one side that allows you to attach it to the drywall joint with just a stroke of your trowel.

There are a couple of negatives with the drywall mesh tape, however. First, it can snag easily on your trowel edges and cause a mess when applying the first coat of mud over it. Second, it is not great on inside corners. Most professional drywall installers do not use mesh tape on inside corners because they argue it is difficult to apply and is more susceptible to cracking. After a number of small drywall projects using mesh tape, I have to agree with them, at least from the difficulty in applying it to inside corners.

 

However, I have not noticed any cracking in my drywall projects.  Paper tape, on the other hand, already comes with an indentation in the center of it, which allows for it to be easily folded and guided into place on an inside corner.

 

Based on my experience, I would suggest using mesh tape on flat joints, and paper tape on inside corners. By using both types of tape on your drywall project, you will minimize the amount of time you spend taping and mudding your drywall.

 

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