Three Tape Options for Drywall
Drywall expert Myron Ferguson introduces us to mesh, paper, and fiberglass mat tapes and explains where and why he uses each one.
There are a variety of tapes on the market for finishing drywall seams, and I’m going to show you three of the best choices.
Mesh Drywall Tape
Mesh tape has been around for a long time. This is a little bit of a different variety than you’re probably used to seeing, as this is an extrastrong, self-adhesive mesh tape. The mesh tapes typically are not embedded in a drying-type compound. The mesh tape would typically be embedded in your setting compound. Because most mesh tapes are not as strong as paper, you need the extra strength of a setting compound.
Paper Drywall Tape
Then we have the traditional paper tape, which has been around ever since drywall started to be taped. It’s inexpensive and is precreased, making it great for inside corners. This is typically embedded in all-purpose drying-type compounds, such as heavyweight compound. I have used paper tape for years because it’s inexpensive and easy to work with. It works with all my automatic-taping tools and it also works very well with hand-taping tools.
Fiberglass Mat Drywall Tape
A few years ago, a new type of tape came on the market—a fiberglass mat product. This is a very strong tape and is used primarily in place of paper tape. Nowadays, it does not have a crease, but it does fold easily so it will go into an inside corner. What I like about the fiberglass mat tape is that it is physically easy to embed. When you embed paper tape, it has to be pushed into the compound with quite a bit of pressure, but with the fiberglass mat tape, you don’t have to work nearly as hard. Also, you’re less likely to get any air bubbles behind the fiberglass mat tape.
I still do use all three types of tape—the mesh for when I’m in a hurry and I’m using a setting compound, and the paper tape when I’m hand-taping for inside corners (because the fiberglass mat does not fold as easily in the inside corners when I’m hand-taping). But when I’m doing just regular seams, I typically like to use a fiberglass mat.