How Drywall Joint Tape Works

Room with drywall seams taped and mudded
  • 30 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 40
What You'll Need
Drywall tape
Drywall tape knives
Drywall compound
What You'll Need
Drywall tape
Drywall tape knives
Drywall compound

Drywall joint tape brings together drywall pieces during construction. The tape is applied over seams caused when drywall is attached to the frame of a building, such as a home. Drywall joint tape is applied at level 2 of the drywalling to covers the seams and create a smooth surface and prepares the wall for subsequent levels of drywalling and painting.

Types of Drywall Joint Tape

The most common types of drywall joint tape are paper, fiberglass mesh, and veneer self-adhesive tape. Paper drywall joint tape is made of paper with no adhesive backing. Fiberglass mesh tape has an open mesh area that allows air to flow as it is applied. The veneer self-adhesive drywall joint tape is applied to the seam without plaster and is easy to use.

How Drywall Joint Tape Is Applied

person applying drywall tape

Paper drywall joint tape is applied to the seam already covered with plaster. As the tape is placed on the seam, plaster is added to the tape with the use of a drywall taping knife. This allows the tape to adhere to the seam and provide a seal. The taping knife is used to smooth the paper tape and eliminate any air bubbles that have occurred.

Fiberglass mesh tape is self-adhering and does not bubble up since the mesh allows air to escape. It is placed on the seam the covered with a joint compound that holds the tape in place.

The veneer self-adhesive drywall tape is designed with a wider profile for easy workability to achieve a superior finish, and works on a variety of custom plaster finishes, from ultra-smooth to custom textures. The tape knife blade, which is flat, is drawn down the tape to affix it to the seam. A joint or setting compound is used to finish the seal.

The drywall tape will finally be covered over and sanded in the 2 subsequent levels of drywalling before getting painted.