Drywall: Which tape is best?

Most drywall pros will tell you that paper tape is the only way to go. I disagree.

Drywall tapesPaper is great for skilled tapers. But for the rest of us, adhesive-backed mesh is easier. You dont have to tool it into a bed of joint compound; just stick it to the wall, then mud over it. More important, you dont have to worry about bubbles or ripples, wrinkles or slipping. That lets you concentrate on laying down a smooth, even coat of mud.

But there are a couple of catches:

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First, mesh is hard to apply to inside corners, so youre better off using paper tape for those. Paper thats reinforced with plastic or metal strips helps to keep corners straight, eliminates wrinkles and minimizes bubbles.

Second, mesh isnt as tough as paper. To create a strong joint, manufacturers recommend stronger joint compound for the first coat. That means mixing powdered setting type compound with watera messy, time-consuming pain in the neck. Use lightweight setting compound only. The standard stuff is rock-hard and almost impossible to sand.

Gary Wentz, Senior Editor

For more great information about finishing and sanding drywall, check out these articles:
Tips for Finishing Drywall
How to Sand Drywall
How to Install Paper-Faced Corner Bead