Drywall - Paper Tape vs. Self Adhesive Mesh

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by CTWeekendWarrior, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. CTWeekendWarrior

    CTWeekendWarrior New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Enfield, CT
    Hello all,
    Just hung all my drywall and I'm about to start the dreaded taping portion of the project. My question today is in regards to which type of tape to use, the paper kind or the mesh type which is self-adhesive. I have finished drywall maybe two or three times, and I can't say I'm very proud of the finished products. Which of these tapes will make my life easier? Any insight is much appreciated!

    -CTWW
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,540
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    tape

    One advantage of the self stick tapes, because they are colored, is that you can tell when you are starting to sand too deeply.
  3. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    100% personal choice. I use paper.

    I recommend that you buy both and tape 2 joints, one with each at the same height so you can compare apples to apples and see which one you prefer. Make your decision once the taping and spackling is done and you have your finished product.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,540
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    tape

    I use an professional taper. Taping is one trade that you have to do a lot of it before you become proficient, and I do not want my walls and ceiling to be a learning laboratory.
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    The understanding I have always had was that the paper tape is for drywall and the mesh is for plaster...that said I know that the mesh is used on a regular basis for drywall but if it surfaces into the sanding area it can't really be sanded as it frays...this is why it is not supposed to be used on drywall...
  6. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    I also do the same. I can usually get a room done for about $150 once the drywall is up properly. If the drywall is hung wrong they will usually walk away or bid it so high they won't do it. That means minimal seams and square corners.

    If you're determined use the paper tape. Takes a little getting used to but get better results. Not to mention you don't want to do the corners with the mesh.

    Tom
  7. burleymike

    burleymike New Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Idaho
    I have done enough sheetrock to know I hate the fiberglass crap. There is a reason the pros don't use it. It makes a mess of the mud so you have to sand a bunch. You can always see the joints where somebody used the mesh.

    I have used the mesh two times and decided I hated it, I found it to be harder to work with than paper. Cut a sheet of drywall in half and do some practice with the paper tape. If you are doing a ceiling get a pole sander to make life easier.

    When I did drywall I always used the setting mud, easy sand 90 which will give you 2 hours working time. That way I could do an entire room in one day. The premix takes way too long to dry and it will grow mold in the bucket.

    Here is a picture of my bedroom wall that I cut open to replace some zurn pex fittings. You can see how with paper tape it will be invisible when I paint it. If I used mesh you would be able to see the joints because I would have to build them up three times as high to hide the tape.

    Attached Files:

  8. LiamM

    LiamM New Member

    Messages:
    54
    I've used both, but don't really have a preference. With the mesh, you can skip the bedding coat of mud. I normally feather my butt/tapered joints out pretty wide (~14"), so either type of tape blended in well.

    Remember to use setting-type mud, not the pre-mixed stuff, if you use mesh tape. I've made that mistake, and had to re-do a bunch of seams that ended up with hairline cracks.

    Mesh tape comes in handy if there are large gaps between walls and ceilings, or in inside corners. I'll cover the gap with a strip of mesh, then apply the bedding coat and paper tape.
  9. maintenanceguy

    maintenanceguy In the Trades

    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Hate the mesh.

    I've tried it and it always bunches up when I slide my spackle knife over it. It's too soft, doesn't have the rigidity of paper tape.

    If you really screw up and end up having to sand down to the level of the tape, neither is very nice to deal with but paper tape is a lot better.

    For big jobs and ceilings, I've got a banjo for laying tape on the joints with the mud already applied. Can't run mesh through that.
  10. CTWeekendWarrior

    CTWeekendWarrior New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Enfield, CT
    Thanks for the input, all! I think I'll give the paper tape a whirl. In doing my research, it seems that the people giving advice recommend the paper and stores selling products recommend the mesh. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again.
  11. chrisexv6

    chrisexv6 New Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Just did my first (successful, anyway) taping job in my bathroom remodel.

    What worked best was mesh for the straight joints and paper tape for the corners. It took a while, but it came out nice. The mesh is too "thick" in the corners, and I even tried the aluminum reinforced/paper pre-fabbed corner bead and all that did was create a bigger mess. The paper tape for the corners was the ticket.

    -Chris
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,540
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    tape

    If you are talking about outside corners, you will find out the reason for the metal reinforcement, the first few times you hit them with somethin.
  13. chrisexv6

    chrisexv6 New Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Yeah Ive used it for outside corners, they actually make it for inside corners too (HD carries it). Definitely required for outside corners, but it just made inside corners a PITA to tape.
  14. rburt5

    rburt5 Member

    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Canton, Ohio
    I'm very much a beginner who has been teaching myself to plaster/drywall on my first house. I just finished building a closet in my basement. I had partial rolls of paper and mesh tape left over from other jobs. I found the mesh harder to use on the inside corners. It is less flexible and bunched up more. In the future I will probably stick with the paper.
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