Fiberglass Drywall Tape

Fiberglass Drywall Tape Benefits:

One of the most valuable skills a DIY home owner can learn, is proper drywall taping. Drywall taping mistakes are extremely noticeable because as the finished product, there are no other steps to "hide" your mistakes. If you are learning how to tape Sheetrock, you might be wondering whether you should be using fiberglass drywall tape, or the traditional paper material. Paper materials have been used for decades, however fiberglass drywall tape has become more and more popular since the late 1980s. There are, however, specific uses for each type of drywall material, and learning to use them correctly will enhance and improve the appearance of your home renovation projects.

The primary benefit of fiberglass drywall tape is the fact that it has a self adhesive back that does not require the use of joint compound to stick it to the wall. When applying paper material, you must first apply a generous layer of mud, place the strip into the mud, and then knife out the excess so that it can seat properly. Fiberglass mesh tape can be applied directly to the Sheetrock and then mud is applied on top.

Another benefit of fiberglass drywall tape is the fact that it is extremely flexible. This makes it a great solution for taping uneven layers, difficult angles, or joining plaster with drywall. However because of this flexibility, many contractors warn that over a period of 3-5 years, joints taped with mesh drywall tape have the tendency to develop hairline cracks which require additional taping jobs in the future. Many experts suggest the flexibility of fiberglass drywall strips creates a seam that is just too weak to be taken seriously. However, there are ways to avoid this problem, like using a "setting" type joint compound.

Paper Drywall Tape Benefits:

Paper drywall tape has the benefit of being backed by decades of proof that it is both strong and flexible. It is widely accepted that paper tape is the strongest material you can use to create Sheetrock joints that will last many years. Paper material has many benefits such as the fact that it is extremely easy to work with. Although fiberglass mesh tapes require a little less preparation because of their self adhesive backs, paper tape can be torn easily at the correct lengths by hand. Mesh tapes require the use of scissors or a knife. Additionally, paper tape has a convenient crease in the middle of the material which provides a great guide for centering your material on the joint, as well as an easy way to fold your joint material for use on inside corners. Finally, paper material does not get caught up and pulled off the wall accidentally by your knife as easily as mesh tape. Many contractors complain that the "weave" of fiberglass mesh tape gets caught on their drywall tools too often.

Mesh Tape Vs. Paper Tape:

It is important to recognize that there is a place for both mesh tape and paper tape. There doesn't need to be a final decision on mesh tape vs. paper tape because there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Most experts will agree that mesh tape's flexibly is a great asset when patching holes, taping uneven seams, or joining old work and new work (i.e. drywall and plaster). However for the majority of new construction, most contractors will continue to use paper materialas they always have because it is stronger, less prone to cracking, easier to work with, and doesn't get caught in their drywall tools as easily. Although it is your preference, as a DIYer, you should consider the fact that professionals use only the tools that will make their work last as long as possible. You should want the same results for your efforts.