Quicklist: Different Types of Drywall Tape
- Paper Drywall Tape
- Thin Fiberglass Tape
- Fiberglass Mesh Tape
- Metal Tape
- Small – 1 inch – 7/8 inch
- Medium – 2 inches – 2-1/2 inches
- Large – 6 inches
- Extra Large – 36 inches
The primary purpose of a drywall tape is to cover seams in drywall. With the various types of a drywall tape on the market nowadays, including specialty tapes, each type offers its own set of advantages and drawbacks.
So before you randomly pick a particular type of drywall tape, get to know the different types and the best way to work with them. While most of them can be used for taping joints and for wall repairs, choosing the right type can save you time and energy.
Drywall Tape Types
Paper Drywall Tape
This type of drywall tape is the most basic type that you can buy and is generally very inexpensive. It comes in rolls of more than 75 feet, giving you plenty to work with when you are drywalling a room in your home.
There is a slight crease all of the way down the middle making it easy to fold and use on corners.
The best way to work with paper tape is by dropping it into water. Wet paper drywall tape is a lot slicker than dry and can be rubbed smooth, quickly and easily.
Paper drywall tape does an amazing job of keeping the wall from cracking along the seams of the drywall itself, which will result in a smooth appearance when the work is finished.
Additionally, it’s incredibly strong once it has dried and can be used with all kinds of drywall compounds without fear of the tape not working the way that it should.
While paper drywall tape can be used on corners, it can be a little difficult for this application.
Even if you have had a little practice using the tape, it can ripple, trap air bubbles, and slip off of the seam that you are trying to hide.
Pressing too hard when using paper drywall tape can result in all of the joint compound squeezing out, which means that the tape will not stick and will simply peel off of the wall later.
Thin Fiberglass Tape
While mesh tape is common, thin fiberglass tape has its own fans because it does not have the typical mesh feel that can be so “thready” and difficult to work with.
This tape is thinner than paper drywall tape, which means that there are very few, if any, bulges after installation and painting is complete.
For complete newbies or if you are working on a project for a very particular client, this may be reason enough to choose thin fiberglass tape over any other kind available.
Because it is so thin, this tape is great for butt joints. There aren’t any loose threads that have to be dealt with, which means that there will be clean lines after the mudding and painting, and nothing will stick out of the wall.
Additionally, thin fiberglass tape will stick to the wall by itself, eliminating the need for putting mud on the wall before you install the tape.
Removing this extra step makes the process much faster and ensures that even beginners can have an easier time when working with this type of drywall tape.
The downside of thin fiberglass tape is that it tends to be very expensive, making it cost-prohibitive if you are working in a very large room or installing drywall in the entire home.
While it has been created to last and to have an even and smooth appearance after installation, for some people, the increase in cost makes it difficult to justify buying this type of tape.
Additionally, it can’t be torn by hand and has to be cut with a knife or scissors. While this is a testament to the strength of the tape, it does make it more difficult for beginners to work with, if they are trying to put up and tape drywall by themselves.
Fiberglass Mesh Tape
This is an incredibly strong option and works well to hide seams and to ensure that your newly-drywalled wall is sturdy and strong.
Made of fiberglass threads that have been woven together into a tape, it is strong enough to stand up to any job. Unfortunately, that strength can make it very difficult to use.
Additionally, because of the way that it is made, it is thicker than other types of tape, making it hard to hide the seams in your drywall if you are new to this kind of work.
Mesh tape doesn’t need compound under it to ensure that it sticks to the drywall, which means that when used correctly, you won’t have as much buildup with mesh drywall tape.
Because fiberglass mesh tape has to be cut with scissors and carefully installed to avoid any lines on the wall, it is not ideal for a beginner to use.
The adhesive, while very strong, can be gummy and cause the tape to stick to places where it’s not wanted. This results in having to rip the tape off of the wall and can, unfortunately, cause damage.
When using fiberglass mesh tape, it’s important to be very careful as it can actually begin to cut and shred the user’s hands due to the material that it is made out of. This type of tape is almost impossible to put inside corners, which makes it useful only for straight seams.
Mesh tape is preferable when you are going to be working on a tapered seam as the tape will actually fall below the level of the shallow valley created by the tapered edges of the drywall. This makes it very easy to cover this junction with drywall compound.
Additionally, any time that you are working on a seam that is going to be put under stress, such as one near a door, fiberglass mesh tape gives your drywall the extra strength that it needs to stand up to use. Never apply mesh and then leave the wall alone for hours as it will fall off over time.
It’s best to use this kind of drywall tape only a few hours before you are going to cover and finish the wall to ensure that you won’t have issues with the tape falling off before you are ready to finish the project.
Metal tape isn’t used on flat surfaces due to its design as it would leave bumps all along the surface where it’s installed.
The paper drywall tape has two strips of metal along the length of the tape with a small gap between them where the crease is located.
The two separate pieces of metal make it incredibly easy to crease this tape and it’s designed specifically to be used in corners, not along the wall. This is stronger than ordinary paper drywall tape and the metal in it ensures that it will last for years without any problems.
Additionally, it won’t rip when it is being used.
Of course, the added metal and security of this tape means that it is more expensive to buy and that it can’t be torn by hand. Navigating scissors as well as the metal tape can be tricky and most people will need someone to help them when trying to work with metal drywall tape.
Drywall Tape Features
While this type of drywall tape tends to be a little more expensive than other options, it’s great when used in rooms with fire potential.
This means that it should generally be used in the kitchen as well as in the garage if that is a finished area of the home.
Using this type of drywall tape helps to ensure that your home is not at great risk for a fire and will keep everyone and all of the contents safe in event of a fire breaking out.
Drywall can be installed in layers to help keep the room as fire-resistant as possible.
In areas where the wall will be stressed or there is a lot of movement from a door that gets used all of the time, it’s a good idea to use flexible drywall tape.
While you do want to make sure that you are using strong tape that will be able to keep the seams of the drywall from showing, if the tape is too rigid, then it will not move with the wall when a door is opened and closed.
This can result in the drywall mud and the paint on the wall cracking and will look unsightly and require repair.
Using flexible drywall tape is the only way to ensure that there won’t be any cracking and flaking along a stressed wall.
Certain rooms of the home are going to be more prone to high moisture levels, such as the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room.
This added moisture in the air can lead to problems with the drywall tape. Over time, the tape will dry and seal completely to the wall but if there is moisture in the air, it can cause the tape to come off of the wall.
The only way to repair this problem is to completely remove the tape and replace it with moisture-resistant tape that can stand up to damp conditions.
Just as you will want to use a drywall tape that is resistant to moisture in areas that are often humid damp, you will also want to make sure that your tape is specially created to keep it from mold. A lot of water in the air and in your walls can easily cause the drywall tape to begin to mold.
Taping drywall can be a very tricky and drawn-out process, especially if you are new to doing the work and aren’t sure how to begin the job.
Rather than trying to handle scissors or a knife at the same time as the tape so that you can cut it to the exact length that you need, buying perforated drywall tape makes it a lot easier to tear when you are working by yourself.
It’s important to make sure that the tape you are buying is still strong enough to hold up to use and abuse as you don’t want the perforations in the tape to cause it to tear while you are trying to put it up.
Drywall tape usually comes on rolls, making it easy to hold on to and to work with while you are taping up the drywall.
Just as with painter’s and masking tape, rolled drywall tape is easy to grip and will easily pull off of the roll without any problems. The tape is pliable enough that being on a roll doesn’t cause any major problems.
Instead of dealing with drywall mud, when you buy tape that is self-adhesive, you won’t have to worry about how you are going to get it to stick to the wall.
This makes the whole process of taping your drywall much faster and neater as you don’t have to worry about the mud dripping onto the floor and having to clean it up right away.
Drywall Tape Width
Small – 1 inch — 7/8 inch
This width drywall tape is very easy to find in most big box stores and online.
While it works perfectly for people who have experience with hanging and taping drywall, if you are new to the process and don’t have a lot of experience completing this type of work, you may be better off buying something a little wider.
It’s wide enough to easily cover where two pieces of drywall join together but if you accidentally angle the tape, then it can be difficult to cover the seam completely without any air bubbles.
This means that you will either have to turn the tape, risking a wrinkle, or cut it and use a second piece to get the smooth look that you want.
Medium – 2 inches — 2-1/2 inches
Just slightly wider than the smallest drywall tape, that little extra room makes using this drywall tape a lot easier for many people.
Instead of worrying about if you are applying the tape at an angle and will have to cut it to start over, the slightly wider tape makes using one strip for the whole height of the wall a lot easier.
You can buy this tape with a number of features and in many types; since it is so common, you can easily find it at most stores.
Being able to pick it up in many locations as another perk of this width of tape as you won’t have to worry about how to get more if you run out during a project that you’re working on.
Large – 6 inches
If you are concerned about the seam of your drywall and how to cover it completely, especially if the seam is uneven or not straight, then you will want to choose drywall tape that is wider than average.
This type of tape is great for reinforcing areas of the wall as well as repairing damage and can be used for decoration, as well.
When you buy self-adhesive drywall tape that is this wide, then it makes it very easy to patch cracks and holes without having to worry about mud, and the width ensures that as it dries, there won’t be any deformation.
This type of tape is generally used for minor repair or patch jobs but does work just as well to cover a normal drywall seam without any issues.
Extra Large – 36 inches
Source: Home Depot
If you need to patch a large area of your wall and want to use one strip of drywall tape so you don’t have to worry about how to layer it smoothly over the problem area, then you will want to buy drywall tape that is very wide.
This makes it simple to cut out a piece the size that you need and to attach it to the wall with mud. Since the tape will be all in one piece instead of multiple pieces layered together, there won’t be any concern about seams or edges showing.
In addition, homeowners won’t have to worry about cracks forming as the mud dries as the entire piece of tape will be evenly covered. Extremely wide drywall tape is also useful for creating a decorative look on the wall if you want a textured wall.
It’s a little tricky to find drywall tape that is this wide and when you do, it’s important to note that it may only come in one or two types.
Best Type of Drywall Tape for Various Needs
If you’re not completely confident with drywall installation and you want something that’s easy and effective to use, the best variety of drywall tape for you is mesh-based.
Mesh-based tape is thicker and harder to crease or rip than paper-based tape. Its adhesive backing makes it easier to put in place and eliminates the need to embed the tape inside the drywall compound, speeding up the drywall process.
To seal up individual cracks, fiberglass mesh tape works best. Unlike paper drywall tape, fiberglass mesh tape doesn’t require joint compound to apply it, so it makes more sense to use it for touch-ups.
There’s a huge variety of drywall tapes for various purposes, and the brands designed specifically for sealing cracks tend to be mesh-based.
However, paper drywall tape forms a stronger bond and sets more rigidly than mesh tape, so it’s better for preventing cracks from forming in the first place.
Mesh-based drywall tape is easier to apply in awkward or hard-to-reach places because it adheres itself to surfaces, so it works better overall for ceilings.
Using mesh tape for applying drywall to a ceiling will reduce the time you’ll be spending bent upwards on a ladder, straining to apply an even layer of tape.
Otherwise, you’d have to apply joint compound to the ceiling as well, increasing the difficulty and tedium of the task.
For Garage Walls
Since your garage doesn’t necessarily need to have the prettiest walls of any room in your house, it doesn’t need the smoothness and perfection of paper tape.
Mesh tape is more likely to leave visible imperfections in the drywall sheet, but it’s easier to apply. Garages generally get more exposure to the elements and temperature changes than other areas of the home, especially if you have a standalone garage.
This makes mesh tape a better choice because of its moisture and mold resistance.
If you’re trying to cover up a gaping hole in a piece of drywall, the best way to make sure it won’t look noticeably different from the rest of the wall is to use paper-based tape.
Fiberglass mesh tape is thick and will leave a bumpy surface over the patch even when sanded and painted. On the other hand, paper tape is thin, flat, and more fully embedded inside the drywall, making it easier to create a patch that looks just like the rest of the wall.
Mesh-based tape is the way to go for installing drywall in bathrooms because of its moisture resistance.
When exposed to water, fiberglass mesh tape won’t rust as the metal tape will, and it won’t become soggy and weak like paper tape. It’s also better suited for bathrooms because of its mold-resistant qualities.
Moist areas are a breeding ground for mold, and paper tape is a food source for mold. On the other hand, fiberglass mesh is indigestible to mold.
Metal-based drywall tape is designed specifically for binding drywall sheets inside corners.
Like paper tape, it has a crease down the middle that makes it easy to fold into corners, and it creates an ultra-strong seal with extra rigidity and support from its metal strips. It’s suited for both wide-angled joints and inside corners.
It’s important to note that metal tape isn’t suited for joining flat-angled sheets because it leaves a notable outward bump, and it has to be sealed on both sides when used in corners, or cracks will develop around it.
The most moisture-resistant drywall tape is mesh-based, so it’s the best choice for showers. Fiberglass won’t rust or get soggy like metal or paper tape, and it won’t provide a breeding ground for mold caused by the moisture in the bathroom like paper tape will.
For Outside Corners
When it comes to corners of any angle, metal tape is the way to go. You need strong, rigid, supportive tape when joining drywall sheets that meet at an angle, and that’s just why drywall tape with metal strips was created.
For Cement Board
Mesh-based tape is the only option for joining cement board and drywall. In areas where drywall sheets and cement boards meet, you can’t create a strong joint by applying drywall mud to the cement and connecting the two surfaces with paper tape.
Mesh tape has adhesive that sticks to both surfaces and will keep them securely joined.
Applying drywall to arches is notoriously tough, and the taping process is no exception. The way to do it depends on whether you’re a pro or a DIY-er.
To apply paper drywall tape to an arch, make a series of incisions in the side of a piece of drywall tape so it can fan out and conform to the arch — this video demonstrates the technique.
You can also buy a prefabricated arch kit to make the process far easier.
Drywall Tape Top Brands
Tape is an important part of any drywall project. It helps to keep the joints between pieces of drywall sealed and secure, and can also help to prevent cracks and other damage.
There are many different types of drywall tape available on the market, so it is important to choose the right type for your project. We take a look at some of the top brands of drywall tape and see what makes them stand out from the rest.
Saint-Gobain is made from a fiberglass mesh that is coated with an acrylic adhesive. It is designed for use with both drywall and plasterboard. It is easy to apply and can be painted over once it is dry.
3M is another top brand of drywall tape. It is made from a polyethylene film that is coated with an acrylic adhesive. It is also designed for use with both drywall and plasterboard. It has a strong hold and can be painted over once it is dry.
3. Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson makes a drywall tape that is made from a paper backing that is coated with an acrylic adhesive. It is designed for use with both drywall and plasterboard. Johnson & Johnson’s drywall tape is easy to apply and has a strong hold.
Duck’s Single Roll Self-Adhesive Fiberglass Drywall Joint Tape is 100% fiberglass mesh. There’s no need to pre-apply a joint compound prior to taping.
USG makes a tape that is made from a paper backing that is coated with an acrylic adhesive. The “high-performing paper tape that has strong, cross-directional fibers with high tensile strength.”
Where to Buy Drywall Tape Online
The Paint Store
Visit The Paint Store for a variety of types of drywall tape. Do you want to use mesh tape, moisture resistant, or ultra-thin drywall tape? The Paint Store has these and several other options available for purchase.
You do not have to visit your local Lowe’s to buy drywall tape. Visit the site and make your purchase online.
Choose paper tape, mesh drywall tape, fiberglass tape, self-adhesive drywall tape. Choose the best option for your project.
Buy drywall joint mesh tape, or self-adhesive tape in different widths. Are you making repairs? Buy drywall tape made specifically for making repairs from Overstock.
Buy drywall joint tape, self-adhesive drywall tape, and your tools and other items that you need when applying drywall and drywall tape from Walmart.
Amazon sells a variety of drywall tape products. Choose the self-adhesive wall patch and wall crack drywall tape, the different varieties of drywall joint tape or the industrial grade strength drywall tape.
Home Depot is another option where you can buy drywall tape online. Buy standard self-adhesive drywall tape or choose the mudless drywall joint tape. Consider color-coded drywall tape options in your choice of colors. Some available drywall tape colors offered by Home Depot include yellow fiberglass tape, blue, pink, or the standard white drywall tape.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of some common questions and answers about drywall tape.
Which side of drywall tape faces out?
As naturalhandyman.com shares, manufacturers design drywall tape with handymen and DIY home improvement enthusiasts in mind.
Usually, drywall tape has a crease or seam in the middle so that it’s easier to press the tape into the inside corners. Since the seam tends to stick out a little bit, it’s best to make the raised seam face outwards.
How much drywall tape do I need?
According to ehow.com, you’ll need to do some math to figure out how much drywall tape you’ll need. As a rule of thumb, four foot by eight foot sheets of drywall have a 24-foot perimeter.
Since every seam is meant to join two pieces of drywall, you’ll want to take the number of sheets of drywall you have in half after multiplying it by twenty-four. This means that a project that uses up five sheets of drywall will need 60 feet of drywall tape.
Why does drywall tape bubble?
While drywall tape can bubble for a variety of reasons, the issue usually comes down to improperly applying the compound. As worldwidefaqs.com shares, drywall tape bubbles when the person behind a drywall job fails to correctly apply joint compound.
Is drywall tape sticky?
Depending on the type, drywall tape can be sticky. Paper tape is not sticky – it needs a compound to adhere to drywall. Mesh drywall tape has a tacky backing so it can glue onto surfaces without adding another compound.
Who invented drywall tape and when was it invented?
In 1920, John Schumacher filed for a patent on what he called “Wall tape” which he claimed would be useful for covering cracks and seams on walls.
It was used in the same way that drywall tape is used today. From that time forward there were many other patents filed that show the course of improvements made on the same premise.
In 1994, Ronald A. Stough filed for a patent that reflects the rolled drywall tape that is used today.
Is drywall tape necessary for drywall installation?
Though it is not absolutely necessary to use drywall tape when installing drywall, it is recommended. Without drywall tape all of the seams between each sheet of drywall would be visible, and unlike using joint compound solely, the tape will not shrink.
Using drywall tape creates a smoother finish that will not crack over time.
Can drywall tape be painted?
Drywall tape could be painted, but other steps should be taken first for a more aesthetic and permanent finish. Drywall tape should first be covered with a joint compound.
Once the joint compound is fully dried it should then be sanded down to have a smooth finish.
Lastly, a primer should be applied before the paint so that the paint will stick to the compound. From there, the taped area can be painted as normal.
Can drywall tape be glued?
Yes and no. When covering drywall seams, drywall tape should not be glued down as its primary adhesive. Instead, the tape should be placed on top of a joint compound that will fill the seam and hold the tape in place.
However, carpenter glue can be used to correct any minor lifts present in the tape after it has dried.
After applying the glue to the affected area, use a damp sponge to press the tape back onto the wall. After the glue has been placed and the tape has been reset to the wall, monitor the fixed area and watch for any lifting on the tape as the glue is drying.
Does drywall tape need to be completely covered?
Yes, the drywall tape should be completely covered with a joint compound. Drywall tape should have joint compound underneath it and on top of it.
If the drywall tape is not completely covered, then it runs the risk of peeling off or having air pockets form behind it. Also, the tape must have an adequate amount of compound covering it so that it can be sanded.
Does drywall tape go bad?
As long as proper methods and techniques were used in applying the drywall tape, it should be a permanent way to cover the seams of drywall sheets.
However, factors such as water damage, physical shifting of the drywall itself, and improper application of the tape could cause it to separate, sag or otherwise fail.
As for unused or unopened drywall tape goes, it will remain usable as long as it has been stored properly and has not been in contact with any moisture.
Can you overlap drywall tape?
No, overlapping drywall tape creates a raised surface that can become visually obvious and could necessitate further adjustments to correct the raised difference. Only one layer of tape is needed to cover drywall seams.
In cases where the sheets of drywall meet to form a corner, the tape should be cut at angles to where the tape strips lay flush against each other to avoid any overlapping.
Can you use drywall tape to patch a hole?
Drywall tape should not solely be used to patch a hole. Instead, it should be used in conjunction with other repair items such as a joint compound.
For larger holes, a sheet of drywall may need to be replaced entirely or may need to be partially replaced. The replacement drywall sheet or piece would then need to be fixed into place and then have joint compound and tape applied to the seams.
Then, once the compound is completely dry, then the drywall can be sanded and painted as necessary to match the rest of the wall.
For smaller holes, a piece of drywall that will fill the hole will need to be fixed in place in order for the joint compound and tape to be applied. Then, once the compound is completely dry, then the drywall can be sanded and painted as necessary to match the rest of the wall.
Can you sand drywall tape?
No, the drywall tape itself should not be sanded. The joint compound that is applied to the tape should be sanded down to create a smooth finish.
If too much compound is sanded off and the tape becomes damaged, then the tape loses integrity and can also leave the area with a rough texture that will not blend in with the rest of the drywall.
Can drywall tape be recycled?
The short answer is yes, however, drywall tape must be recycled properly. It is important to find a recycling center or a waste center that is equipped to properly recycle the tape.
Since drywall tape is commonly exposed to other construction materials, there is a chance that the tape could contain some contaminants that cannot be disposed of in a regular waste treatment facility.