Drywall tape is a vital part of your drywall installation project. Properly installed drywall joint tape is necessary to help prevent cracks from appearing in the compound on your joints and seams.
There are two common types of drywall tape:
Each of these types has their attributes and drawbacks. The drywall taping instructions on this site actually recommend the purchase and use of both types of tape for different applications.
Paper Tape was the original “standard” in drywall joint tape. It was the sole option for many years and has remained a favorite of drywall installers who learned their trade prior to the introduction of fiberglass mesh tape.
Paper Tape consists of a strip of heavy-duty paper with a crease down its center. The crease allows the tape to be easily folded into corners.
Paper tape possesses no adhesive. It is simply a strip of plain paper. To apply paper tape to the wall, a “bed” of drywall compound (mud) is applied to the seam first, and the paper tape is set into the mud.
Paper tape is also slightly tapered. It is thicker in the center than on the edges, though it is difficult to tell simply by looking at the tape. This is to assist in the tapered edge necessary when taping and mudding drywall seams.
FIBERGLASS MESH TAPE
Fiberglass mesh tape is a newer variety of drywall joint tape. It consists of fiberglass strands woven into a “mesh”.
Fiberglass mesh tape is stronger and more flexible than paper tape, and when applied correctly provides more protection against joint cracks.
Fiberglass tape also possesses an adhesive on one side, allowing it to adhere to the wall without the need for an initial “bed” of mud.
Another advantage is that fiberglass tape doesn’t “bubble” as paper tape can sometimes do, if the initial bed of mud is too thick or too thin.
One drawback of fiberglass tape is that it doesn’t crease or bend as easily, making it more difficult to achieve tight, sharp corners. Sometimes, when creased, fiberglass tape doesn’t adhere well to the wall behind.
Our drywall installation instructions advocate the use of both types of drywall tape. Each type of tape has its advantages and disadvantages, and using each of them for their most suitable application is the best route to take.
Fiberglass tape is ideal for straight, flat seams. You can run it along a seam without an initial bed of mud, and it provides excellent support for the joints and seams.
Paper tape is perfectly suited for use on inside corners. The tape can be creased and fitted easily into a tight corner, providing a beautifully square and sharp corner.
Experiment a bit with both types of drywall tape and see where your preference lies.