Drywall Mesh Tape Vs Paper Tape (Which is Better?)


When it comes to drywall finishing, you have a decision to make, drywall mesh tape Vs paper tape. But which type is better? It all boils down to what you need and the details of your project.

Paper tape is a thin paper material, usually reinforced with fibers. It’s traditionally used for butt joints, where two ends of drywall meet. It can be used to cover small gaps and holes in the wall.

It’s easy to install and doesn’t require any additional materials or tools. Because it’s thin, it can easily be covered with joint compound for a seamless finish.

Drywall mesh tape is a fiberglass material with an adhesive backing. It’s stronger and more durable than paper tape and is designed to bridge gaps and cover large holes in drywall.

It’s also easier to install than paper tape, as it doesn’t require any additional materials or tools. It’s not as thin as paper tape, so it may take a bit more joint compound and sanding to achieve a seamless finish.

Both drywall mesh tape and paper tape have their pros and cons, so it’s essential to consider what you need before making a decision. Paper tape may be the best option if you’re looking for an easy-to-install tape that can cover small gaps and holes.

If you’re looking for stronger, more durable tape to bridge larger gaps and cover larger holes, drywall mesh tape is the way to go.

drywall mesh tape vs paper tape
Drywall Mesh Tape Vs. Drywall Paper Tape, which one is best?

When Should I Use Paper Vs Mesh Drywall Tape? 

When it comes to taping drywall, the choice between paper tape and fiberglass mesh tape can be difficult. It all depends on the job you are doing and the skill level of the DIYer.

Paper drywall tape is ideal for small jobs, as it is easier to apply and doesn’t require special tools. It’s also much easier to fix a mistake, as it won’t leave behind any residue as fiberglass mesh tape can.

Fiberglass mesh sheetrock tape suits larger jobs and better covers bigger joints, providing more strength and stability. It can also be used on uneven surfaces, as the fiberglass mesh will help smooth out small inconsistencies in the wall.

However, fiberglass mesh tape can be more challenging to work with and requires special tools, so it is recommended for those with experience in DIY projects.

Ultimately, the choice between paper drywall tape and fiberglass mesh tape should be based on the job and your skill level as a DIYer.

drywall paper tape vs mesh tape

Drywall Mesh Tape Vs. Paper Tape, What’s The Answer?

When it comes to drywall taping, there is no single answer as to when paper should be used over mesh. It depends on the job and your preferences.

Use paper tape for repairs and thin coats of hot mud; use mesh for larger jobs where you need greater strength.

Paper tape is easier to use, more affordable, and better for use on walls that have been textured or are uneven. Mesh tape is stronger and less likely to crack as the wall expands and contracts. It’s beneficial for use on corners because it can be stretched slightly to conform to any irregularities in the surface.

Use a thin coat of hot mud, no matter which type of drywall tape you use. Thicker coats of the compound can cause bubbles and ridges that could detract from the finished appearance.

drywall paper tape vs mesh tape
Fibatape drywall mesh tape is stronger than standard mesh tape.

What Type of Drywall Joint Compound Should I Use for Mesh Tape? 

When taping drywall seams with mesh tape, you should use the first coat of drywall mud to cover the entire seam. This first coat should be thin and even, so use a drywall taping knife to help keep the layer of mud at an even thickness.

You don’t need it perfectly smooth yet, as the first coat is simply meant to cover the seam in a thin layer. Although, you will want to wipe all the excess mud off the wall with each pass.

Be sure any patched areas are also covered in the first coat of mud. After drying, you can apply a second coat of sheetrock mud to the seam.

This second coat should be thicker and smoother than the first, so use a slightly wider taping knife to ensure that it is even and flat.

When finished, the seam should be completely covered and smooth. Finally, you can use a sanding sponge to sand away any bumps or extra mud lightly.

Mesh tape is a great option when patching drywall seams, but use the correct type of drywall joint compound to ensure that your patch is secure and even. With the first coat of thin drywall mud and the second coat of compound applied thicker, you can quickly patch any drywall seam and be sure it will last.

drywall mesh tape vs paper tape
Mold-Resistant FibaTape for use where plumbing penetrations might cause moisture buildup.

Should I Use Drywall Mesh Tape or Paper Tape on Butt Joints? 

When taping butt joints on drywall, you may be wondering if paper or mesh tape is the better option. While both adhesives are effective, they serve different purposes.

Paper tape is best used on inside corners and butt joints without a corner bead, while mesh tape is better for airtight outside corners and butt joints with a corner bead.

When using paper tape, press it firmly onto the joint, ensuring no air bubbles form. Paper tape is less likely to come undone over time without air bubbles. It can also be painted over, though it may require finer-grit sanding to ensure smoothness.

On the other hand, mesh tape is airtight and designed specifically for outside corners and joints with corner bead.

The airtight nature of mesh tape prevents air bubbles from forming along the joint, making it a better choice for air tightness. Mesh tape can be left unpainted, as it is less visible than paper tape, is mold-resistant, and has a more uniform texture.

For the best results, choosing the suitable tape for the job is crucial.

Paper tape is usually used for inside corners and butt joints, while mesh tape is best for airtight outside corners and butt joints. Take the time to apply each type of tape properly, and you will have a professional-looking finish.

Drywall Mesh Tape or Paper Tape on Inside Corners?

Inside corners of drywall can be tricky to finish, but it’s vital to ensure they are correctly done. Use sheetrock mesh instead of paper tape for stronger joints and a more professional finish.

To use the mesh tape, cut a piece to the length of the corner and press it into place.

Use drywall mesh tape on your inside corners for the best results. Then use drywall compound, or setting-type compound, to cover the tape and fill in any gaps.

Allow the compound to dry, sand it down, and apply a second coat. Once dry, your corner will be stronger, and the joint will look better overall.

drywall paper tape vs mesh tape
USG Sheetrock Brand paper joint tape is pretty much the standard in the industry. Rolls include 500 feet of paper tape.

How to Sand Drywall Mesh Tape

Once you’ve applied self-adhesive drywall mesh tape, it’s time to sand it down. Sanding drywall mesh tape helps to create a smooth finish and gives your drywall installation a professional look.

Using drywall sandpaper with a medium grain, sand the drywall mesh tape. Start with the corners and work your way out to the rest of the tape.

Sand until all of the ridges and bumps are smoothed out. Use even pressure as you sand, so the drywall mesh tape is completely leveled with the wall.

Once you’ve finished sanding, it’s time to apply setting mud. Apply a thin layer of drywall joint compound on the entire area where you applied the self-adhesive drywall mesh tape. Allow the setting mud to dry and sand one more time if needed.

Now you’re ready to paint your drywall repairs or new installation project and enjoy a professional finish.

How To Tape and Mud Drywall

Once you have correctly measured and cut the drywall, it is time to apply the drywall joint tape. Use a putty knife to spread setting-like compound along the joints of the freshly cut boards.

Then press a roll of paper or fiberglass drywall tape into the setting-like compound, so it adheres firmly on both sides of the joint.

If installing drywall on a ceiling, press the tape down in several places, so it doesn’t sag. Once the non-adhesive tape is applied, use your putty knife to spread another layer of setting-like compound over the tape, feathering out about four inches beyond each side of the joint.

usg sheetrock brand joint compound easy sand
USG Sheetrock Brand joint compound, 45-minute easy sand.

Allow the compound to dry, then sand it down until it’s smooth. Finally, apply a coat of primer and paint to your home improvement project!

If done correctly, these steps will ensure that your drywall installation is completed professionally with solid joints. With practice and patience, you can make your home look new with a drywall installation.

Where to Buy Paper Tape and Mesh Tape?

Paper and fiberglass mesh drywall tape is widely used in various industries, such as construction, manufacturing, aerospace, and automotive. They offer elasticity and strength to seal up joints and hold parts together.

There are several types of paper tape available: crepe paper tape, masking tape (also known as painter’s tape), gummed paper tape for sealing boxes and envelopes, and even elastic paper tape for taping together wide openings.

Depending on the application, Mesh tape is also available in various sizes and weights. You can find dispensers for both types of tapes to help with taping.

drywall paper tape vs mesh tape
USG Sheetrock Brand paper tape in 250-foot or 500-foot rolls.

Drywall Mesh Tape Vs Paper Tape, Which One to Buy?

When it comes to where to buy paper or mesh tape, there are a variety of options. You can find paper and mesh tapes at your local hardware store or home improvement centers, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot.

You may need to visit an industrial supply store or online retailer specializing in taping products for more specialized tape.

Many stores also carry dispensers for both paper and mesh tapes – these are very handy for making quick work for tapers. With so many options, you can find the perfect paper or mesh tape and dispenser for your project!

drywall mesh tape paper tape
Drywall mesh tape and USG Sheetrock Brand paper tape

Additional Resources –

UL Wall Assemblies – USG Handbook


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