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Drywall: Which tape is best?

  • Comments 3

Most drywall pros will tell you that paper tape is the only way to go. I disagree.

Drywall tapes
Paper is great for skilled tapers. But for the rest of us, adhesive-backed mesh is easier. You don’t have to tool it into a bed of joint compound; just stick it to the wall, then mud over it. More important, you don’t have to worry about bubbles or ripples, wrinkles or slipping. That lets you concentrate on laying down a smooth, even coat of mud.

But there are a couple of catches:

First, mesh is hard to apply to inside corners, so you’re better off using paper tape for those. Paper that’s reinforced with plastic or metal strips helps to keep corners straight, eliminates wrinkles and minimizes bubbles.

Second, mesh isn’t as tough as paper. To create a strong joint, manufacturers recommend stronger joint compound for the first coat. That means mixing powdered “setting type” compound with water—a messy, time-consuming pain in the neck. Use “lightweight” setting compound only. The standard stuff is rock-hard and almost impossible to sand.

— Gary Wentz, Senior Editor

For more great information about finishing and sanding drywall, check out these articles:
- Tips for Finishing Drywall
- How to Sand Drywall
- How to Install Paper-Faced Corner Bead

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  • Comments
    • by posted on

      I have used the adhesive mesh tape for over 10 years and never had a problem wit hit cracking or popping/peeling, a common problem with the paper tape if you don't get enough mud behind it.

      For my money I would use mesh every time. Maybe because I always use the setting type compounds with the mesh tape is why I never have had a problem.

      Contractor John


    • by posted on

      Paper tape is garbage and always cracks.

      Mesh is both flexible and durable.

      Whether you use paper or mesh, the first coat should always be a hard compound such as sheetrock 20 , smooth coat , no sanding between coats. a premix finishing compound should only be your final coat.

      anyone worth his salt can bend mesh into an inside corner

    • by posted on

      Sure, you can bend mesh into an inside corner but the metal backed paper corners look so good and go up so easy I always use them.  I always use setting type spackle.  My jobs are often small and that way I can get all three coats done in one day.

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